STAN ZRNICH: VINTAGE - photographs from the 1940s and 1950S


Born in 1927 Stan Zrnich was raised on a family farm in western Pennsylvania and received his primary education in small one-room schools before graduating from Lincoln High in 1945. Zrnich had enlisted in the Navy earlier that spring, and one day after his 18th birthday he was on his way to basic training. Soon he was shipped to Okinawa by way of Camp Parks and San Francisco. He served in Okinawa, Guam, Japan, and China until he was discharged. After returning home from the war, and working on his family's farm, Zrnich went to Yosemite.

Prior to coming to California, Zrnich was interested in studying photography and he was not in Yosemite Valley long before he discovered Best Studio, and met Phil Knight and Ansel Adams. He spent much of his free time there. Soon, he bought a Kodak Retina II camera with a twin lens reflex and started photographing. Yosemite was a magnet for creative people and Best Studio was its center. Under Knight and Adams' encouragement, Zrnich enrolled at California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute) in the spring of 1951. He lived with Adams temporarily until he found a place of his own. At CSFA he studied photography under Minor White, Ansel Adams, Bill Quandt and guest lecturers Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, Imogen Cunningham, and others. He was greatly inspired by a trip to Edward Weston's studio and discussions with him.

After finishing at CSFA, Zrnich rented a small studio and built a darkroom on Bay Street. His studio soon became a gathering place for graduate students of CSFA with an environment similar to the one at Best Studio in Yosemite. Zrnich exhibited his work at Lucien Labaudt Gllery, George Eastman House and the San Francisco Art Festivals. In 1954 at the 8th SF Art Festival, Zrnich was given the Award of Merit for Photography.

Stan Zrnich lives in San Rafael, California.


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