Jerry Pozniak studied photography ages ago, in the pre-digital era when film was king, at the School of Visual Arts. Ironically, he did see the value in computer generated art, as he established the “Artists Who Use Computers” group at SVA. Who knew that this was the writing on the wall for the demise of film? After graduation, he worked for two years as studio manager for the studio of Al Francekevich, who’s speciality was large format special effect images, all manipulated in the darkroom.
Photography stayed with Jerry thorough his career as a small business owner (alas not in photography), but he never felt comfortable with the digital process. Three years ago he happened upon The Penumbra Foundation in New York City, and enrolled in a course in wet-plate photography. Wet-plate photography was “the” process in the late 1800’s and predates the use of film. Jerry fell in love with the slow meditative nature of wet-plate. It is “anti-digital”, as the process is entirely hand-made and one image can take as long as fifteen minutes to create.
At The Penumbra Foundation, he studied with Lisa Elmaleh, Geoffrey Berliner, Jolene Lupo and Sam Dole; without their support and guidance he would not have been able to work though the technical and creative issues to produce a full body of work. Jerry lives in Cross River, NY with his wife Lisa Miller. His wet-plate work is created in studio space in New York City as well as Charlestown, RI.
A Lone is a visual expression of the feeling of loneliness and abandonment that has ruled my psyche for many years. The women photographed are representative of how I viewed myself during this time; the gaze away from the camera expressing sadness and loneliness. Each woman, an expression of myself.
The portraits that I have created using the wet-plate photographic process are an homage to Julia Margret Cameron's allegorical images. I am influenced by Ms. Cameron’s work as many of her images express the feelings that I understand; sadness, loneliness, despair, all which speak to my experience.
All of the images for “A Lone” were created using a 5”x7” large format camera, and are original positive images on aluminum.
Using the wet-plate photographic process, which is entirely hand-made, creates complications that at times cannot be controlled. The process itself, with long exposure times, creates an active relationship between the sitter and the photographer, as each image takes many minutes to create. The uncontrollable aspect of wet-plate has enabled me to produce images that are not perfect. The imperfections heighten the visual metaphor of loneliness - the images are dark in nature, and the imperfections are scars, much like scars of my own human experience.