John Sexton was born in 1953 in Maywood, California and first
fell in love with photography in the 1960s. The decisive moment
for him was seeing film develop in a friend's enlarger. Sexton
recalls: "We took some red Christmas tree bulbs and made what
I later found out was a 'safe light' and I saw magic take place
that night on a shaky card table in his bedroom and a week later
I had my own enlarger."
graduating from Cyprus College in 1975, he originally set out
to be an industrial-advertising photographer because it was what
one of his photography professors had done. However, Sexton shortly
afterwards went to a photography exhibition in Pasadena, California
featuring the work of the great American landscape photographer,
Ansel Adams. Although
it was over 30 years ago, Sexton speaks of first coming across
Adams' work as if it were yesterday: "I never had a photograph
in front of me that made your heart skip and catch your breath.
It was truly an inspiring experience." Soon
after, Sexton took a workshop with Adams and this was the start
of his close association with the legendary photographer that
was to last until Adams passed away in 1984. During his years
with Adams, Sexton acted as both assistant and technical advisor.