It's time for another artist of the month, but we're taking it back in history this time around. I'd like to talk about an artist that is very important to me, that influenced me when I was a photography student. History knows him to be a man of many talents such as painting and drawing, but Frederick Sommer is most known for his photographic work.
Born in 1905 in Italy, Frederick Sommer found his way to America and into the hearts of over 50 museums nationwide. He was, and still is, a historical staple in the world of photography. I learned about his during my time at the Institute of Design. Sommer was in Chicago to speak to art students about his work. My class, along with the head of the photography department and eventually my mentor, Arthur Siegel, made our way over to the Art Institute to listen.
|Three Musicians (Smoke on Glass)- 1962|
At this point in my school career, I had really only learned the traditional ways to make pictures. You can follow a set of rules to become a successful photographer because that is what history shows us. However, while watching Sommer speak, I knew I was witnessing history unfold into more untraditional avenues. Sommer's rule-breaking, surreal, and innovative work influenced me so much that it changed the way I viewed photography. From that point on, I knew that my camera didn't have to hold my creative mind back. I could make it do what I wanted by forgetting my disciplines and abandoning tradition. Frederick Sommer created his own definition of art, which paved a path that I would soon follow.
|Lee Nevin- 1965|