Jerry N. Uelsmann
Jerry N. Uelsmann (born 1934 in
Detroit, Michigan) is an American photographer.
Uelsmann is a master printer producing
composite photographs with multiple negatives and extensive darkroom work.
He uses up to a dozen enlargers at a time to produce his final images.
Similar in technique to
Rejlander, Uelsmann is a champion of the idea that the final image
need not be tied to a single negative, but may be composed of many. Unlike
Rejlander, though, he does not seek to create narratives, but rather
allegorical surrealist imagery of the unfathomable. Uelsmann is able to
subsist on grants and teaching salary, rather than commercial work.
Today, with the advent of digital cameras
and Photoshop, photographers are able to create a work somewhat resembling
Uelsmann's in less than a day, however, at the time Uelsmann was
considered to have almost "magical skill" with his completely analog
tools. Uelsmann used the darkroom frequently, sometimes using three to ten
enlargers to produce the expected effect. Photos are still widely regarded
as documentary evidence of events, and Uelsmann, along with people like
Lucas Samaras, was considered an avant garde shattere of the popular