Max Kellenberger

Artist Blog by Nicholas Albrecht

Max and I meet a few years back at a Photo Alliance Portfolio Review at The San Francisco Art Institute. We look over each other’s shoulders to look at our relative work. Our work is very different in nature but I found something extremely compelling in what he does. We have since become friends and he has allowed me to share his beautiful darkroom, I am very grateful for that. He has several different bodies of work that I admire but here I want to show his series Blues.

In Blues Max uses a method invented partially by Sir John Herschel in 1842, the cyanotype. While some may employ a traditional negative in the creation of a cyanotype, Max would organize his objects on a light table, photograph them with a digital camera, print a digital negative and then expose the paper with that negative. In some of his later images he would position the objects directly onto the sensitized paper. The result is these incredibly composed, sometimes deliberately sometimes by chance, images of ordinary objects, objects that are usually found in boxes all bunched together.

The images are 22 x 30 inches and are just beautiful to look at. In all his work I find a great sense of form, composition, and use of light. When looking at many contemporary photographers it’s nice to be able to see that people are still producing such incredible work within the parameters of traditional photography.

Aside from the elegance and overall beauty of the work, what seems to be imbedded in the prints is the dedication, time, and devotion required in order to create them. If you have ever spent time in a darkroom you may have an understanding of what it means to be in there hours and hours. At a certain point the image is all you are concerned with. I find Max’s work to contain that mystical sense of the darkroom.

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