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Laughing Cats Studio : http://www.laughingcatsstudio.com
Laughing Cats Studio

About John Bedke

"A gifted eye for composition and excellent usage of tone and contrast."
-Ansel Adams, referring to John at one of Adams's Photographic Workshops in Yosemite, 1965

"He has been described as a near genius, unmatched in his ability to control the contrast of printed images often using inadequate original negatives."
- Ray Bowers, Editor in Chief, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1994

"…head of the observatory's photo lab…the legendary John Bedke…left that post…to assume a similar role as chief photographer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore."
- Allan Sandage, Astronomer, from The Mount Wilson Observatory History, 2005



John Bedke was the Photo Lab Manager for 20 years at Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) until he retired in 2005. The Institute runs the science mission for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and John oversaw and was responsible for every photographic Hubble Image produced there. Though the scientific specifications for these photographs were demanding, he couldn't have enjoyed his role in the Hubble project more. The epic reputation of the Hubble Space Telescope is in part due to the exceptionally high quality of the photography.

John now reprocesses digital data of the Hubble images for artistic goals rather than the scientific requirements. Revealing to mankind a cosmos never before seen, the Hubble photographs are stunningly beautiful and represent the grandest of all nature photography.

John's love of photography grew out of an interest in aviation; at a young age he began to take pictures of airplanes, but soon expanded his range of subjects to also include portraits, landscapes, still life, and nature.

The United States Air Force gave him the opportunity to combine his passions of aviation and photography as an Air Force Photographer. Exceedingly comfortable with the camera while riding back seat in supersonic jet fighters, he was nominated for Airman of the Year and was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service in 1968-69. He served part of his military duty performing photographic reconnaissance overseas, allowing him to develop his skills in aerial intelligence data capture and processing, equipment systems, and remote sensing, the last of which is also at the core of astronomical imaging.

Following his Air Force career, John’s interest in Astronomy led to an offer from the Carnegie Observatories for John to utilize his remarkable photographic and artistic gifts at the Mt. Wilson Observatory. While there, he was asked to lead the Photo Lab for the newly created Space Telescope Science Institute, whose mission was, in part, to introduce the world to the universe as seen by Hubble.

John's formidable technical abilties always served his passion for photography as an art. Possessing a creative drive since childhood, he has taken his fair share of art classes, but excelled in his self-taught skills, He has worked in Pencil, Ink, Charcoal, Watercolor, Pastels and Acrylics. In the early 1990's he began working with digital art, seeing it as a powerful framework for creative expression and consistently high quality. And it is here where John has synthesized his lifelong experiences to craft the entirely fresh approach offered at this on-line studio.

John and his wife Sharon are also well-known in their community for their dedication to the care, sheltering, and adoption of foster children. More…

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