Jerry Uelsmann is an American photographer, and was the forerunner of photomontage in the 20th century in America. His work has been internationally acclaimed and has been presented in over 100 individual shows all over the US and the rest of the world in the last three decades. Uelsmann currently lives in Gainesville, Florida with Maggie Taylor, his third wife. Uelsmann produces amalgamated photographs along with several negatives as well as extensive work in the darkroom. His negatives recur in his work as either a background or focal point. Just like O.G. Rejlander, it is felt by Uelsmann that the final image can be composed of more than one negative. Uelsmann, in the twentieth century didn’t care about anything but to represent his imagination to his viewers and felt that photomontage was a channel to disseminate his thoughts and ideas in a better way.
Today, photographers can create the same effect as Uelsmann did in a few hours using softwares and a digital camera. However, at that time, he was noted for his miraculous skills of using analog techniques to create something unbelievable. Jerry NUelsmann’s modern mindset helped to expand the boundaries of art in photography. Although a range of digital tools are available, Uelsmann feels that his traditional approach towards photography is intrinsically connected to the darkroom alchemy.
His photos are shown in the opening credits of The Outer Limits, 1995 TV series and in the illustrated version of Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. Additionally, his work is seen in Train of Thought, a 2003 album by Dream Theater. His pictures don’t depict any specific place, in fact they make the viewer capable of seeing multiple frames and transcend into a journey through the deepness of his artworks. They play with big and vague ideas, so much so that Uelsmann’s work does not leave any space for accurate interpretation. The artist feels that he touches his spectators personally by creating something unimaginable, surreal and abstract at the same time.
His work is usually in monochrome with a range of mid-tones and gray complements. Uelsmann contrasts artificial with organic and usually uses several focal points. From 1967 to 1970, he did a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also received a Guggenheim Fellowship during this time. Uelsmann also delivered lectures and carried out workshops in art universities and institutions of America. Also he was recognized, as contributing extensively to the field of photography, by the American Society of Magazine Photographers.
Then between 1971 to 1973, he was invited at London’s Royal Public Society to deliver a lecture on Some Humanistic Considerations of Photography. Uelsmann started to give lectures at places in Europe. At this time, he also received National Endowment for Fellowship in Art. In addition, he was made Britain’s Royal Photographic Society‘s Fellow. He also participated in the Arle’s 4th Recontres Unternationales de la Photographie in France.
Moreover, the Society of Publication Designers gave him a Merit Certificate and the American Institute of Graphic Arts gave him Excellence Certificate. Silver Meditations was his primary monograph and Peter C. Bunned wrote its introduction.
He has also received a bronze medal in Yugoslavia’s International Photography Exhibition. He was included in group exhibitions in Canada, Japan, Australia, and Holland.