The first image I chose by Jerry Uelsmann was a tree hovering over a small body of water surrounded by woods. The lake which the tree hovered over is like one you would find up in New Hampshire, very calm and quiet surrounded by trees which line the bank. There are no houses though, not even on the horizon instead there are mountains off in the distance and another tree far off in the sky hovering over the mountains much like the tree over the water. Of course the tree off in the horizon is just as symmetrical to the mountains as the close up tree is symmetrical to the lake. It is not just a tree though. There is land around the tree that it is planted into that hovers over the water too. The land around the tree is straight grass about the circumference of the shadow the trees leaves would cast if the sun were directly about the tree. The tree is thick and full of leaves but the colors are all blends of black and white. The reflection under the tree looks like the columns of the coliseum from back when the ancient Greeks used to feed men to each other. The whole image shook me because of the display of the defiance of gravity and not that there was an object hovering but in fact a piece of earth. The tree isn’t rooted into the earth but it looks even as though it hovers a foot or two over it. From top to bottom the image has the hovering tree full of leaves and its dangling roots close to touching the patch of earth just wide enough to hold the shadow of the tree if there were one. Then the reflection on top of the glassy calm water that doesn’t look like the reflection of the bottom of the patch of earth, instead looks like the Greek coliseum columns. But off in the horizon where the pale white/grey sky meets the mountain tops off in the distance there is the exact same image of the exact same tree hovering off in the distance. There is no water under the tree but it is smaller, more symmetrically fit to be off in the horizon. It has the same roots; the same full thick head of leaves like the top of a piece of broccoli, minus the green because it’s in black and white. The fact that the tree and the other tree and the body of water with the landscape to fit the obscure images all looks so real, make me feel like that is a picture out of another world. The world looks like a gloomy dream with no gravity and no people, just earth. Although it seems gloomy and eerie, if I could, I would go there and sit under the tree and pull one of the roots to see if the tree would come down or if it were stuck at that height by some undefined new world of gravity. So pretty much the defiance of gravity with a realistic image is what draws my close attention to Jerry Uelsmann’s images.
I actually decided to choose two of Jerry Uelsmann’s images because there are all so good and look like you can write about them because they attract my attention more than any of the other artists. The other image I decided to write about (even though I might have to narrow it down to one) is a picture of a small wooden row boat with no paddles hovering about the bottom of a waterfall where the falling water meets the body it is pouring into. The boat is sitting there all still and not moving while everything else in the image is all moving water. The water at the top of the waterfall looks as though it is swirling around and around waiting to drop and the streams of water that are actually in mid-fall captured by Uelsmann look amazing because they are so bright and straight. The water looks like a beautiful woman’s hair evenly spaced out as though she just brought her head out of water and it’s dripping down her hair. Towards the bottom of the fall however, there looks like there is a mist of water forming from the water falling but it does not make the picture look blurry nor is it even covering the small row boat with no oars. Instead it looks like a controlled mist that would hit your face evenly and feel awesome. Though this image is in black and white as well, it looks like a beautiful place to put yourself, like a place you would be in your dreams. In fact, that is exactly what both of these images put me in mind of, dreams. These places look eerie enough so that you wouldn’t be surprised if something terrible happens there or even something beautiful. Uelsmann kind of leaves it up to us to fill in what we would envision filling the landscape. Unlike the first image, this one has something at least made my man in it. The boat with the oars sitting in it were made by man but that could either be a heck of a date spot to sit in a hovering rowboat and eat dinner at the bottom of a beautiful water fall or a nasty ghost could stick her “Ring” looking face out at you and could be haunting the place where she died some hundred years earlier and she’s just pissed because she didn’t see the waterfall at the end of the pond above. So what really catches me in both images is the defiance of gravity, definitely the eye catcher and then the uniqueness of the images and how beautiful and real all the landscape looks is fascinating and moving. Then when you think about it more and more you think to yourself that you would either be petrified to wake up on that hovering patch of land or that abandoned row boat or you may say to yourself hey that looks crazy imagine if that really happened.