MURFREESBORO — The region’s premier photographic gallery will reopen Monday, Jan. 27, for a 50th anniversary celebration in a bright new space at MTSU, welcoming the campus and community with a fascinating exhibit and lecture from renowned photographic artists Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor.
MTSU’s nationally renowned Baldwin Photographic Gallery, established on campus in 1964, will reopen to the public at 4 p.m. Jan. 27 in brand new quarters on the second floor of the Bragg Mass Communication Building.
Pioneering photographer Jerry Uelsmann, who coincidentally in 1974 was one of the first major exhibitors in the Baldwin Gallery, also will return to MTSU Jan. 27 for a special lecture with his wife, fellow photographer Maggie Taylor, at 6 p.m. in Room 221 of the Learning Resources Center.
An exhibit of their work will be on display in the gallery through March 9.
The grand opening, the lecture and the exhibit all are free and open to the public. A searchable campus map with parking details is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.
"This grand reopening is truly a momentous occasion," says Billy Pittard, head of MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication in the College of Mass Communication. "It is happening on the 50th anniversary of the gallery; the exhibit is of the visually stunning work of Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor; and this has been made possible by a very generous gift from retired professor of photography Harold Baldwin."
“This beautiful new gallery will allow us to continue to do what professor Baldwin started 50 years ago: bring great photographers and their work here to inspire our students and share with the community.”
Baldwin established the photography program at MTSU in 1959 and established the photo gallery five years later to help expose students, as well as the surrounding community, to the work of leading photographers from around the world.
In the process, the professor began to build a permanent collection from gallery exhibits by artists such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Minor White, as well as Uelsmann. MTSU photography professor Tom Jimison has curated the gallery since 1991.
The MTSU Photographic Gallery, which was renamed to honor Baldwin in 1996, was located in a hallway of the Learning Resources Center until building renovations displaced it. Now a professor emeritus of mass communication, Baldwin donated $100,000 in 2012 to find and renovate a new location on campus.
MTSU turned the former student newspaper office in the Bragg building into a 1,300-square-foot photographic gallery, featuring 200 feet of pristine wall display space and museum-quality lighting, to showcase the permanent Baldwin collection as well as traveling exhibits and student work.
Uelsmann and Taylor exhibit their photos all over the world, including recent shows in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Uelsmann’s specialty is photomontage, a technique he pioneered that uses traditional darkroom tools to juxtapose multiple photographic exposures into surreal and thought-provoking works of art. Taylor uses her photographic background with digital tools — a flatbed scanner and computer software — to turn images into fascinating collages.
“Their exhibit is a great opportunity for us to create more awareness of MTSU’s photo program, because we blend it all: artistic expression, commercial/editorial and photojournalism,” Pittard notes.
“We help our students understand the fundamentals and then grow. Everyone thinks that digital photography is ‘magic,’ but our students are taught the fundamentals first and understand how and why to capture the light in the first place.”
You can read an article with more details on Baldwin and his gift at http://mtsunews.com/baldwin-donation. Nashville Arts magazine also is featuring the exhibit in its January issue, complete with more photos, at http://nashvillearts.com/2014/01/01/jerry-uelsman-maggie-taylor-photography.
Visit Taylor’s site at http://maggietaylor.com and Uelsmann’s at http://www.uelsmann.net to see more of their work. You also can watch an excerpt from the Lynda.com documentary “Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor: This is Not Photography,” which MTSU’s Pittard executive-produced, at http://ow.ly/sQGFV.