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Modern Daguerreotypes
Curtis Wehrfritz

January 27 – April 22, 2012
Artist's Talk and Reception: March 30, 6:00-8:00pm
Student Seminar: Thursday, March 29 at 11:00am (Photography School Lecture Theater, Bldg. 530, Rm. 118)

Curtis Wehrfritz
Raven Heart

“The series of work, entitled ‘Fluidrive’ is focused on the use of ritual. I am interested in a lyric image that can be revisited by the viewer in the way one re-visits the feelings created in a song or prose. The daguerreotype is kind of a reliquary that you can hold in your hands and use like a prayer box. The fact that these "mirrors" last forever and have the ability to render subjects almost as a hologram puts us in a discussion with our own memories.” —Curtis Wehrfritz


Work in the Fluidrive series spans over six years and is concerned with forms of lyrical and allegorical story-telling. Wehrfritz’s daguerreotype images are very much concerned with an overt theatricality and an implied narrative structure in the events, scenes and characters that are depicted.


There is a blind spot that I keep trying to describe. It lies behind the eye and I can never really describe it in words. Imagine feeling your way around a strange house in the dead of night when you know someone is there with a cat that is motionless and watching you. Somerset Maugham says: “hope is a tiger, crouched eternal”. Photography and film have this sense of life, clear and present and yet harnessed in a fixed pose.

My photo based work seeks to create touchstones to an inner story. Through this I have become fascinated by the idea that image making mimics the mechanics of the eyes. We use light to create elaborate puppet shows to be able to make simulated experiences of light. In 170 years the use of optics and their records have become the modern backbone of our recorded perception. The development of early Daguerreotypes, moving picture and finally digital recordings have formed a strange concoction of pulleys and levers that continue to mimic the methods of perception of the human brain.

The medium of light uses science to create experiences that otherwise exist in a blind spot. Art seeks to counsel us on things that seem to elude science. It uses the concrete to sing about the ethereal. Science basks in its rational self and reluctantly brings forth the shadow. As a filmmaker I track the use of the science to make my images and continue to reach for the voice for the stories I am telling.

The modern daguerreotype plays on the history of the photograph and has the power to re-engage the audience in a dialogue about images. The use of vernacular, lyric and theater has been strangely absent in fine art photography in recent years and I think they never stopped being relevant. The images play on "momento mori" which translates as "remember you die". I use a process of drawing and painting by casting and constructing story elements. The fact that these "mirrors" last forever and have the ability to render subjects almost as a hologram put us in a discussion with our own loss
.” —Curtis Wehrfritz
    Curtis Wehrfritz


Curtis Wehrfritz is a photographer, film maker and cinematographer based in Toronto, Canada. His education, experience and career have been principally in the world of video and cinema with a number of awards, accomplishments and major achievements to his credit including a Canadian JUNO award (equivalent to a Grammy award) for his video work with Leonard Cohen. Other video awards include two Best Director awards at MuchMusic and eight other distinctions for music videos. Wehrfritz’s feature film “Four Days” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was distributed internationally. His short films have been shown in the NYC Independent Film Festival and in film festivals in the UK.

In recent years Wehrfritz has moved his career into visual art, live performance and theatrical art and installations. The daguerreotype work started as a form of unique documentation for these performances. His interest in the historical form of daguerreotypes was initiated during a three-year apprenticeship with Mike Robinson and with the construction of one of the few working daguerreotype labs in the world. Wehrfritz’s photography has been exhibited internationally including at Contact Photography, the London Photographic Awards, FotoFest Houston, 23 Sandy Gallery, Red Line Gallery, and BilbaoArte, Urazurrutia, Bilbao.

All images are daguerreotypes.

Click HERE for On View Magazine Cover Story featuring this exhibition.
Click HERE for press articles and official website.

Curtis Wehrfritz Curtis Wehrfritz
Curtis Wehrfritz
Dexter - As Above, So Below He Speaks With The Raven As A Man Andrea - As Above, So Below

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