The motives of the final part of the exhibit are not at all underhanded or sinister — they use manipulated photography to make art. When I was a teenager, developing my own prints in a darkroom, I became enthralled with the possibilities of this analog craft. That interest led me straight to the mesmerizing work of Jerry Uelsmann. He created surreal landscapes that were mysterious not only in their message, but also in their highly refined darkroom techniques. I spent countless hours trying to figure out how he was able to build such elaborate constructions, all done as one image. It is a shame that today, Uelsmann’s images feel less spectacular viewed with the knowledge that today’s software can so easily match his craft. To get the most from “Faking It,” try leaving today’s reality of digital unreality behind, and enjoy the immersive pleasure of photography’s analog youth.
‘UNTITLED’: Jerry Uelsmann uses highly refined darkroom techniques to create surreal landscapes. Viewed as striking in their day, Uelsmann’s images feel less spectacular with the knowledge that today’s software can so easily match his craft. This gelatin silver print was created in 1969.