The Dream World of Jerry Uelsmann Essay

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Born in 1934, Jerry Uelsmann grew up an inner city kid of Detroit. In high school, Uelsmann worked as an assistant for a photography studio; he eventually photographed weddings. Uelsmann went to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where he met Minor White, who “introduced [him] to the concept that photography could be used for self-expression” (Berman). While at RIT, he studied with Bruce Davidson, Peter Turner and Car Chiaraenza, with whom he held frequent discussions on how photography could be different. After RIT, Uelsmann went to Indiana University where he changed his degree to a Master of Fine Arts degree. He graduated with an M.S. and an M.F.A at Indiana University in 1960, where he studied with Henry Holmes Smith, who had…show more content…
To create a soft line for blending, he places a cover over the part of the negative that he doesn’t want to be printed on the lens of the enlarger; for a hard line he will place a cover closer to the paper. He then moves the paper from enlarger to enlarger-overlapping images and creating a photomontage. Uelsmann’s work was not well received in the photography community. His creations were not considered photography; however, he was well received in the art community. John Szarkowski hosted a solo exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in 1967. Uelsmann was considered “iconoclastic” and “set out to convince critics that photography offered alternatives to the conventional “purist” sensibility…” Uelsmann debated that photos could “evoke elusive states of feeling and thinking triggered by irrational and imaginative juxtaposition” (Kay). Uelsmann has succeeded in finding a following among photographers and artist alike. In the past forty years, Uelsmann’s work has been exhibited in over 100 solo shows throughout the US and overseas. He has permanent instillations in museums worldwide (Taylor). Uelsmann’s photos are now revered for their original technical form as well as their surreal matter (Johnson). Different types of photomontages have been around since the 19th century. According to the Oxford University Press, photomontages “can be categorized according to its naturalist or formalist orientation.” Oxford lists Rejlander and Robinson under the naturalist

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