Allen Fletcher was born in Oakland Calif. Photography was always part of his life. He grew up watching his father and Uncle George spend hours printing in the darkroom. His father's darkroom was about 15 feet by 8 feet. There was a little yellow light in the far corner. Together they would spend hours in the darkroom developing, drinking beer and smoking cigars. Every once in a while Allen spent time in the dark room creating photograms and trying to develop his father's pictures. Later on he moved to San Ramon and his older brother Bob got involved with photography. Bob built a darkroom in the garage. A smaller one then the one in Oakland but still a good working dark room. Bob took photography classes in high school and at Diablo Valley College where he created a portfolio of pictures from the local SPCA. The portfolio included a Vet putting a dog to sleep. These images are still vivid in his memory.
Allen didn't get started in photography until his late twenties. After college he settled into a little apartment with his soon to be wife Donna. His first photography class was at Laney College in Oakland, Calif. This was a beginning class learning the ins and outs of taking an image, developing and the all important printing. His darkroom consisted of blanking off the windows in the kitchen and setting up the enlarger on the kitchen table.
In the late 1980's he moved to Hayward where he discovered Photo Central and Kate and Geir Jordhal. While printing one night Kate suggested he take one of her classes at Chabot College. This is where all of the excitement started. Allen's darkroom was now the master bathroom. One night while developing a tone line conversion of the pier at Half Moon Bay a wonderful thing happened. He develope a great image. He was so exited that he turned on the light and called his wife before the imaged was fully fixed and the image turned gray and he had to start over.
Allen continued taking classes at Chabot. His classes included printing, portrait, color and a portfolio class.
For the next fifteen or so years Allen has continued taking classes and workshops at Photo Central. Once a year he participates in their annual Spring Exhibition.
Allen continues to live in Hayward where he still practices photography. He finds his influence by going to galleries and studying books of his favorite photographers. He is influenced by his favorite photographers such as: Keith Carter, Ralph Gibson, Walker Evens, Andre Kertesz, Michel Kenna, Ansel Adams, John Sexton, Edward Weston and of course Kate and Geir Jordhal.
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