ABINGDON — Some of the work of acclaimed former Navy photojournalist Sam Bass is on display at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon through Sept. 30.
Bass is a former Navy chief and award-winning combat photojournalist. He received his grounding in classic commercial photography at the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles and honed his creative photographic and newswriting skills at Syracuse University, where he graduated from a highly intensive photojournalism program designed specifically for the Navy.
Following his training regimen at Syracuse University, Bass was assigned to South Vietnam and worked across Vietnam and Southeast Asia as a Navy combat photojournalist from 1967-70. During the same period, he was also briefly assigned to the United Nations Command in South Korea to document North Korean violations against the armistice.
In 1972, Bass shared Photographer of the Year honors with a National Geographic photographer as decreed by the National Press Photographers Association, University of Missouri School of Journalism and the U.S. Defense Department based primarily on his work in Vietnam.
During his combat tours in Vietnam, Bass’ works received the respect of his peers, including Horst Faas, an Associated Press photographer and Pulitzer Prize laureate.
“I am impressed with Sam’s artistic photographic eye and his sensitivity,” said Faas. “Few combat photographers actually contribute to the advancement of photography. His photographs are definitely a contribution and have deepened my understanding of the Navy and its operations in Vietnam.”
Bass’ Vietnam era images have been widely recognized and published, but after leaving the Navy in 1974 Bass developed broad experience in all areas of commercial and fine art photography.
He devoted many years as a freelance photojournalist producing images and copy for a full range of marketing communications applications and print media production for a variety of regional and national clients.
Besides SVHEC in Abingdon, exhibits of his work are also showing in fine art galleries in Bristol, Va., Kingsport, Rogers- ville and Johnson City.
“The best photographers strive to be masters of light, shadow, composition and time. We attempt to balance these elements to create the most powerful, thought-provoking images, remembering always we are but stewards of an instant in time,” said Bass. “But we’re more than simply stewards. We interpret that instant.”
“Sam Bass: Fine Art Photojournalist” will be on display through the end of September at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center located at Exit 14 off Interstate 81. The exhibit is displayed on the second floor Art Wall. Admission is free.