Movie Maker: Al's garden 2016 - Slideshow




Artist’s Reflections


For an artist, creating beautiful images is the work of one’s life. It is seeing and expressing, in a unique way, the essence of our world, our consciousness of being, thinking and feeling which will allow the viewer to experience something meaningful. Perhaps capturing an unusual shape and color of a leaf, the elegance and power of a sprinter, a look of love or the design of a beautiful car all can trigger moments of joy in our lives. In the celebration of our human condition, with a  passion for seeking a natural connection to our world,  the heart cries out for beauty in all things.


In order to capture the subjective feeling of the world in which we live, its mood and energy, all art mediums use defining light, color, texture, shape and good design. And today photography lives hand in hand with painting and other expressions of art. It is no longer tied just to film. Digital capture, with the creative tools now available, has given us an endless world of possibilities. And for someone like me, trained in the fine arts, who has practiced advertising photography for years, it’s a new life. All the images I imagined can now be more easily achieved outside the film lab, which was time consuming and expensive, and therefore limiting. It is a magic time.



Al Pitzner grew up in "The Village of Winnetka", a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. He took summer classes at the Chicago Art Institute. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History and Painting from Dartmouth College, and prior to his Air Force tour, studied at the University of Grenoble, France, skied Europe, including "The High Route", where one skis across France, Italy and into Switzerland for 7 days at altitudes between 10,000 and 12,000 feet high. Skiing, tennis and dancing (which recently includes the Argentinian Tango) have been his adult athletic passions. Between high school and college, He played 8 years of football (6' 2 " wide receiver, defensive end and linebacker), ran the 400 meters, did white water canoeing (at Dartmouth) was on the ski patrol and was a junior sharp shooter. And from 6th grade until college, was trained in ballroom dancing, and after college modern jazz.


 At Dartmouth He won a New York Times photo contest. The prize was a Kodak camera. This sparked his interest in photography. As an Air Force Public Information Officer, stationed in Milwaukee, his growing interest in photography got him taking night classes at The Layton School of Art. He entered an Armed Services International Photo Competition which received over 7,500 entries and took a third place. His entry hung in a show in the Washington Armory and then went on world tour. Justice Douglas of the United States Supreme Court was one of the judges, and wrote Al a nice letter saying He should have won 1st place, but, as with the Court, he doesn't always get his way. This brought "Glory" to his Midwest Air Force Wing and acceptance as a rock star of sorts by the fighter pilots with whom he had to work. They no longer asked him, with disbelief, why, at lunch time, he went down to the Milwaukee River to watch birds.


Although Josef Albers, The Internationally Famous Head of Yale’s’ Graduate Design Program,  accepted him as his personal student for a Master’s Degree in Design, photography had now captured him, and after his Air Force tour he, instead, enrolled in the Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, California for a four-year degree in Advertising Photography. He graduated with Honors. He briefly taught there, and then when he moved to Wichita to work at Cessna Aircraft, Wichita State's Design Dept.  had him teach a class titled, Design Through Photography, in his studio, for one semester a year.


 At Cessna he worked in advertising as Creative Director for Photography and Special Projects.  He became a pilot, and He was involved in the initial creative planning with the company's national ad agency, the company's ad manager and market research group. In addition, he was responsible for preproduction planning for photography, actual photographic execution and post-production preparation of materials for printing. This unique "put your arms around the problem" experience from within a Fortune 500 corporation has provided him with insight into client needs and budgets that allow an effective collaboration with corporations and ad agencies on the highest levels. And to accomplish this photographic advertising mission he had to create the necessary internal production systems and procedures. It also required the development of a supplier base to handle the increased professional activity. One of the most critical suppliers needed was an independent, quality photo lab. He was instrumental in such a startup, and taught its people color theory and printing. During his fourth year with Cessna, Al entered his photo of their new airplane, The Cardinal, in Exhibition One in Los Angeles. It won first place as the best worldwide advertising photograph of the year. It beat out the national ad campaigns for Minolta Camera Co., Island Records of London and United Airline's. You can see this image above in case studies that talk about the why and how of a few images. Al will be adding some more of these case studies in the future.  About three years later he won the same award, but this time in the category for photo journalism, and interestingly, it beat out PlayBoy's entry. 

  After four years, the Cessna “Mission” was accomplished, and he left to go to New York. But He was offered the Cessna account to be accomplished by contract from the outside. It included 23 16 page brochures a year, all the national ads and PR photography. He accepted the offer, and for the next 39 years he operated his own photographic studio in Wichita and then in Kansas City. Over this period he worked closely with corporations and ad agencies throughout the country. This work required him to  be effective with farmers, Greyhound breeders, fashion designers, artists, truckers, pilots, musicians, mechanics, corporation presidents, models, hotel and resort managers, light house keepers, dancers, secretaries, photo labs, architects, printers, entrepreneurs, sales people, restaurant owners, oil field roughnecks, housewives, children, business executives, designers, art directors and other photographers.

  When working with Valentine Radford, on one shoot He and Earl Radford would go to Palm Beach and shoot golf carts. Other times, after He sat in the client meetings, The Creative Director would send him alone from one coast to the other to shoot for annual reports, and would design the report around the photos he brought back. The President and the Creative Director at Barickman Advertising thought Al's work was highly creative and had Him come in for a meeting. They had made two pitches to Hallmark's Ambassador Card Division, and had been turned down two times, and asked if Al would, on speck, help create another pitch for the work. If it was successful He would have the account for the year. His work on the image development to meet their objectives won the day. And later, Jack Jonathan, head of Hallmark's creative card development, called Al one day, when He was still in Wichita, and described the sort of images he wanted for a new line of cards. He had been trying to get what he wanted with other photographers without success. Al made notes, and said he could do it. He sent Jack a number of options (with models), and they loved, and bought, two of the images. Bob Lida, owner of Lida Advertising Agency said he would send Al out on jobs alone anywhere in the Country because He would always bring back images that they could use to meet the objectives of the ads. Winning gold medals at Art Director Shows worked well for his image and promotion. And after one of the Kansas City shows in The Commerce Tower, someone stole a winning photo of his off the wall. And the President of the Denver's Art Director's Club wrote Al a nice letter in which he said never in the history of the Club had anyone so dominated the show (with 23 pieces accepted). And he said none of his own work got in at all. Some of his clients are listed at the end of this bio.

Al wining art director show awards in various cities, which as noted, became very effective in his studio promotion. Some of these are: best of show awards in Tulsa, Kansas City, and St. Louis, a silver medal in Denver, and over one hundred honor and special recognition awards. Since 1985, his work has won 35 of the Omnis awarded at the Ad Club of Kansas City's Annual Omni Night, including Best of Show in 1985 and 1987. In the 1986 Art Directors Club Competition, his work won Best of Show, 5 gold medals, 2 silver medals and 9 bronze awards. His automobile, ballet posters and watch photography were selected three times to be in the prestigious Swiss Graphis International Annuals. This is an award many photographers would like to have just once in their career. Champion Papers of NYC also gave him their Creativity Award. The Kansas City Ballet Posters are hanging in a permanent collection of the Museum of Industrial Arts in Hamburg, Germany. His client Ad Photography work has been in Vogue, W Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Life Magazines, Architectural Digest, Homes and Gardens Magazine and international aircraft magazines. And Automobile Magazine included his 1965 racing Cobra photos with a feature story.

The Great Gardens of Kansas City is a book of his garden photography, with includes portraits of the gardeners. And he did most of the photography in a book titled, "Kissing in Kansas City". They were both sold at Barnes and Noble book stores.

His current commercial work now shares equal time with fine arts photography which in the past he has always pursued, but on the side. So now comes the scanning of years of this film to integrate with his current digital photography. Later there are plans for greeting cards, posters and photo books. His new web site is ALPITZNER.COM. It has case studies, before and after images and a host of galleries which cover his commercial work (seen in most all the galleries), specific client work and fine arts.

                                                   CLIENT LIST

His clients have included: Hallmark Cards, Farmland Industries, Seitz Meats, Payless Cashways, Rival Foods, Pfizer Drugs, Butler Manufacturing, BMA Real Estate Developments in New Mexico and Florida, Life Care Services Corp., Rainbird of California, Dunlop Tires, Mead Papers, Ciao Fashions out of NYC, Mauri Shoes out of NYC, Donald Plinar Shoes out of NYC, Steve’s Shoes, The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Pizza Hut’s national account, Taco Tico, Honey Suckle Turkeys, Cargill, Coleman Co. Outing Products and Camping Trailers, Beech Aircraft, Lear Jet, Celebrity Endorsements with Willard Scott, Fuller Brush, United Telephone Systems, Hesston Farm Equipment, Seaboard Farms (pig division), fashion work, ( Harley Davidson, Scotland Yard, Cheyenne River and other fashion houses including Lee Jeans), Vanity Fair (flew him to Daytona Beach to cover the Harley Rally), Shangri la Resort, Stuart Hall, TransAm Trucking, Dart Trucks, Thompson Hayward Trucks Cripple Creek Rock Co., Phillips 66 Petroleum, a number of other oil drilling and gas companies, Twentieth Century Fox Studios and Lucas Film onThe Return of The Jedi, national jewelry accounts and truly, many others.