Gary Freeburg was born 1948 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was raised there. After serving in Vietnam in the U.S. Navy, Freeburg received three degrees in photography: his B.F.A. and M.A. from Minnesota State University at Mankato in 1974 and 1977 and his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1978. He lived and worked in Alaska for twenty-five years and served as a professor of art at the University of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula College, where he directed the art program and served as the curator in the campus art gallery that now bears his name. He is professor emeritus of art and past director of The Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art at James Madison University. Freeburg has worked with renowned photographers and educators, such as Ansel Adams, Oliver Gagliani, and John Schulze and his photographs have been exhibited nationally and appeared in Under Northern Lights, Writers and Artists View the Alaskan Landscape and Looking North (University of Washington Press, 1998; 2000). He has received an Individual Artist Fellowship Grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Anchorage; an honorary degree for his contribution to the visual arts from Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage; and an Art Educator of the Year Award in Higher Education from the Alaska Art Education Association. He was recognized by the Getty Center for Education in the Arts for his art advocacy work in Alaska and Washington, DC, and a documentary film by George C. Johnson, An Artist's Journey to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes: The Photography of Gary Freeburg, serves as a capstone to Freeburg's photographic work in the wilderness of Alaska.
Most black and white photographs from the Valley of 10,000 Smokes and Aniakchak Volcano were made with two Fuji 6cm x 9cm cameras and Kodak 120mm, T-Max 100 film. The cameras were held steady by a Leitz Tiltall tripod. A UV filter was used to protect the lens from volcanic dust and to block UV light, and a K2 yellow filter was occasionally used to give “value separation” between cloud formations and a blue sky. A hand-held Pentax Spotmatic V light meter helped to determine the exposure and eventual negative. The film was developed using Kodak D-76 developer, diluted to one-part solution to one-part water, and negatives were washed and fixed using Kodak Rapid Fix solution. Negatives were then scanned using an Epson Perfection V700 photo scanner and files of scanned images were sent to a 27 inch iMac computer using an Adobe Photoshop application. Photographic prints were created using an Epson Stylus Pro 7900 printer with pigment inks.
All color images were taken with a Nikon D800 using a prime lens. In addition, a Nikon D300 was used as a backup camera and the lenses of both cameras were protected from volcanic dust by UV filters. Image files were downloaded from the cameras into the computer using the Adobe Photoshop application and in the case of black and white photographs from Aniakchak Volcano, changes were made from color to black and white in the software application. The images were printed using an Epson Stylus Pro 7900 Printer with pigment inks. All images were printed using Illford Gallerie Prestige Gold Fibre Silk paper. Image sizes are 6 x 9 inches, 10 x 15 inches and 20 x 30 inches.
All drawings were created on 22 x 30 inch Rives BFK White 280 gram paper using Lyra 1772 graphite sticks.
Lava Field, Trident Volcano looking toward Katmai Pass, Valley of 10,000 Smokes,