Fred Ressler

Fred Ressler has never been interested in acquiring the institutional pedigree of most contemporary artists. He does not participate in the “art world,” and in fact has only recently been “discovered” by the “outsider art” community. Yet in some ways Ressler’s work most purely embodies the spirit of this exhibition. As opposed to nineteenth-century spirit photographers who self-consciously staged their ghostly images in order to prove pre-existing beliefs, Ressler is a kind of hunter of local apparitions who allows the spirits to come to him. Strolling through his rural Florida neighborhood, a presence will make itself known when light and shadow cohere into a recognizable visage. Utilizing the material and mechanical characteristics of photography—perspective, framing, focus, and contrast—Ressler transforms these shimmering and elusive apparitions into delicately laced icons. From Bob Dylan to Albert Einstein, from long lost friends to Modigliani’s mistress, Ressler’s images capture ephemeral visitations both of personal origin and those that represent a larger cultural symbology.

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Fred Ressler
Dan Doloff, 1995
Shadow Photograph
Black & White
8 x 12 inches
Courtesy of the artist