I’ve just finished watching Jerry Uelsmann & Maggie Taylor: This Is Not Photography. a documentary released by Lynda.com
and I can’t believe that I’ve never come across Jerry Uelsmann’s work before.
During the 1960s at a time when most photographers were focused on documenting reality, Uelsmann began exploring creative compositions in the darkroom with his photographs. Unlike Cartier-Bressons view, Jerry Uelsman’s decisive moment doesn’t occur at the click of the shutter, they happen in the darkroom. By using multiple enlargers, combining multi exposures and sandwiching negatives together he began making dreamscape compositions that got him his own one-man show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967.
The fixed image on a piece of paper is an antique photographic process which he has managed to keep fresh even in todays modern digital age. I love the way he describes the magic moment when the developer reveals the image in the liquid bath. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to experience that when I studied photography at Uni. It makes me wonder how many students if any have that chance now that we have the convenience of digital cameras.
Whilst his images pre date photoshop, his partner Maggie Taylor embraced photoshop back in the early Adobe days and also creates surrealist images that are oddly bizarre and magical. She scans items and he photographs items on a light table. And together but separately they lean on each other for advice and inspire each other to work in their own mediums. He in the darkroom and she on the computer. A Lovely partnership or art, love and companionship.
Here is the preview:
We are so engrossed in the happenings of our daily lives that we often forget that far beyond the earth’s atmosphere, we are engulfed in an awe inspiring infinite universe. These images remind me of the beauty that exists out there in the unknown and also the planet that we inhabit ….