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While many of Wayland Leeâ€™s photos capture people in their familiar environment, some, like this one, are more ethereal.
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ly intriguing scenes. He documents people in context, in their familiar environment. One black-and-white print in the current exhibition captures an af-
ternoon visit to his mother-in-law at an elderly day care center. As she sat quietly, Lee noticed her hands folded in her lap and focused on them. In another photo, two boys eat cotton candy at a Chinese New Yearâ€™s festival in San Franciscoâ€™s Chinatown. The exhibit includes both black-
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and-white darkroom photography from the days when Lee maintained his own basement darkroom, and more recent color digital photography. These days Lee uses a Canon Rebel T2i, â€œnot too big or heavy,â€? and able to do â€œwhat (he) wants.â€? Trained as a graphic designer, Lee had his first job with United Press photographers in San Francisco in 1955. He later worked for the Addison-Wesley publishing company in the â€˜60s in Palo Alto and Menlo Park. Despite his experience in design, Lee has never before shown his personal work. â€œI was a closet photographer,â€? he said. That is, until Roger Broussal, a retired conservator from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, saw Leeâ€™s work and encouraged the Museum of American Heritage board to show it. â€œI owe this exhibit to his support and encouragement,â€? Lee said. The display also features a sample of Leeâ€™s camera collection. (He owns more than 50.) Cameras on display include an Olympus from 1973 that Lee found at Goodwill for $45, and an Omega camera from 1954 that Lee bought after watching a wedding photographer carry two of them (to save time when one ran out of film). â€œI hope this exhibit will open visitorsâ€™ eyes to all the interesting and beautiful things around them â€” such as the time of day or the quality of the light,â€? Lee said. â€œPeople should be aware.â€? N What: â€œPicture This! A History of Photography,â€? an exhibit of historical cameras and prints, as well as fine-art photos by Wayland Lee Where: The Museum of American Heritage, 351 Homer Ave., Palo Alto When: Through Oct. 31. The museum is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost: Free Info: Go to www.moah.org or call 650-321-1004.
Section 1 of the August 20, 2010 edition of the Palo Alto Weekly