Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jerry Uelsmann's "Navigation without Numbers"

Jerry Ueslmann, "Navigation without Numbers," 1971,  gelation silver print. 

Jerry Ueslmann is a master craftsman of photography and has acted as one of contemporary art's premier showstoppers. His image, "Navigation without Numbers" uses Uelsmann's cherished craft of double-exposure--the act of compiling more than one negative while making an enlargment in a darkroom. In this print, you can see four images comprised together; the base image is of a beach's shoreline, the second of a man standing in a room, the third of a left hand placed in the four ground, the fourth of a right hand exposed as a negative in the middle ground. Uelsmann could have even comprised more images as the dark clouds in the sky could be from another image.

Reminiscent of Rene Magritte and other surrealist painters, Uelsmann creates dream-like images that evoke unrealistic scenarios. One of his photographs is even titled "Magritte's Touchstone." Uelsmann's experimentalism and symbolic gestures are what attract me to his pieces. They seem to carry an aestheticism that captures a deeper meaning in life. By integrating humans and human creation with nature, Uelsmann creates what many have deemed "visual poetry." Thought I do not pin this image as one of Uelsmann's better works (see: Jerry Uelsmann photo gallery), it still captures the essence of Uelsmann's talent and craft.

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