Joseph Bellows Gallery is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibition of work by George Schumacher - his first in over forty years. These original 4x5 Polaroid Land photographs, created from the late 1950’s to 1970, and drawn from the artist’s estate, represent a rare trove of pristine, exemplary prints.
Schumacher’s avid interest in photography was fortuitously enhanced and broadened by a happenstance meeting with Ansel Adams in the mid-1950s, and led to Schumacher’s participation in several of the Yosemite Workshops led by Adams. Adams thought so highly of his protégé’s work that he featured included his images in the 1963 publication: Polaroid Land Photography Manual. This technical handbook served to acquaint and instruct photographers on the creative use of this revolutionary new photographic process. It included works by Adams, as well as such early Polaroid practitioners as Paul Caponigro, Minor White, Marie Cosindas, Philippe Halsman and Schumacher.
|Two page spread from Ansel Adams’ Polaroid Land Photography Manual illustrating the work of George Schumacher (left) adjacent to Ansel Adams (right).
In the following letter, dated 1967, Ansel Adams writes to his friend Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid process, to introduce the work of George Schumacher.
Dr. E. H. Land, President Polaroid Corporation Cambridge, Mass. 02139 August 28th 1967 RE: Dr. George Schumacher Polaroid-Land Prints,
I take great pleasure in sending you herewith four albums of Polaroid Land prints by Dr. George Schumacher, of Turlock, California. He is a general practitioner and has for long demonstrated a deep interest in creative photography. I do not think he has had any training in art, other than attendance at several of my Yosemite Photography workshops. He has developed a deep interest in the Polaroid Land process. I am amazed at his productivity in view of the fact that he is an exceptionally busy doctor.
His work has always delighted me, but not until I saw the full scope of his work with Polaroid Land materials did I realize how remarkable it is. I requested he send me a set of prints which I wanted to send on to you (and others in Polaroid). Volumes I and II came complete. Several sets of prints (a few duplicates and variations) he sent along with them are so good that I felt they should be better protected - and I put them in 2 other albums (marked "mixed").
In my opinion, these prints represent the finest body of creative work in the Polaroid Land medium - in the black-and-white domains. He has an extraordinary "eye" and has worked out a most competent technique to manage great subtleties of mood and expression. Much of his work has been done in the Sierra; Yosemite and the Mining Town districts.
These are, of course, extremely valuable. I think it is important that you see them. Please circulate them as you see fit. Should any be of direct interest to Polaroid, I am sure Dr. Schumacher would cooperate. I am anxious to have some used in APERTURE (in the Polaroid advertisements).
I shall be greatly interested in your comments. cordially,
"Often as one explores an object or subject with macroscopic or even microscopic scrutiny, the beauty and meaning seen and felt deepens to a spiritual quality. One is thus led inexorably to a more humanistic philosophy; to a better and more compassionate understanding of one's fellow man which, especially in therapy, aids in seeing and understanding more fully the "self" within. Photography thus becomes a means to a richer fulfillment in life.
For me no other art medium so facilitates this integrity of seeing as photography. The Polaroid Land process, particularly, lends itself to this immediacy of visual discovery in that the completely expressive statement is "here and now"-uninterrupted by hours or days in darkroom work conventionally required from the initial exposure to the final image."
-George Schumacher, M.D.
All images: unique Polaroid Type 55 print, circa. 1960 3 ½ x 4 ½ in. (8.9 x 11.5 cm.)