Lynn Fayman(1904-1968)

Lynn Fayman (Left) and Russell Forester

Lynn G. Fayman was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1904. He majored in landscape architecture at Kansas State University. In 1928 Fayman left the States to study landscape design in Europe. Returning stateside he practiced landscape architecture in Chicago (through 1932) then spent a decade back in Kansas City continuing with, what seemed at the time, his career path (through 1942).

In 1943 a move to Los Angeles would bring Fayman to the classrooms of The Art Center School where he began to formalize his amateur photographic interests. Following this coursework he was hired as a photographer by Ryan Aeronautical in San Diego.

In 1948 the seasoned photographer began experimenting with using light as his medium in color slides. The next year would push his work forward with Eastman Kodak's release of their Flexichrome color process. By 1949 Fayman's work was included Photographic Society of America (PSA) group exhibits in the US and Canada.

Experiments with motion pictures began in earnest in 1951. Lynn Fayman's film "Color in Motion" was awarded in the International Salon of the PSA. "Color in Motion II" was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1954 and then selected among "The Ten Best Films for 1955" at the PSA's American International Cinema Competition.

Fayman's work would reach art critics and the public alike through one-man shows. These exhibitions were held at the Western Association of Art Museums Tour; Academy of Science and Art, Pittsburgh; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; Miami Beach Public Library and Art Center; San Diego State College Art Gallery; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth; Phoenix Art Museum; La Jolla Museum of Art; Miami Museum of Fine Arts; University of Connecticut; University of Iowa; University of Washington. Among the most intriguing shows was "Lynn Fayman Flexichromes" held at the Henry Art in Seattle between October 3-24,1954.

Lynn G. Fayman Untitled (1949)
Lynn G. Fayman Archives, Museum of Photographic Arts

Lynn G. Fayman Jungle Rain Forest
Lynn G. Fayman Archives, Museum of Photographic Arts

Lynn G. Fayman Evolving Color
Lynn G. Fayman Archives, Museum of Photographic Arts

In 1969, widow Danah H. Fayman wrote:

In 1946, Moholy-Nagy said that "most of the visual work of the future lies with the light-painter." He added that "color photography will come into its own only if the photographer is visually well educated and understands painting as well as the unique characteristics of his own medium..."

With a background in landscape design, Lynn Fayman was introduced to the Bauhaus school of experimental photography when he studied with Kaminski at the Art Center School in Los Angeles in 1943. He began his own experiments with photographic materials newly available at the end of World War II.

Opening his own studio in La Jolla, California, Fayman's first ventures were in the field of abstract color slides. He devised a method of refracting, diffracting, and reflecting light so that his color slides created the illusion of solidity and form although no visible objects were photographed. They were paintings made with light. "I am intrigued and fascinated by the phenomenon of light, and have attempted to record its inherent qualities as well as its nuances on objects. The control of light through any and all means at my disposal, and the use of light's effect on sensitive materials to create visual experiences becomes an absorbing task," Fayman wrote.

Abstract color motion pictures were a natural follow-up to the slides, and were made from 1951 to 1953.

Eastman Kodak's introduction of the Flexichrome color process in 1949 gave the photographer a simple and unlimited control of color in photographic prints, and Fayman began to devote most of his time to work with Flexichrome materials. The process enabled the photographer to produce color prints from black and white negatives. The colors were dyes, applied with a brush, and gave a luminous and transparent quality.

Apparently not a commercial success, the Flexichrome process was withdrawn from the market. Fayman spent the next three years illustrating children's books, and, through his slide-lectures, leading people gently into an appreciation of abstract art.

Bold new experiments in black and white began in 1964. They probed the latent possibilities in the process of "seeing", involving knowledge, awareness, and perception in a direct graphic technique which eliminates detail in order to arrive at a more sculptural presentation. According to Fayman, "As an extension of man's physical eye to his inner eye, photo/imagery offers unlimited opportunity for expression."

As part of the program for the show "The Photographic Art of Lynn G. Fayman" at the La Jolla Museum Of Art (January 17-February 23, 1969) Karl ZoBell, Museum President wrote the following:

Lynn Fayman was three times President of La Jolla Museum of Art. He served on the Board of Trustees for twenty-four consecutive years. He served on, and took his turn as chairman of, almost every committee and volunteer activity at the museum.

These statistical data alone would be impressive, if Lynn had done no more than carry out the formal duties of the offices he held. Lynn was not the kind of man who limited his contributions, however. His gifts to the Museum, proceeded from a total personal commitment. He wanted excellence in the Museum, and whenever a level of achievement was reached, he rested only to contemplate a higher level. In this sense, he was never satisfied with the Museum, nor did he permit staff or volunteers to become satisfied or complacent. He regularly devoted many hours from each of his busy weeks to the problems of building a museum of art. He was here when he was needed, and he was most of the time.

It was typical of Lynn Fayman that, on two occasions, he stepped down from the presidency, preferring to work quietly and hard for the Museum, while others had an opportunity to hold office. It was also typical that when we encountered crises, we asked Lynn to return to leadership.

The loss of Lynn Fayman was perhaps the greatest loss which the La Jolla Museum of Art has ever sustained.. The life of Lynn Fayman, and his contributions of time, intelligence, talent, and compassion, were probably the greatest gifts the Museum ever received. His quiet strength is the foundation upon which rests much of the good in La Jolla Museum of Art.

On behalf of the museum community, we acknowledge with appreciation the counsel of Mrs. Lynn G. Fayman, Harry W. Crosby, and Russell I. Forester, in the selection of work and development of the exhibition.

"Doorway" Flexichrome

"Freeway" Black and White

"Tree Texture II" Black and White

"Marbles" Black and White

"Growing is Night and Day" Flexichrome

"Prairie Fire" Flexichrome

"Junkyard" Black and White

"By the Sea" Flexichrome

"In Some Primordial Sea" Flexichrome

"Tree Texture 1" Black and White

"Fresh Forms" Flexichrome

"Tree Forms" Flexichrome