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Other Realities.
Photographs by Jerry Uelsmann. Text by Peter Bunnell.
Bulfinch, New York, 2005. 112 pp., Numerous illustrations throughout, 11½x12".

One of the nice surprises of my life in photography was the discovery that Jerry Uelsmann is a very funny man. Hearing him crack up an audience at a national conference of photography teachers and professionals gave me a renewed appreciation for the playful imagination that runs through his once iconoclastic, now, in an era of daily PhotoShop miracles (which he gracefully dismisses in a copyright page disclaimer), remarkably settled and iconic images. This survey of Uelsmann's work, dating from the early 1960s to 2004, is not hilarious. But it is revealing; the artist's voice appears on facing pages throughout the long, finely printed plate section, concluding with this—”Ultimately, my hope is to amaze myself”—which is as fine a statement as any artist could make about discovery and pleasure and takes Diaghilev's charge to Cocteau—”Amaze me.”—to a more refined, responsible, yet joyous level. Uelsmann is not a sober symbolist, but a darkroom alchemist with the skills of a master printer and the free-form, intuitive image construction of a surrealist film maker. To have his deft aphorisms accompanying your meander through this retrospective volume is a distinct pleasure, and a window into a seemingly bottomless reservoir of creativity; the hilarity, however, will have to wait for the “Uelsmann Live” DVD. GEORGE SLADE Read Publisher's Description.

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