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Tuesday, 08 July 2014


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I'm sad that he's gone, but I'm glad he was here. I lived in LA for most of the '90s, and on the basis of a conversation with a photographer at an art market [George Lewis], and his recommendation of Ray's city workshop, I called Ray, and grabbed the next free slot.

We started with a show & tell of our work. Although I was by far the least accomplished photographer there, Ray was encouraging, and helpful in providing both concrete advice, and insightful brain-opening questions. I think the other participants felt the same. Indeed, many of them were repeat attendees.

Over the course of two weekends, we trekked around all manner of interesting, off-the-beaten-track downtown locations; many of them the kind of place that I wouldn't have gone without the company of a group of men carrying big sticks [tripods].

I still have a couple of prints from photos I made in that workshop and I treasure them, and the memory of Ray's careful words.

Thanks for directing my attention to Ray McSavaney. The work is beautiful and sensitive. I'm sorry that I wasn't aware of him before now.

John Sexton shares a portrait of McSaveney in his Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/john.sexton.967

[Right but that's by someone else, and John has permission to post it but I don't. But you can see what Ray looked like from that, though. Or from the pictures on John's page that I linked to. --Mike]

I am more than glad that I've followed your 2009 advice to get a signed copy of Ray's 'Explorations' already back then. Admittedly it made my photographic life not easier, pulling/pushing an almost dedicated color photographer repeatedly to b&w.

Sad to hear about Ray. Not only was he a great photographer but a really nice guy. I took more than one workshop with him and have several of his prints in my collection.
I'm traveling now but if I was home would send you a photo of him I took at a Utah workshop for your article.

When I traveled to NYC some years back I visited Strand Books. They have an amazing collection of used books, but I only had room for one book in my luggage. Mr. McSavaney's "Explorations" is what was carefully packed between all my clothes. It has held a prominent spot on my bookshelf ever since. He has been an inspiration to me.

He was a Printer, a person who interprets rather than represents. I feel sad that these days the term "post-processing" is used, without the understanding of what Printers did to compose their pictures. It's really like composing and playing music. Thanks for this Post, Mike.

I had not heard of him. Thanks

My first real photo workshop was one of the Owens Valley Workshops (Ray, John Sexton, Bruce Barnbaum and Harrison Branch) held in Coos Bay, Oregon. Ray was everything John says he was.

That workshop was the one that really got me energized about photography.

I had the genuine privilege to know Ray, beginning in 2006 at a Southwest Workshop with him and John Sexton. Ray spoke slowly and deliberately and always had deep insight. A review of one's work by Ray was always a revelation. He saw things I just could not see. He was gentle, I never heard an unkind word from him in any of the workshops I took. His work is uniformly magnificent. His prints glow with light whether flowers, landscapes, or people on Melrose. Look at his work if you can, it will be well worth your time. I shall miss him, along with many others who knew him far better than I did.

When I first went to Mesa Verde I assumed getting good frames would be easy. In fact I found it almost impossible to get past simply documenting the ruins. Images with more resonance just seemed beyond my reach.
Looking at the "Ancient Ruins Sites" gallery at Mr McSavaneys website shows he found a way in.
The pictures are just breathtaking. Beautiful eye music.

I was in Yosemite last month, and came across Ray's book Explorations in the Ansel Adams Gallery. The quality of that book presents Ray's work beautifully. As I was purchasing the book, I asked the man behind the counter if there are still any traditional/darkroom workshops offered through the gallery. He wrote out four names on a piece of paper, and suggested that I contact one or more of them. One of the names was Ray's. I'm thankful to have his book, but regret that I won't have the privilege of meeting him.


Didn't know of him until now, my loss.
His book looks lovely, I'll enjoy seeing it in the flesh.

You know, Mike, you're filling up my bookcase awfully quickly.

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