The University of North Florida Art Gallery has brought the photography work of Dan Estabrook to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Jacksonville for an exhibition lasting from January 22 until March 14. The aim of the exhibition is to place an emphasis on the past methods of printmaking. The exhibition is currently showcasing over 20 pieces created by Estabrook over the course of his 20 year career.
The old-fashioned printmaking methods used by Estabrook help to capture the more retro techniques that can be utilized with photography. For instance, the salt print technique he uses for several pieces was derived in the early 19th century and was used to make the first photographs viewable in normal light. A notable piece that Estabrook uses this technique in is called "Your Braid", which depicts a woman's braided hair as seen from her back. The photograph depicts an image as simple as the technique used to create it.
Estabrook further displays his 1800s printmaking abilities by using the albumen printing technique to create photographs with glossy surfaces and deeper tones than salt prints, as seen in his photograph, "Rose". Once again, the image of a rose is a simple one, yet it complements the simple methods used by the artist to create the print.
This is not to say that all of Estabrook's pieces are easily deciphered. His piece "Nine Symptoms" is actually comprised of nine separate photographs that were all first created using the salt print technique. After this, the artist proceeded to add ink and watercolor to each photograph to make them more vivid and detailed. The end result is a collection of separate photographs that come together to create a complex opus that describes the human condition.
Estabrook's exhibition at MOCA is one that shouldn't be missed by those looking to appreciate the early stages of photography. "It's refreshing to see photography that deviates from the digital technology that's become the new norm," said Benson Hughes, 21, a San Marco resident attracted to the exhibition by its singularity. Estabrook brings life and originality to printmaking processes that have long since been discontinued in the face of technological advancements. Estabrook will discuss his work at 6 p.m. in the MOCA Auditorium on February 25. The lecture is free and open to the public.