Robert Hansen was born in in 1952 in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1975 he graduated from Drake University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in marketing and accounting. In 1976 he followed his passion for photography and enrolled at the Brooks Institute of Photography where he earned a Thiesen Scholarship for excellence in photojournalism. He graduated from Brooks in 1978.
Thereafter, Hansen began his career as a commercial photographer and owner of a custom photo lab and print studio where he specialized in architectural, product and editorial portrait photography.
Since then, his architectural images helped Southern California clients garner several design awards.
Hansen has also designed and produced custom portfolios and books for clients.
For example, in 2008 Wallace Neff Jr. commissioned “Wallace Neff: Architect of California’s Golden Age,” a book featuring Hollywood celebrity homes designed by his father, architect Wallace Neff.
Working with Neff Jr., for 30 years, Hansen photographed, among many others, homes inhabited by Jack Lemmon, Vincent Minelli and Katharine Hepburn, as well as the iconic Gillette mansion and Neff houses in Pasadena, Santa Barbara, Beverly Hills and the Doheny Library in Camarillo, CA.
A large format Hansen portfolio of Neff’s work was on exhibit at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA in 2010.
He has also several books to his credit:
In 2004, the Laguna Wilderness Press published “Yucatan Passages,” Hansen’s acclaimed book chronicling more than a decade of travel and photographing remnants of Mayan culture and other evidence of the area’s rich history.
“Mexican Color,” further illustrates Hansen’s extensive travels throughout Mexico and his empathic understanding of its diverse culture.
“Trolley,” Hansen’s book published in 2012, focuses on the variety of public transport conveyances used in Southern California from 1910 to the 1950s.
Thirty six photographs that Hansen took of ancient Native American rock art at the Naval Weapons Base at China Lake, Ridgecrest, CA (on commission by the US Navy) are permanently installed there.
Hansen’s fine art photography is part of many private, commercial and museum collections throughout the United States, Mexico and Europe. His work is part of permanent collections at the Huntington Library, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Laguna Art Museum, The Butler Museum of American Art (Youngstown, Ohio) and the World Heritage Foundation, Sprint PCS and Mellon Private Asset Management, among many others.
In 1978, Hansen’s photographs were first juried into the yearly Laguna Beach Festival of Arts, a venue that American Style magazine rated as “one of the top 10 art festivals in America.” He has exhibited his multi-faceted work at the festival since then. His work is part of the festival’s permanent art collection.
Between the early 1980s and the present he has also had gallery exhibitions too numerous to be included here.
Hansen has explored new techniques of processing and treating the print medium, including application of oil pigments and creating large format digital negatives for platinum/palladium printing.
Since 1991 Hansen has shared his increasing experience while teaching photographic workshops throughout the Southwest and Mexico and presently offers individual instruction in portfolio design and digital photographic processes.
He continues to explore new photographic processes utilizing digital technology to further extend the impact of earlier iconic images.
Images contained in “Yucatan Passages” also form the basis of museum exhibitions organized by Reilly Rhoades, director and chief curator of Contemporary and Modern Print Exhibitions. The latest exhibition of Hansen’s images organized by the California Center for Digital Arts and titled “R.A. Hansen, Yucatan Passages,1995 through 2018; a photographer’s journey through southern Mexico” will be displayed from March 2nd 2019 through the month at the Center’s gallery in Santa Ana, Ca.