Jerry N. Uelsmann (Re-visualizing)
Something I have become interested in learning more about is the story behind a picture. I started to become interested in Jerry N. Uelsmann because of the strangeness of his pictures. They were different so it made me wonder about what he might have been thinking while he was putting together an image. So far I have learned that Uelsmann heavily believes in re-visualizing an image in a way that will make him amaze himself.
(In the Recent Gallery Section.)
This information is from PDN Legends Online. The source of this information does a good job of showing Uelsmann's opinion on his own work, and why he does what he does by including a lot of quotes, and even a Q & A section. However, the information that I've been reading is from Kodak International site, and they do have some obvious interest in advertising Kodak Flim (even including a quote about how much the photographer likes Kodak Flim on the start up page.)
Though his pictures are much more fantastical then mine, I think his pictures do heavily involve nature, and how nature interacts with other subjects, which is part of what creates what I am interested in, which is unique shapes. One thing that surprised me was that this photographer is blending pictures together so well--and he didn't even using photoshop! Being able to merge pictures so nicely in the dark room is definitely a good skill to have. One thing that I wonder about this person's work and life is whether he ever felt like his work was becoming repetitive. Though think that trees (especially with the right back lighting) have very nice shapes most of the time, taking too many pictures of the same sort of subjects can get tiring. However, because he even reuses pictures in his collaborations, I'm assuming he doesn't really feel the same way. After all, he was all about re-imaging.
Uelsmann was involved with teaching students at the University of Florida, and might have been influenced to do this because of Henry Holmes Smith, his old professor, and the way his teacher affected his life. Being that I didn't have a lot of background information on Uelsmann, I chose to do some more research. As I searched for another source of information about this person, I came across this additional Profotos site that had additional biographical information. This site provided a lot of information about his later life, and the many museums where his work his exhibited.
In the earlier website there is quote that says, "To me the camera is a license to explore." This statement resonated with me, because it makes it sound like you don't have to go looking for a particular picture, and picture can find you. If people take a picture of a dog, just to take a picture of a dog, it might not be that interesting to me. But if they happen to come across a dog doing something that intrigues them, then people will be able to feel the intrigue within the picture,and they'll be drawn to the subject as well. In the PDN website's Q&A section (click previous link to find that section), there was another statement that caught my eye. During an interview he said, "My hope is that I can constantly push back barriers and have something new and different happen to me each time." I completely agree with this statement, as bringing in something new will keep work refreshing and make people put more energy into that work. As for pushing back barriers--well isn't that something that every artist wants to do? I don't think I'm necessarily an artist, but I can still understand the need to do something that hasn't been done, something that you'll be proud of.
Now that I have done this research, it makes me think more about my own work especially my more recent photos, which I feel like have gotten a little boring.
This is my Christmas tree photo, that I did a little burning and dodging with, however I'd like it to be a bit more interesting. All of this information about Uelsmann makes me think that trying something a little different then usual might be a good idea. I've also noticed that I've been taking a lot of pictures of the same sort of subjects, and they're getting a little repetitive. Though Uelsmann used similar pictures over and over again in his work (sometimes even the same ones) he was still able to keep everything fresh and new. I'd like to be able to do that as well.
Next, with my own work, I hope to take pictures of more unusual things (instead of another tree!) and edit in a way that will make things even more intriguing. I hope to do this by maybe taking more opportunities to wander around with my camera, and then maybe run into something new. As for the editing, hopefully I'll learn to combine all the techniques I've learned until now to make a better final product.