Saturday, August 24, 2019

Joseph Podlesnik's Phenomenal Photography

Photograph © Joseph Podlesnik 2019
An Arizona-based friend and artist Joseph Podlesnik recently sent me a visual metamorphosis, the stages in the development of chair design. I thought it was appropriate because Joe himself is a metamorphosis, albeit not one you should sit on.

This fall he is teaching an online course in photography for Cornell University, his graduate alma mater. When I first met him forty-plus years ago, he was an undergraduate in painting and drawing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and admired for his skillfulness at drawing from life. His drawings were astonishing because they were so “true” to immediate sight, and yet they appeared to have happened effortlessly.

Here is a favorite self-portrait I’ve posted before. He does look squiggly in real life—but not that much.

Some years later, he began to make short films about his family, that relied on those same virtues of looseness entwined with precision. In recent years, he has evolved into photography. But not just photography, but Joe Podlesnik photographs.

A recent one (for which he received a prize in a nationwide competition) is shown above. But I am also reminded that in 2016, two years before my retirement, my students designed a series of posters, called Almost Seeing, about the photographs he was making then.

For more, see his website here.