Alan Dehmer

By nature I’m inclined to alchemy mixing, stirring and altering matter. Creating something from something else. I don’t think there’s a higher purpose in life than to create. My work is the result of engaging two related art forms: photography and printmaking. Both are about image making and both involve time. A photograph represents a moment in time; whereas, a finished gum print happens slowly, one layer at a time, often taking weeks to create. When finished, it becomes layered not only in pigments but also in a new kind of time. One that seems to carry an archetypal quality, like dreams. I am drawn to bodies of water and to our interactions with the forces of the deep, the dark, the mysterious. Life beyond what we see with our eyes. Like a roll of film in the dark of a camera awaiting the push of the shutter button. Awaiting revelation. 

Alan Dehmer is a fine art photographer and a founding member of the FRANK Gallery. For two decades Mr. Dehmer has focused on hand-made and alternative printing processes, including cyanotypes, wetplate, and albumin prints. He is a master gummist – an expert on gum bichromate photography, his passion. He is a guest lecturer at NC State University on the history of photography as an art form – its close relationship with painting and technology, and taught photography for years Duke University’s Craft Center and the Durham School of the Arts. Previously he worked as a photojournalist in Washington, DC, Europe, north Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa for publications including Africa Report, the Christian Science Monitor, and Time Magazine. For the past 25 years he has served as the photographer for Manbites Dog Theater Company in Durham. He is author of Place, Impermanence, Memory: Gum Bichromate Photography (2011), and has published on politics and religion, immigration, and cultural history.