Photographer Profile: Irving Haines, Pt. 1

Who is Irving Haines?

Irv was my neighbor. I knew him as a photographer.

When I was growing up in San Diego, we lived in a hilly neighborhood in La Jolla. There weren't really any kids my age nearby. I was a quiet kid and eventually became friends with Irv. He had a gentle spirit and was very patient and welcoming.

He lived with his wife, Martha, in a huge, gilded house next door, every inch of the space was decorated with art, photographs, sculptures, and fine furniture. I distinctly remember a picture of Irv as a child with a sibling; the two of them are riding a chicken.

The Haineses would travel to WA and stay at the Paradise Lodge at the foot of Mt Rainier. Irv would post himself at Reflection Lakes and wait patiently for the elements to align: weather, lighting, and equipment, to capture the perfect photo. I vaguely recall seeing one of the photos, Mt. Rainier and its perfect mirror image on the water. They made this pilgrimage for decades.

It's amazing to think he would not know the result of his efforts until days or weeks later when he was home developing the film.

When I visited the Ansel Adams exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, the Artist Statement talked about Adams returning to places over the years to photograph how it has changed over time, naturally or human caused and that it was in part motivated to promote ecology and preserving the open spaces for generations to come. (see Ansel Adams: The Role of the Artist in the Environmental Movement

"Ansel’s photography has had great impact indeed, not only in awakening people to the beauty of nature but in inspiring many other photographers to turn their efforts to the natural scene and to use photography in the interests of environmental preservation."

I'd like to think this is the reason that Irv and Martha visited Mt Rainier year after year, again and again. To bear witness but also bask in its splendor. 

This Project

I've developed a strong bond with Mt St Helens in recent years living in the Pacific Northwest as well as Mt Adams and Mt Hood. On my Summer 2021 adventure, I really got to experience Mt Rainier by hiking around above the Paradise Lodge two and once above Reflection Lakes to Plummer & Pinnacle Peaks. I stood on the shore of the lake with my iPhone and thought how my love of photography can be traced back to Irv all those years ago in SoCal. Suddenly that story took on a new realness, tactility. Standing on the same shore, the mountain looming quietly nearby.

This is how my quest to find his photos began. Where they donated? Sold? Given to friends & family? Who else was inspired by Irv to become a photographer? 

Red Roost and Red Rest

What I've found online is pretty sparse but I have got some leads. The La Jolla Historical Society acquired prints of two photos of the Red Roost and Red Rest bungalows (historical structures) taken by Irving Haines in 1970. 

Surf Shack

I have this photo that Irv gave me of the famous Surf Shack at Windansea in La Jolla, which I recently had digitally reproduced. (Photo is intentionally low resolution).

Photo by Irving W Haines

Mt Rainier

Certainly, the collection of photos of Mt Rainier that Irv captured on film over the span of decades would be important to historians or national park.

Frere Clement

One of my more unexpected finds is Irv's Letter to the Editor in the February 1945 issue of Popular Photography (page 66)². It's pretty amazing to read something that he wrote more than 25 yrs before I was born and see at least one of his photos.

Here's the text:

"Dear Editor: In a small town in France I made the acquaintance of a French photographer, M. Vaslot, who has let me use his studio in return for helping him with the run of American soldier trade. One day a monk entered the store, Frere Clement from a monastery near Paris, and I asked him if he would pose for me. He was more than pleased that I should want to take his picture, and here is the result. The monk was well satisfied, remarking that it was a very religious pose.

I used a very soft portrait lens on Eastman Super-XX. Lighting was by a series of 500-watt globes placed high over the camera.

APO New York City"

In Memorium

One of my last memories with Irv was when I visited him at a convalescent home La Jolla. I must have been in college because I'd begun to experiment with videography and editing. I brought the cables to connect my camera to a small television in his room and showed him parts of a video I made.

RIP 9/19/1911-1/15/1997