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UWM’s Academic Adventurers: “From Silver Crystals to Landscape Pixels”

February 9 @ 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Image by Joseph MougelPresented by Joseph Mougel, Associate Professor, Photography & Imaging, Peck School of the Arts, UWM.

In his artwork Joseph Mougel examines his own identity as a first generation American and a former Marine through still imagery, sound, video, and installation, where conventions of the traditional photograph persist.

About his current project, he writes:

No longer do we traverse mountains peaks or ford canyon rivers. Instead, our
understanding of place is layered with historical and personal accounts, qualitative
and quantitative assessment of resources, natural and arbitrary boundaries, and
objective and interpretive visual imagery.

From Silver Crystals to Landscape Pixels utilizes a positive photographic process to create new landscape imagery based on historical photographs of the American West, reinterpreted through satellite imagery and digital capture methodologies. Within a darkroom practice, I developed alternative techniques for producing work that merges contemporary image display with a 19th-century process to produce pictures on glass plates, or ambrotypes.

The comparisons between places photographed over 100 years ago and their current portrayal in screen-based media affords me the opportunity to bring the world into the darkroom. Through referencing landscape images, I identify the locations of early USGS visual accounts. Within this survey of virtual landscapes, I capture views that reference the historical images and edit them to be exposed from an iPad onto a glass plate.

This photographic research adapts an antiquated image-making approach by using current technological modes of capture to create new art objects that reference topographical and pictorial sources. The results of my research provide a viable way to create images directly from digital sources with traditional darkroom materials, providing a conceptual parallel to the screen-based manner in which imagery is consumed today.

Mougel received an MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico, where he also studied video and interactive media and participated in the immersive post-studio program Land Arts of the American West.

He has exhibited and lectured about his artistic practice both nationally and internationally, with examples of his work featured in such publications as Art Takes MiamiARTL!ES MagazineArt Papers, and After Image, as well as in books, including The Contact Sheet, Land Arts of the American West, and The End of California.

Academic Adventurers talks begin at 3 p.m. in the American Geographical Society Library, third floor, east wing of the Golda Meir Library.

A reception with light refreshments, sponsored by the Friends of the Golda Meir Library, follows each talk.


February 9
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM