Lifelong Oregonian Terry Toedtemeier (1947 – 2008) was a dedicated photographer, photography teacher, and the Portland Art Museum’s first curator of photography. His many notable professional activities—from cofounding Portland’s Blue Sky Gallery to rapidly growing the museum’s photography collection—never took away from his deep passion for making his own photographs. Toedtemeier’s artistic legacy is explored in Sun, Shadows, Stone, the first exhibition to feature works from all phases of his career.
A self-taught photographer who studied geology in college, Toedtemeier began experimenting with the medium during the 1970s, focusing on his friends and colleagues as subjects. By the 1980s he attracted wider critical attention through his landscape images, which were influenced by his deep understanding of both the photography traditions of the American West and the land’s underlying geology. He traveled throughout Oregon, paying particularly close attention to the Columbia River Gorge, the coastline, and the arid southeast, enthralled by the diversity of terrain contained within the state’s borders. Digital and color photographs created shortly before the end of his life demonstrate Toedtemeier’s ever-present willingness to experiment and see anew through the camera’s lens.