That Old Black and White Magic by Carol Golemboski

Issue 75

Photography and magic are natural companions. Stage magicians have traditionally relied upon misdirection, trickery and sleight of hand. Photography, the only medium with a reputation for recording “truth,” is also notorious for its ability to deceive. In That Old Black and White Magic the photographer is a magician, a performer who creates tricks behind the curtain of the darkroom. Sometimes the illusions occur in camera, but more frequently they are conjured in the printing process, where photography is combined with drawing, and photograms question the veracity of the image itself.

While these pictures rely on darkness, mystery and metaphor, they are also, in part, an ode to the darkroom. For anyone who has ever marveled at an image “magically” appearing in the developer, the photographs in this series recall an era that is disappearing into thin air. Here vintage props of clichéd magic tricks combine with photographic ploys to pull the wool over the viewer’s eyes. The images, however, represent more than wistfulness for vanishing photographic techniques. They suggest that the fading magic of the darkroom still has the power to create a potent blend of wonder, curiosity, tension and amazement.

Carol Golemboski lives and works in Denver, Colorado.
To view more of Carol's view, please visit her website.

 Hat Trick #2

Hat Trick #2

 Match Print

Match Print

 Birthday

Birthday

 Trap Door

Trap Door

 Joker

Joker

 The Smoking Gun

The Smoking Gun

 The Incredible Aging Woman

The Incredible Aging Woman

 The Dummy

The Dummy

 The Disembodied Leg

The Disembodied Leg

 Hat Trick #1

Hat Trick #1

 Disappearing Act

Disappearing Act

 Target Girl

Target Girl

 Tromp l'Oeuf

Tromp l'Oeuf

 Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts

 Sawing a Woman in Half

Sawing a Woman in Half

 Parlor Tricks

Parlor Tricks