52 weeks in film-weeks 6 & 7 (plus a look at Jerry Uelsmann’s retrospective)

The latest in the 52 weeks in film project.

Still Lifes.

52 weeks in film wk 6 lemon still life
week 6-lemon still life

Yesterday, I went to see photographer Jerry Uelsmann’s (born 1934) 50 year photography retrospective at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. His images are all made in the darkroom, often by using several enlargers and multiple negatives. The images are surreal with a floating pair of women’s lips surfacing on a treelined path, as in a Rene Magritte painting or a Man Ray photograph. Ueselmann’s work remains in dialogue with the surrealist movement, and yet his style is entirely his own.

52 weeks in film: week 7-after (part 1)
week 7-after (part 1)

What we can learn from his work is how he uses both art history, technique, and his unique vision to create works of art. It’s also important to see artwork as it’s intended to be experienced, in this case, in person to learn how the artist printed a photograph so that the blackest blacks fall into a pool of detailess shadow or how a film was shot with minimal light then shown forward and backward so that a man eats then purges a plate of spaghetti in succint time.

52 weeks in film: week 7- after (part 2)
week 7-after (part 2)

One of the first lessons to learn when talking about a photograph or work of art is that it’s not enough to simply say, I like it or I don’t like it, but to offer first a physical description of the work and then to delve deeper into what elements do and do not work. Uelsmann is an important figure in the history of photography as he challenged conventional ideas about what the medium was capable of and by doing so, he altered the language of photography with his poetic vision.

What photography show(s) have you seen recently?

Also, I recently discovered a new food blog I’m completely smitten with (and it’s not because they recently featured Art and Lemons there either). Written by Dan Rosenberg, the editorial director at Harvard Common Press,  blogEATS  is smart, witty, and entertaining. It unravels the latest in the world of food blogs and it’s one to pay attention to.


  1. says

    Thanks for the heads up on this exhibit–definitely will be getting up there this spring. And for Dan Rosenberg’s link (nice recipe!) I hadn’t been aware of the fruit rebellion until now.

  2. Megan says

    I agree with Rosa – the second photo brings me back to my Art History days of studying still life paintings! And this makes me want to check out some local photography shows! It’s been too long! Thanks!!

  3. says

    Such a thought provoking post! I haven’t been to any photography shows recently, but I’m inspired to seek one out now. My husband and I spent the weekend at the Boulder International Film Festival and my brain is so stimulated I can’t wait to put new ideas to work.

  4. says

    That same sense of talking through specifics definitely applies to all art- not just “I like it” / “I don’t like it” but what about it resonates with you? What is the story being depicted and how is it moving you or not? It’s like life, really.

    • ArtandLemons says

      Anneliesz, Yes, so true. Too often the impulse is to speak on the surface of matter (be it paint, film, words, dance, existence), not necessarily the materials used either, but with quick judgments. We all have the language to do the work of delving into whatever moves or doesn’t move us and to know why, but often times, we must learn to do so. To engage with the world.

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