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’s Journey Into Myself Essay, Research Paper


by Alex

The photograph is a photomontage of a female?s head just lower than center, a larger negative print of a face at the top, and two hands joined together at the bottom of the photograph. The female?s head seems to be a young female staring out in space with an expression of someone who may be reflecting on something or daydreaming. The larger face is in the background that appears to be lying down with the eyes closed. In the foreground are two hands holding each other at the fingers.

I get a few impressions from this photograph, but they are all related by ?relationships?. The reason I interpret something about relationships is because the use and how he uses the hands. The way the hands are holding each other appears to be in a caring way. I also get something of past and present from the way Uelsmann layers each element in the photograph. The first is that of a young female daydreaming of a future love. She is not sure of what this person may look like and that is why the face in the background is unclear, and the way the hands are tenderly holding each other reflects an emotional moment as that of one that may occur during a marriage proposal. Another impression I get is one of lost loves. She remembers the relationship and the times they had, but the face has become unclear over the years. One more interpretation I get is one of a young women? relationship with her father. This photograph may show Jerry Uelsmann?s self-refection at the time.

Looking through Jerry Uelsmann?s work and comparing Journey Into Myself (1967) with other works of his, I find two other photographs that deal with the inspection or evaluation of one?s self. The photographs I refer to are Small Wood Where I Met Myself (1967) and Room #1 (1963). Journey Into Myself and Small Woods Where I Met Myself were made around the same time period and may reflect Jerry Uelsmann?s emotional state or his own self reflection. Room #1, I felt followed on the same mind frame of self-evaluation. These photographs have alike with all of Jerry Uelsmann?s work in that they are all photomontages. Photomontages are superimposition of one image on another. Uelsmann accomplished this by doing double or multiple exposure. This is done while the negative is still in the camera. Uelsmann also made them by exposing the printing paper to part or several negatives in succession called multiple printing. He also used combination printing, or sandwiching the negatives. This is the printing of two or more superimposed negatives at the same time. Photomontage reminds me or makes me think of looking into or taking a photograph of a window. You can see through part of the window and the reflections of objects are being reflected on the rest. They seem to be distorted or combining together. I have heard him being called the master of photomontage. He has had over 100 solo exhibitions of his work through out the years. I enjoy his work and consider him a future influence in my own photography.

I am very interested in Jerry Uelsmann?s work ever since I saw some of his work and can only hope to be able to pull it off as well has he is. Because I have been influenced by his work, I have started on these types of photographs. Jerry has also had some influences in his work like Joyce, in that he let his subjects dictate his methods instead of imposing his method on his subjects. Other influences include Minor White and Stieglitz. Minor White made Uelsmann realize the poetic reality when Uelsmann a student was at Rochester Institute of Technology. In His work, man is the dominating character and participant in Uelsmann?s work. Jerry Uelsmann is a humanist and he is concerned with man?s achievements, interests, actions, and moral implications of these actions. Many of his photographs express the sexuality of human interactions and has mastered the presentation of erotic tension without crossing the line into pornography or resorting to non-objective symbolism. Uelsmann has gone though changes in his life and his work reflected to some degree that change. In his recent work, his photographs have become less graphically dominating, in that they may be seen as the relatively simple and harmonious counterpoint of objects and forms. The picture spaces, in his recent work, have been filled in a more total and stressing fashion reflecting his complex nature. Uelsmann puts his photographs together by searching for a significant image. He does this by first selecting a motif, then organizing the forms, and then combine each in a picture in which the content is other than just pure data. It is a kind of magic-theatrical magic process and the essence is the least bit irrational.

Jerry Uelsmann?s photographs, I believe, catch your eye and makes you stop to take another look. This may because you were interested in what you saw or just because you wanted to take a closer look at what you thought you saw but your brain couldn?t explain it, or perhaps you thought ?wow?. For whatever reason, Uelsmann?s photomontages become open to many interpretations, as with Journey Into Myself.