Gary Schneider – genetic self-portrait

Poking around the net this morning as I watch it rain, again, even though the scientific weather man promised sun. How he gets to keep his job despited making mistakes in forecasting has me scratching my head. Thank goodness he isn’t a doctor. I am watching a CSI type science show and the showcased an MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging). That made me think about this photo lab job I had in Albany, New York with GE, where we processed film of the MRI experiments they were doing at the R&D center. I always wanted to share it with friends and it passed the question, was it art?

Gary Schneider has crossed that line. The Warehouse Gallery opened its first solo exhibition with work by Gary Schneider titled genetic self-portrait. The show included 55 photo-based works that Schneider produced when he was offered a chance to create a new body of work inspired by the Human Genome Project (HGP). The HGP, a scientific race to uncover the mysteries of DNA, began formally in the 1990s and was completed in 2003. During that period, Schneider was able to collaborate with a number of scientists and was given access to advanced imaging systems from electron microscopes to x-ray machines.
Photography is so science oriented. The chemicals, the math, ratios all speak to science before art.
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, who created the first permanent photograph with a camera obscura in 1827, was an inventor, not an artist. He aided the now more famous Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre with the creation of the daguerreotype, which was unveiled in 1839. William Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of negative/positive photography back in the 1830s, was a leading authority on optics and theoretical mathematics.The relationship between art and science in photography has endured. Take Harold Edgerton, who always insisted his now famous high-speed pictures were not art. But people decide for themselves and some of his images, like “Milkdrop Coronet” (1957), are collected and shown simply for their beauty, not for the advances they made in making new things visible to the eye.
Gary Schneider pen light light technique style is stark, sometimes grotesque. He has spoken of trying to get beyond the mask, a kind of posed face, that people offer to the camera.
Is it art?

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