I became an admirer of Jerry Uelsmann’s work sometime in the 1970’s. I am vague on how he first came to my attention. Like many photographers I discovered back then, It was either through an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York or an Aperture monograph of his work that I discovered in the Museum’s bookshop. Either way, I became an admirer of the artist’s work and have been ever since. Uelsmann is a master of surrealistic images created in the darkroom. Using multiple negative images, many photographed specifically to be used as just one element of the final print, he experiments, studying the possibilities until he arrive at the moment his imagination has been searching for.
Today with digital photography, photoshop and lightroom many photographers can create similar images in much less time rarely, if ever, as good. Despite the digital revolution, Uelsmann, now in his 80’s, continues to use the darkroom as his paintbrush.
I bring all this up because, currently on view at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, Florida, an exhibit called Jerry Uelsmann: Undiscovered Self is on view. My wife and I went to see it yesterday afternoon and it reminded of how much and why I admire Uelsmann’s original and interpretive work.
The exhibit runs through December.