I received the following thoughts about the Digital Darkroom exhibition from Larry Pribble on May 28, 2012.
Yesterday, I finally got to see the Digital Darkroom exhibit at the Annenberg Space before it closed today. I had been wanting to see it since I first heard about it because of the concept behind it and because among the artists included are one of my longtime and one of my newest favorite photographers, Jerry Uelsmann and Brooke Shaden, who use the medium of photography to communicate their personal visions in distinctive and creative fashions. As enjoyable as it was to see the images on the wall, as with every exhibit I’ve been to there, the short documentaries about the artists, their work, and their creative processes is equally illuminating and makes the experience all the more enriching. One point that was continually emphasized in the video is that the digital means by which each of the artists creates their images is simply a tool they employ to be able to express their creative and artistic vision. That is something that gets lost in the onslaught of Photoshopped imagery by which we are constantly bombarded. That Photoshop is a far more accessible means of expression than other media gives many the illusion that it somehow enhances the creativity of the user. Unless there is a creative spark behind its use, it simply proliferates the creation of mediocre art.
If you didn’t get to see the exhibit and the documentary, it is on the Annenberg’s web-site along with those from their previous exhibits. The video gave considerable time to Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor, and communicated that Jerry was a precursor to the digital artists represented in the exhibit, achieving similar results in his darkroom in creating altered visions of reality though multiple and manipulated images as artists today are in using Photoshop. Every time I saw the video, the last line, which was given to Jerry, never failed to get a laugh when he said he feels a kinship with the artists today using digital means to create their art, and that he was just glad that he made the final cut.
By Jim McKinniss