Mary Ross. Danse Macabre, 1977. Cibachrome Photograph.

           "I actually feel that in the next few years - it won't be very long - the electronic image is really going to be the medium in photography." -Ansel Adams, 1980

           This quote, from America's most widely recognized photographer, came at a time when a number of fine art photographers and visual artists were already combining photographic processes with electronic media and imagery to create new forms of expression. Their early work with photocopiers, medical and electronic imaging, video and computer technology helped change the notion of how photographs and art can be made. While it took fifteen more years to combine personal computing and photography into a form of digital photography within reach of the general public, understanding the experience of the first generation of artists helps us make sense of digital imagery as a whole.

           In 1998, Mary Ross curated an exhibit called Pioneers of Digital Photography. The show’s purpose was to explore this transitional period in the history of fine art photography by assembling the work of twenty artists whose digital and electronic images from the 1960s-1980s had not been seen together. The show included works by Peer Bode, Nancy Burson, Walter Chappell, Laurence M. Gartel, Carl Geiger, Robert Heinecken, William Larson, Graham Nash, Nam June Paik, Sheila Pinkel, Mary Ross, Sonia Landy Sheridan, Howard Sochurek, Mary Jo Toles, Joan Truckenbrod, Woody Vasulka, Julius Vitali and Linda White.