In the early 1970s, Lew Thomas set out to disrupt photography in San Francisco. Tired of the mystical thinking and emotionalism that he felt had dominated work produced in the region since the 1940s, Thomas pursued a practice grounded in Conceptual art and contemporary philosophy.
Donna-Lee Phillips and Hal Fischer were among the cohort of photographers who embraced Thomas’s mission and followed his lead in exploring the relationship between photography and language. For a short but intensely active period from the mid to late 1970s, the three frequently exhibited together, wrote about one another’s work, and published books under the imprint NFS Press, founded by Thomas and Phillips.
This exhibition reunites their work for the first time in decades, offering an opportunity to reassess their legacy in the Bay Area, and their place in the larger history of photography.