A lifetime of photography from the 40's to today.

Biography of Tom Ferderbar, photographer


I wanted to become a photographer at the age of 12 when my sister Grace gave me a Kodak Box Brownie camera for Christmas. (I still have that camera). Since our family was quite poor, I built my first enlarger with an oatmeal box, while the same camera was used as its lens.


In 1947, just after graduation from high school, I had the opportunity to travel to California by car and house trailer with my uncle, aunt and mother, and in the process to shoot my first pictures along Route 66. Then, after graduation from college, a stint in the army followed by photography school, I opened an advertising photography studio in 1954. For over four decades my staff and I earned numerous local, regional and national awards for our achievements in photography, including several "best of show" honors.


In 1958 I studied with renowned landscape photographer Ansel Adams at his Yosemite National Park workshop. In 1980, While still operating my advertising photography studio, I began a serious photographic study of the decaying artifacts along our country's former Mother Road, Route 66.


In 2012 I began photographing the Tetons in Wyoming. I have this dream of making a certain shot of the Tetons, but for two consecutive years mother nature has conspired to defeat my purpose, although I came close in 2012. Hopefully I will get luckier in the next few years!


The former national highway route from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California was not a popular subject at the time and so I filed away my transparencies, not knowing what I might ever do with them. However, as time passed Route 66 did become a topic of national interest, and upon my retirement in 1997 I once again returned to record the Mother Road's artifacts.


Six photographs of my Yosemite series are in the Ansel and Virginia Adams collection at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona at Tucson, and ten photographs from the Route 66 series are in the photography collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum, as is the Miscellany photograph of the plane taking off.


At this time I am preparing a book of my photographic experiences along Route 66, from 1947 to the present



copyright  2020 Thomas Ferderbar