Inventing a reality

"I came to photography when it was finally gaining importance in the world of fine art," says Jerry Uelsmann '57, photographer, darkroom artist and professor emeritus of the University of Florida. "My mindscapes (his term for his style of photo montages) come from that fine-art tradition where artists can invent a reality."

Uelsmann has exhibited in more than one hundred solo shows throughout the world. His works hang in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Chicago Art Institute, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Japan, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the National Gallery of Canada and the National Gallery of Australia, along with numerous other galleries, museums and collections. His pioneering approach to the darkroom process ("digital manipulation before the technology was invented," experts say) has made him the subject of numerous journals, books, magazines and newspapers.

Uelsmann says: "I try to begin working with no preconceived ideas. Each click of the shutter suggests an emotional and visual involvement. My contact sheets then become a kind of visual diary of all the things I have seen and experienced with my camera. They contain the seeds from which my images grow.

"Ultimately, my hope is to amaze myself."

The University Magazine, Fall 1999