James Sedwick

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November 2016 Exhibition link

A collection of photographs by James Sedwick will be featured at the East Aurora Co-Op Cafe gallery (591 Main Street) in conjunction with the Fall East Aurora ArtWalk September 27, 4-9pm and will contiue on view through the fall season.

The works are elegant black and white archival pigment prints from two of Sedwick's photographic series: Water and Botanical.

James Sedwick (American, 1946-), a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo, retired from the practice of psychotherapy in 2015. He lives in South Wales, N.Y. He has photographed since high school and shows his work with the Buffalo Society of Artists, Artists Group Gallery, and Meibohm Fine Arts (where his work can be viewed). In addition, his photographs have appeared in The Sun and Orion magazines, the journals Steam Ticket, LensWork Extended 99, Looking at Images (LensWork Publishing), and have been included in  private and public collections. He studied with Andrea Modica, Keith Carter, and Dennis Stock. Although he photographs with a digital camera, he prefers to print black and  white images in the darkroom with palladium chemistry. G.K. Chesterton’s statement informs his work: The function of the imagination is not to make strange things settled but to make settled things strange.


Growing up in a Pennsylvania countryside, much of my childhood play was in and around water: Lake Erie, Edinboro Lake, and the streams on the land where I lived. Those pleasures of seeing water continued into my 55 years of making photographs. After 40 years of film photography, I made the transition to digitally recording images, and my first venture with a fine camera was along the stream in my South Wales backyard. The process of digitally recording light gave me freedom to experiment with the camera’s capabilities and permit quick evaluation of the images--within moments I could return again and again to see the fleeting changes in a portion of water. Beyond the memories, the colors, lines, and shapes in the images fascinated me. The first water photograph that I made with my digital camera was Water, Light #6, an image that reminded me of a constantly changing being that I called Proteus.


Being a lover of gardens, especially those with water, about 10 years ago I made many visits to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens with the camera as a tool for mindfulness and contemplation. In contrast to my Water, Light photographs, which required experimentation in the making of hundreds of images, at the gardens I wanted to bring plants, water, shadows, reflections, and surroundings into an image that went beyond my usual way of seeing the subject centered within the camera frame--I increased the complexity of the compositions. Perhaps this is a reflection of gardening itself, to make order out of what seems like chaos.


With photography, two approaches occur to me: I want to see what things in the world look like photographed (to paraphrase Garry Winogrand), and I want to make images that prompt associations to the spirit. Almost 10 years ago I began photographing Amaryllis plants grown from bulbs in our home, the flowering and photography welcome during winter and holidays. The photographs were made because I was (and continue to be) in awe of the beauty of this plant and the spiritual refreshment it gives; and, indeed, I wanted to see what it looked like photographed.

How the images are prepared for others to view is more important to me than the equipment I use to record the light. Working in the darkroom with chemistry, in particular, making black and white images with the Ziatype process, the printing out of an image with palladium metal on heavy rag paper, produces matte images that include all the vagaries of a hand process.

Process: These photographs were made in a darkroom by contact-printing a film negative the size of the image on a sheet of rag paper sensitized with lithium chloropalladite and ferric ammonium oxalate. Exposure to ultraviolet light produces an image formed of palladium metal particles embedded in the paper surface, a printing-out process called Ziatype. Several washings, drying and pressing produce the finished photograph.

Recent Selected Exhibitions:

2016- "The Amaryllis in Palladium", (solo), Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY.

2015- "Tears of Things: Photographs", (solo), TGW@497 Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

2014- "Mirrored: Artists' Self-Portraits From the Gerald Mead Collection", Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Gallery, Daemen College, Amherst, NY.

2014- "Buffalo Society of Artists Spring Show", Third Prize, Juror: Anne Welles, Director, Exhibit A Gallery, Corning, NY.

2013- "Buffalo Society of Artists 117th Catalogue Exhibition", Bronze Medal Award, Juror: George Afedzi Hughes, Professor of Art, SUNY at Buffalo, Lockport, NY.

2012- "21st Annual Regional Artists Exhibition", WNY Artists Group, Honorable Mention, Juror: Anthony Bannon, Director, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

2011- “Trilogies XXII: The Work of Three Artists”, WNY Artists Group/Art Dialogue Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

2011- “Buffalo Society of Artists Spring Show”, Past Presidents’ Award, Juror: Melissa Bennett, Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Buffalo, NY.

2011- “Photographs of the Gardens” (Solo show), Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Buffalo, NY.

2010- “14th Annual Juried Members Exhibition”, WNY Artists Group, Nova Photography Award, Juror: Ted Pietrzak, Director, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

2009- “Buffalo Society of Artists 113th Fall Catalogue Show”, Peter J. Heffley Award, Juror: Gregory Wittkopp, Director, Cranbrook Art Museum, Lockport, NY.

(Source: The artist.)