Photography and magic are natural companions. Stage magicians have traditionally relied upon misdirection, trickery and sleight of hand. Photography, the only medium with a reputation for recording “truth,” is also notorious for its ability to deceive. In this project, the photographer is a magician, a performer who creates tricks behind the curtain of the darkroom. Sometimes the illusions occur in camera, but more frequently they are conjured in the printing process, where photography is combined with drawing, and photograms question the veracity of the image itself. In a digital age where viewers are primed to expect image manipulation, the traditional silver print still has a mystique that masks its potential for deception.
Many of these photographs are superficially whimsical, with an undercurrent of mischief or even malevolence. Magicians are illusionists who hoodwink their audience through charm, skill and bravado. Likewise, these pictures are designed to seduce the viewer with visual depth and complexity. Photograms appear in concert with the scenes, drawing attention away from the fact that they were added in the darkroom. The hands of the magician, which often manifest as cartoon-like illustrations, seem to be controlling and manipulating actual objects. In the context of these images, drawn hands and dotted lines make sense; they encourage the viewer to suspend disbelief.
Carol Golemboski uses antiquated objects as metaphors in carefully staged scenes. Her creative process, defined by the use of black and white film and darkroom printing, combines photography, drawing and photograms in ambiguous and provocative ways.
Golemboski has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including first prize in the 2007 Project Competition from Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and individual artist fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Light Work and the Saltonstall Foundation. Her interactive artist’s book for the iPad, “Psychometry” won the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Award for “Outstanding eBook Achievement.” Flash Powder Projects published a monograph of the same series, also titled “Psychometry,” in 2016. Golemboski’s images have been published internationally and can be found in permanent collections such as the George Eastman Museum, the Denver Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. She is a Professor of Photography at the University of Colorado Denver.