Tree House – 1982 – Jerry Uelsmann
Artist Mentor Project
Planted – 2010 – Robert Trudell
Home is a Memory – Jerry Uelsmann
Prison Flight – 2010 – Robert Trudell
Remembering Home – Black & White Film – by Robert Trudell
Power Line Dream Flight – 2010 – Robert Trudell
Dreaming in Color – 2010 – Robert Trudell
The Surrealist – Photographing Your Dreams – Joe Medina’s Photography 191 Assignment
Exploring one’s dreams and fantasies is powerful ground for creating visual art. This is a safe ground for self-exploration and leads to artwork that is more expressive and authentic than artworks that result from a more direct confrontation of “reality”.
Photo Assignment 2 Parts
Make two photographs that copy works by 2 different surrealist artists. If possible replicate them as exactly as possible. Do not simply take one photography and try to copy the image. Take several shots, anywhere from 3 to 10 depending on the image you choose. Shoot til you feel like you “captured” it.
Take whatever pictures you want as long as they 1) effectively express a feeling or idea, 2) show some inspiration from your mentor’s.
Note: Influence does NOT mean photos that look exactly like your mentors. The influence could be and idea or technique that you totally transform in some way. Example: idea of tattooing a symbol on your forehead or another body part or the lighting or the pose, etc. ALSO, these photos do NOT have to be even the same subject matter, as long as you can show some influence of style or technique.
Surrealist Printing Techniques
At least 6 of the following darkroom techniques will be required:
1. Sandwich/double negative
2. scratched negative
3. collage (creating a collage from various photos or small pieces of photos: may combine with magazine pics)
4. combination print (photogram & negative enlargement printed together on one piece of photo paper)
5. texture screens (use screens – fishnet stocking, nylons, lace, etx. – under lens or over photo paper)
6. negative print
7. vignetting/ or masking
8. scratched print
9. toned print
The following is a list of artists and writers who were part of – or strongly associated with – the Dada and / or Surrealist movements. You may select your “mentors” from any names on this list.
> Man Ray
> Louis Aragon *
> Paul Eluard *
> Benjamin Peret *
*founders of the Surrealist movement
later Surrealist Photographers:
22 November 2010
Surrealism Artist Mentor Research Paper – Jerry Uelsmann
Jerry Uelsmann inspired me with his surrealistic photographic scenes. I chose to reproduce his 1982 work, Tree House and Home is a Memory. I chose Uelsmann’s work to better understand the process of synthesizing a collection of photographic images to create a new reality. Tree House showcases an aged and crippled house growing out of or overgrown by a massive tree trunk with its articulated root system. A hillside of homes appears in the distant background. Home is a Memory reveals an overpowering eyeball looking over the large tree lined lawn leading up to a far set back home. A single crow sits on the expansive yard. I plan to search out similar pieces on both of these collections and capture them in both digital and film formats. I’ll assemble and edit the digital images in Photoshop and print both a black & white and 8-by-10 inch negatives to create photograms with. With the film, I’ll try to reproduce the multiple enlarger techniques used by Uelsmann.
United States citizen, Jerry Uelsmann was born in 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. Jerry started working in photography as a hobbyist and photographer’s assistant in High School. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology in a 2-Year program to learn Portrait Photography which later transitioned to a 4-Year Science & Illustration program. He next attended Indiana University’s Audio Visual department and feeling disillusioned, switched to pursue a Master’s of Fine Art at the same institution. For equipment, Uelsmann uses an old Bronica, a Bronica GS1 and Mamiya 7 and says he’ll use the lightest equipment that’ll give him the largest negative using roll film. Jerry began and refined a process of combining multiple photographic negatives using several enlargers to form one image. He blends dream like scenes with picturesque photo realism. Jerry collects images like words in his camera and then assembles them like a language in the darkroom.
Uelsmann’s website gallery displays 4 eras of work, Early, Middle, Recent and Still Wet. The Tree House image I chose to recreate is in his Middle era and labeled Untitled, 1982. His Middle era extends for over a decade to 1996 ending with Stairs curving up to Bears from the sandy soil into a doorway view of the snow topped mountains. Of my favorites is a simple rocklike staircase leading to a large rock with a framed door and ascending manmade stairs in it.
The Recent gallery starts with open palms framing a large lake and high rising clouds and a single boat sitting restfully on the still water. Another image shows two hands cupping a lone broken egg filled nest offered up to a set of unattached floating angel bird wings appearing through a stone castle doorway. Eyes, lips, crows, water, trees and clouds are assembled with women, paths, pools and nests. Several images incorporate pieces or objects used in others. Recent images extend from 1996 to 2007
2008 to 2010 defines the Still Wet images. Items collected from the beginning till now reoccur in these prints as well. Boats, lakes, papers, books and sand resonate as Jerry assembles them with the tone of the language he defines with images. Circled chairs and floating papers echo the education system that revolved around his life. In one image a large aged hand in the clouds prepares to grasp an idol that floats within them. Does the idol represent something that Jerry’s alchemic hands worship?
Today, Jerry still loves the magic in photographic chemistry.