Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Digital Darkroom: December 17 – May 28, 2012

Digital Darkroom: December 17 – May 28, 2012

The eighth exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography is called Digital Darkroom.  It is a vastly different show for the space.  It is different, beautiful and mind-blowing.  The collection from 17 very uniquely styled artists is a transcending display of fine art in the modern day.

All the artists but one have used Photoshop and digital to bring their imagination to life. These days most people know Photoshop as it is used everywhere.  Most people are aware of its power, and most people have no idea how to really use it.  These masters, however, use Photoshop as a painter would use a brush or a sculptor the clay to bring forth the imagination they possess.  The painstaking details they craft into each of their pieces is undeniable.  Imagine the process for a moment: conceptualizing, making or collecting layers and layers for the final piece, and successfully bringing it all together seamlessly.  These featured artists have each meticulously woven together a vision of tremendous whimsy and awe.  This is not an easy feat.

As I walked though the show, multiple times, I could not get over the depth and dimension.  Take in Cube by Jean-Marie Vives.  And there is a piece by Jean-Francois Rauzier that you can’t help but stop at for some time.  The details, the incredible-incredible details left me speechless.  I felt this slight bit of panic as the piece engulfed me – which I actually love, for these types of physical reactions give a deeper examination and raises the question, why are you doing this to me?  I stood merely inches away marveling at the craftsmanship and just imagining what that palette of layers looked like.

The work by Pierre Beteille is just fun, and the digital presentation portrays his personality and connects his work to that delightfully.  The multimedia portion of the show is wonderfully engaging and does an incredible job of distilling the process of some of the artists featured.  Maggie Taylor’s works, for instance, are lovely.  They are whimsical and full of dimension, but then getting a glimpse of her in her studio and hearing how she approaches her art profoundly left me awestruck.  The details and nurturing poured into each square inch of the canvas and the thoughtfulness of the work is humbling.

One particular artist, Jerry Uelsmann [the photo I chose to display above] is one I would like to really highlight brightly and loudly.  His work is straight-up darkroom.  Old school.  That means no Photoshop.  Let me say that again, NO Photoshop.   He was doing this before the invention of Photoshop and doing it incredibly well.  His work is breathtaking and dreamy.  His craftsmanship is elegant.  The multimedia presentation follows him though his process and presents such an authentic and charming gentleman.

There is also a 3D presentation that is a must.  Please make time for this during your visit.  Simply said, it’s cool to experience.  I sat there with a group of people so I had enough sense to hold myself back, but seeing Mike Pucher’s botanical creations come to life gave me the strong urge to reach out my hand.  The work levitates literally and figuratively.  There are other elements of the 3D show that I won’t spoil, but again, simply put …  really cool and very educational.

I have a profound respect for all of the artists. Their talent and imagination is powerful and breathtaking.  Each piece is so delicately and mindfully crafted.

And for all you animal lovers, look for Martine Roch’s characters.  It warmed my heart.  And do not miss the lenticular prints in LED, they are sparkly.

Take your children during winter break; I believe the show will conjure up some wonderful conversations, breathe a new perspective of digital photography and inspire.

Photo: Untitled, 1982. Credit: Jerry Uelsmann


  1. November 29, 1999, 4:00 pm

    I saw this show at the opening at it is brilliant. The 3D movie and the feature in the main gallery were produced by the amazing team at Arclight Productions; Steve Kochones, Rob Wilson, James Pendorf, and Karlo David.

    By: Julian
  2. December 27, 2011, 1:18 pm

    How wonderful to read about this. Sadly I cannot visit the exhibition since I live inthe UK but we were thrilled that our daughter Elaine – James's sister was able to do so! A true labour of love by all in olved!

    By: pegspendorf

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