Cook Center Process Gallery
February 5 through March 12
Photographic Occurrences is an exhibition featuring the work of over twenty artists that highlights the history of Fine Art photographic experimentation at Indiana University Bloomington.
Henry Holmes Smith taught photography at Indiana University from 1947-1977, founding one of the first graduate programs in photography in the world. He is also the co-founder of the Society of Photographic Education and his contribution to photography in higher education is well known. What is less well known is that he was also an avid experimenter in the darkroom and broke new ground in the creation of cameraless photographic images. Smith’s oeuvre and his teaching demanded photography be taken seriously as an artistic medium that challenged photography’s representational underpinnings, resurrected “dead” 19th century processes, and expanded the physicality of the photographic print with unconventional materials.
Photographic Occurrences celebrates Smith’s legacy of experimentation at Indiana University by exhibiting Smith’s seminal cameraless photographs; his students Jerry Uelsmann, Betty Hahn, and Robert Fichter; current and emeritus Eskenazi School faculty that carry this legacy; and IU MFA alumni. The inspiration for this exhibition came in the aftermath of the cancellation of renowned contemporary Daguerrotypist Takashi Arai’s visit to Indiana University due to COVID. The resulting exhibition is a historic retrospective of IU’s legacy of photographic experimentation. Multiple connections to Smith’s creative experimentation can be seen through the group exhibition, which will feature the work of over twenty artists. While some of the artists make lens-based images and create prints with the antique processes that Smith championed, others craft cameraless, non-objective photographs, and others are combine mixed media to create photo-objects.