The latest in the 52 weeks in film project.
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.
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.
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.