Dan Burkholder Exhibition

Woodstock Times -January 6, 2005
by Paul Smart

Art & Soul, the gallery started by the late Leilani Claire and owned and curated by up-and-coming abstract photographer Bernard Gerson since last autumn, cements its first steps in a new direction this weekend with an exhibit opening and gallery talk featuring one of the fathers of modern digital photography, Dan Burkholder.

Burkholder, author of the seminal Making Digital Negatives for Contact Printing and the recent inventor of a new photographic process applying pigment to platinum prints, will attend an opening reception for his Art & Soul exhibit from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 8 and then give a talk, entitled "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Darkroom" starting at 2 p.m. at the gallery on Sunday, January 9.

According to Gerson, Burkholder has bought property in town and plans to start building a home in Woodstock this Spring, to be moved into by he and his family next Autumn or Fall. He currently lives in Texas.

Moreover, Gerson said, the fact that Burkholder will be showing and lecturing at Art & Soul, after similar exhibits in Europe and Los Angeles, and a week teaching classes at the International Center for Photography in New York, represents a validation of the direction he wants to take his gallery… towards ever-increasing quality of work.

Burkholder, one of the first top shelf photographic artists to embrace digital technology in the early 1990's, has worked to make the new media match his previous mastery of various classic darkroom formats. In addition to his platinum advances, he was instrumental in originating digital-negative processes in 1992. Making Digital Negatives for Contact Printing, his award-winning book, is regarded as the authoritative text in the field.

"I try to exploit photography's ability to fossilize light as no other medium can, and find the qualities of both the handmade and pigment prints particularly suited to my vision of reality, whether straight, or romanticized," Burkholder has written. "I am more concerned with emotional honesty than literal honesty in my photographs. My job is to respond to visual intrigue and beauty, and then to create a photograph that conveys to the viewer my feelings for the subject."

Burkholder has said that his reason for moving East was predicated by a growing distaste "for the increased religiosity of America as one of the most sinister, dangerous and stupid trends in my lifetime" and a need to move "to a part of the country that embraces progressive politics."

In terms of his art, Burkholder notes that he found himself drawn to digital printing, in part, as a means of keeping the price of his work more democratic.

"The art world is fraught with contradictions. How does one provide images to people who aren't wealthy, yet provide some assurance that the prints will continue to appreciate as collectable artwork?" he writes on his website. " I staircase my print prices. That is, prints that are low in number are more affordable. This provides new collectors-and those with wallets unlike Bill Gates'-with an avenue to purchase prints at an affordable price. As a print grows in popularity (and its number climbs) the price increases. This way, if you want a popular image that has sold well over the years, I will get more money for traipsing into the darkroom to reprint the image when I might prefer to be working on more current projects."