Luther Gerlach

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Mayhem # 75308

About Me

Luther Gerlach is an escape artist. He escapes confinement from present-day reality by simulating feelings, experiences, and signifiers of a world gone past through photographic techniques long since abandoned. Using a mid-19th century wet plate process, large-format restored antique cameras (8"x10" through 30"x40") and lenses dating from 1850 to 1940, Gerlach embarks upon a journey of commitment and idealism with each session to produce a single photograph.

He says, "Quite often, I feel as if my soul is in the past and my mind is in the future." There is no place in time more limiting than the present. In the future, we see endless possibilities where we are free to indulge fantasies of what might become, and in the past, we have an absolute lack of responsibility and can release ourselves from the liability of committing any action. It is no surprise, then, that artists of all media find their imaginations taking up residence outside the here and now.

But there are no neighbors when one lives out of time, and throughout Gerlach's work, the audience feels a chronic, self-imposed state of isolation and distance from the photographic subject living in the present. His nudes and portraits are photographed with hesitance and apology for their intimacy, while inanimate objects and scenery take on the burden of proving their own existence, and there is a sense of secrecy and suspicion of hidden forms lurking out of focus, beneath fog or debris. The viewer can't help but wonder what truth has been obscured or lost through the simulation of a world that never existed.

Luther has done over fifty onsite demonstrations, lectures and workshops since 2006 in the wet plate collodion, albumen, platinum palladium and photo gravure processes at the Getty Museum. These were collaborated with the Photographs of Antiquities exhibit at the Getty Villa, the P.H. Emerson exhibit and the Dialogue Among Giants/Carlton Watkins exhibit.
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• Currently Luther is employed as a Master Printer for Graham Howe at Curatorial Assistance

• Featured speaker for the Alternative Photographic International Symposium in Santa Fe, 9-09

• Instructor and guest lecturer at Brooks Institute of Photography and Art Center, Pasadena 86-2009


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Credit Notes

Work has appeared in: Architectural Digest, American Photographer, People and View Camera mag

Work has been exhibited at over two hundred art festivals, winning major awards at Cherry Creek, Coconut Grove, Tampa Bay and Salt Lake City
Feature articles: View Camera magazine, Shutterbug Photo magazine, Santa Barbara Magazine

Corporate collections: Shell, Exxon, Stone Oil

Museum collections: J.P. Getty Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Columbia College Chicago, Denver Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Schacknow Museum of Fine Art

Licensing companies: Pier 1 and the Bombay Company, Aaron Brothers, Z Gallery

Celebrity clientele: President Barack and Michelle Obama, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Nick Nolte, Bruce Willis, Michael Wilson, Oprah Winfrey



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