Skip to comments.Ah, but Can Photoshop Do This?
Posted on 03/05/2012 11:23:47 AM PST by nickcarraway
It really isn't fair: Jerry Uelsmann, who was born in 1934, had to devise ingenious darkroom techniques to create surrealistic images that nowadays anyone competent with Photoshop can produce with ease. But being able to reverse positive and negative versions of a photograph and to merge two or more photographs into a single composition are only the mechanical aspects of Mr. Uelsmann's art. The indispensable element of his work is his ability to envision images that are totally impossible, but absolutely right. It takes more than the most complex computer program to do that.
"The Mind's Eye," a retrospective of Mr. Uelsmann's career at the Peabody Essex Museum, is the first in a series of exhibitions that Phillip Prodger, the curator of photography, has planned for PEM's 2012 Year of Photography. Given the idiosyncratic nature of Mr. Uelsmann's pictures, he may seem an unlikely choice with which to begin the series. But, in fact, his work is deeply imbued with the history of the medium. "Full Dome" (1973) is a wr
y comment on his friend Ansel Adams's famous picture of the Half Dome peak in Yosemite National Park: He printed his picture of the mountain on one side of the paper, flipped the negative and printed it again of the other side to make a perfectly symmetricalbut plausibleFull Dome. "Untitled" (1969) was shot at Point Lobos, the beach that figures in many photographs by Edward Weston and other California photographers. Rather than show the majestic sweep of the ocean, it concentrates on the shriveled innards of a clam.
Visual wit figures in many of Mr. Uelsmann's pictures. In "Self-Portrait as Robinson and Rejlander" (1964), he appears naked twice, once with and once without eyeglasses, sitting in a bathtub. This is his homage to two mid-19th-century British photographers famous for
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The second photo is not symmetrical but you hardly notice that the tree is.