The Reality that Transcends Surface Reality


Photographer Jerry Uelsmann puts a twist on traditional black and white photography. Committed to using film, Uelsmann relies on the darkroom to create his masterpieces. Uelsmann photographs have noticeable contrast, striking mid-tones and greys and paints fantastical realities in the minds of viewers.

Born and raised in Detroit, Uelsmann was attracted to the art of photography from an early age. In his early high school years he began photographing weddings. After high school Uelsmann attended Rochester Institute of Technology in the late 1950s where he received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts. He then transferred to University of Indiana to further his education. He attributes his professor Henry Holmes Smith as being an inspiration as well as Minor White.

Uelsmann’s intent is for viewers to have some sort of emotion invoked or story created in their mind when they glance at his work but his audience often look at Uelsmann’s photographs and wonder how did he do it without a computer?

Instead of tinkering with digital photography, Uelsmann retreats to the darkroom to practice his mastery skills. Using photo manipulation to channel his creative concepts into his photos, he is constantly adding new elements to his photos as they come to life in the developer of his darkroom.

-Haley Myles


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