Ken Rosenthal

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Missing Series

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A Dream Half Remembered Series

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Not Dark Yet Series

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Not Dark Yet Series

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Seen and Not Seen Series

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Seen and Not Seen Series

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A Dream Half Remembered Series

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Seen and Not Seen Series

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A Dream Half Remembered Series

                                                                                  All images are split toned silver gelatin prints on fibre paper, 16 x 20 inches

About the Artist

Embrace the Blur. That could be Los Angees born, Tuscon based photographer Ken Rosenthal’s motto. Where most of us generally try to reduce blurring, Rosenthal (b.1964) relies on it. His blur, however, is an expressive blur. It’s a blur that serves a purpose. Several purposes.

Rosenthal earned a BA in still photography at the University of Southern California and a MFA in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Almost from the beginning his work focused on…well, on the unfocused. His first series, entitled Seen and Not Seen, grew out a relatively innocuous experience. While thumbing through an old family photo album he had an epiphany almost all of us have experienced: the realization that the people in the old pictures could be almost anybody, or almost anybody’s relatives.

Rosenthal says that his familiarity with his extended family was based more on the images in the photo album than on actual experience. His memories of the people in the photographs were influenced as much or more by seeing the same photographs over and over than by any actual interaction with those people. He has described Seen and Not Seen as “a merging of the autobiographical and the universal.” By deliberately blurring the images, he has created a family album for everybody.

Although Rosenthal is a photographer, his role in theSeen and Not Seen series could be more accurately described as darkroom artist. He took actual old family photographs from his family photo album and re-photographed them with a medium-format camera. In the darkroom he created split-toned silver-gelatin prints from the negatives. All the prints were individually toned using multiple toners, selectively applying the toners…and sometimes applying bleach…with a brush.

The resulting images are gently ambiguous.

Artist Statement

Ken Rosenthal Interview

Ken Rosenthal Website

Posted by Carmelita Caruana

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