Jaromir J. Stephany
Born: Rochester, N.Y. March 23, 1930
Died: Severna Park, MD April 14, 2010
Although Mr. Stephany was an army photographer in the early 1950's, he did not view photography as an art form until he studied photography and photographic illustration with Ralph Hattersly and Minor White at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1958. Mr. Stephany's first attempt at painting on film and printing on light-sensitive paper was done under the guidance of Minor White, and it was he who suggested that Mr. Stephany go to Indiana University to study with Henry Holmes Smith, since Smith was known to experiment with photographic processes and was an innovator in the realm of abstract photography, Mr. Stephany obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University in 1960. Mr. Stephany's experiences with White and Smith reinforced his belief that: 1) a photograph should combine precise, technical mastery with personal, individual creative expression; and 2) that the pictorialized image need not be camera-made to be a symbolic form.
For two decades after completing his degree at Indiana, Mr. Stephany diligently and capably applied himself in the role of photographic educator. From 1961 to 1966, Mr. Stephany's knowledge of the history of photography was strengthened by two simultaneous jobs: he was co-lecturer with Beaumont Newhall on the history of photography at Rochester Institute of Technology; and he was on the staff at George Eastman House (Now the International Museum of Photography), where he catalogued countless photographs. In 1966 he joined the Department of Photography and Film at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore City as instructor on photographic history and film. In 1973, Mr. Stephany left Maryland Institute to join the faculty at the University of Maryland Baltimore County as Associate Professor of Photography. While at UMBC, Mr. Stephany helped to build a major amount of photgraphic materials in the Special Collections Department of the Albin O. Kuhn Library. Mr. Stephany has also lectured on numerous occasions on the different facets of photography and film at various institutions in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Delaware as part of the Smithsonian Institute's Associate Program. From 1977 to 1978 he researched and created an eight-part television series titled "The Developing Image" on the history and esthetics of photography.
From the 1980's up until his retirement, Mr. Stephany continued his pursuit of the issues and ideas which matter to him most. In 1989 Mr. Stephany had an exhibition at UMBC's Albin O. Kuhn Library, titled "Messages to the Cosmos" which arose from his life-long fascination with science fiction. This unique show which presented how aliens might react to us was created on large cibachrome prints, using multiple exposures and displayed in a grid arrangement. Once entirely done in the darkroom on black and white film, Mr. Stephany's work has now evolved to incorporate many different techniques including digitally produced prints.
Up until the time of his death, Mr. Stephany was continuing to find more ways of advancing the techniques used to produce cliche verre prints far beyond his predecessors and teachers such as Minor White and Henry Homes Smith. In his last series of prints entitled "Dark Music" the process which he perfected is illustrated perfectly through a series of prints which were inspired by the music of composer Anton Bruckner.
- Cliche-Verre: Hand-Drawn, Light Painted, A Survey of the Medium from 1839 to the Present, by Elizabeth Glassman and Marilyn F. Symmes. Detroit Institute of Arts, Publisher, 1980, Catalog.
- Space is the Place, by Megan Hamilton, Baltimore City Paper, December 29, 1989.
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