JACK A. GILBERT,
123 Edward Street
friends and family:
“Exploring Photography in the Digital Age”
An exhibition of my photographs and photographic art
will be shown at the Robert Mede Gallery, located at 321 Davenport Road,
Upper Level, Toronto, on Thursday, April 24, 2003. The opening on the 24th is from
5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m and the show will run through Sunday, May 4th. (I’ll be at the Gallery on the Saturdays and
the show will be donated to the Make-a -Wish Foundation of Toronto, in memory
of my late brother, Lou and brother-in-law, Perry Sherman.
Now for some
background on my first public show. My
father was a Master Photographer who opened a photographic studio on Queen
Street, Toronto in the early 1920's. My
brother, Al Gilbert, O.C., continued in my father’s footsteps and is regarded
as one of the world’s leading portrait photographers. Al will open the show. My parents decided that one of their children
had to be a doctor, lawyer or dentist and I, by default, chose law and it has
been an exciting and rewarding career. I retired from practicing law in 1994
after 41 years but have remained active
in several entrepreneurial pursuits.
Throughout my professional career I maintained an
interest in photography but it was only in the past 5 years when I recognized
that the combination of a digital camera, computer, and tabletop printer,
represented a revolution in photography.
The move from the chemical darkroom to the “digital” darkroom was well
on its way and I joined it with a passion.
At a recent convention of the Professional
Photographers of America which I attended as a guest of Al, who was one of the
keynote speakers, it was made clear to the assembled professional photographers
from all over the continent that those who did not wake up and recognize the
“digital” writing on the wall would shortly be left behind.
What is meant by “digital”?
Here’s the basic concept: Digital means
using numbers to represent something, and that’s exactly what a computer
does. An image captured by a digital
camera is converted into numerical data (a long string of ones and zeros) that
describe or quantify each sample point or “pixel” (short for picture element,
the basic unit of image information) in terms of certain attributes such as
colour and intensity. This data can be
stored manipulated and ultimately transformed in the computer and with desktop
digital printing technologies back into a normally viewed image.
I have been asked: If this is a digital print, where
is the original? Well, with traditional
photography, the negative or transparency is the physical master or “matrix”
for making repeatable prints in the chemical darkroom. Digital fine art printing is different. There is no physical matrix. The
matrix now sits in the computer in the form of digital data that can be
converted repeatedly into a print by anyone who self prints.
Here is a quick historical overview of photography and
the field of image capture and production.
For pioneering days we have to go back to Louis
Daguerre (1839) who produced the first fixed photographs. These were of course black and white. Real colour photography didn’t actually begin
until 1935 when Kodak launched its famous Kodachrome transparency film,
followed in 1939 by Agfa with the first paper for printing from colour
negatives. Now we have the revolutionary
third major print category, digital prints resulting from a digital master or
The digital wave has definitely broken over the
photographic/image making field, and most photographers are riding it (they’ll
drown if they don’t). Some say that the
digital revolution is as important as the invention of colour photography, even
So what about acceptance? A watershed event marking the world’s
acceptance of “digital” was the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Exhibition in
March 2001. “Exploring the Importance of
Digital Technology on American Art”. It
was followed quickly by the Brooklyn Museum of Art which staged
“Digital-Printmaking Now”. The second
largest art museum in the U.S. had now put its huge stamp of approval on
digitally created photography/photographic art.
But what about the original digital
prints you will see at this show. My
hand lies heavily on all of the steps in the making of the prints. Using a digital camera, heavy duty computer,
a host of image-editing software (principally Photoshop, the worldwide
standard), a remarkable Epson 2200 printer, I maintain a personal and intense
relationship with the image as I guide it through the various stages of
creation, manipulation and printing. The
aesthetic decisions are all mine. The
camera, computer and printer are just my tools supplanting the smelly chemical
darkroom of the past.
I plan to limit the production of each print to a
maximum of ten with each print being an original. All my photos have a story to tell, but I
would rather leave the initial interpretation to the viewer.
It is my hope that you enjoy my first public show.
Thanks are due to the following for their
encouragement and sponsorship.
Al Gilbert, O.C. (Gilbert Studios Ltd.)
Ina Gilbert (my wife and a consummate fine art digital
Joey & Toby Tanenbaum
Harvey & Elise Kalles (Harvey Kalles Real Estate
Sidney & Janice Ackerman (Ontario Paint &
Edward L. Greenspan, Q.C.
Fogler Rubinoff LLP
First Associates Investments Inc.
And to Robert Mede of The Robert Mede Gallery
who has graciously waived the usual gallery
brief background on The Robert Mede Gallery
Located in the Designers Walk area of Toronto, The
Robert Mede Gallery was opened in 1995.
A second-generation art dealer, Robert Mede took over his late father’s
Montreal-based business in 1993 and moved the company to Toronto. The Gallery specializes in 19th
and 20th century oils, watercolours, and sculpture, with emphasis on
European art. The Gallery is also known
as the leading expert in 19th and 20th century bronzes in
The Make-A-Wish Foundation
is the largest wish-granting organization in the world,
with affiliates in 25 countries. It
exists for one purpose - to fulfill the special wishes of children who have
been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.