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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Jerry Uelsmann Interview

Jerry Uelsmann is known for his surreal images which are assembled from multiple negatives using several enlargers. Though one might initially suspect that his photographs are digitally manipulated, they are, in fact, made using ‘traditional’ darkroom techniques. People often think of image manipulation and montage creation as being a product of the ‘digital revolution’, but it is worthwhile to be reminded every so often that the process existed long before the first pixels were born.

Chris Mahr and Larry Berman interviewed Jerry Uelsmann in November 2006 and recently made the transcript of that interview available on-line. The interview is quite interesting and can be found here.

The entire conversation is an excellent and very worthwhile read. While I don’t want to delay your getting to the interview, I did want to mention one of the comments that I found to be particularly poignant.

When discussing the use of digital versus darkroom technology to manipulate images, Mr. Uelsmann responded, and I quote from the Mahr/Berman interview, “…..young people who are learning digital skills discover that the real challenge is coming up with an image that resonates, first of all, with your self and hopefully, with an audience. They can learn all these new techniques and think that they’re easier to use, but creating great images isn’t about the tools.”

What a great reply….” creating great images isn’t about the tools”. All too frequently people think that it is the new camera or the image editing software that produces the image when it is, in fact, the creativity of the artist. And certainly Mr. Uelsmann has far, far more than his fair share of that!