Peter Miller. Wayfinding. Photogravure etchings
4.12.2013 – 26.01. 2014
The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography is pleased to present Wayfinding, a collection of photogravure etchings by Peter Miller, which will take place at the Small Hall of the Lumiere Center. Peter Miller is one of the few practitioners of the photogravure process today. In this process, a photographic image is made by printing from a photochemically etched metal plate. With the photogravure technique, a resist is exposed with ultra-violet light through a positive transparency and an aquatint screen, creating a transfer of the positive image to copper plate by etching, coloring the plate and printing the image with a hand-operated printing machine.
Peter Miller was born in 1945 in Pittsburg (Pennsylvania, USA). As a child, he explored the city with his primitive box camera, attracted by steel mills, streetcars, snowscapes, ethnic neighborhoods, rivers, and bridges. At Columbia and Berkeley in the 1960s and 1970s, he studied sociology, emerging from the latter with a Ph.D. and worked as a consultant for the government and industry. An assignment for Honda took him to Japan, where he stayed after meeting a Japanese girl who became his wife. In Japan, continuing his photographic work, he joined the Japan Alpine Photographers Association as its first foreign member. Peter Miller calls year 1989 a turning point in his photographic career. After seeing the 19th-century photogravures of Peter Henry Emerson in New York, he returned to Japan and built a workshop, acquired an etching press, a vacuum-frame ultraviolet light source, and a long list of the chemicals and materials required for photogravure etching. He started experimenting with no teacher, relying only on old books and articles.
In response to the question — 'Why do you go to all this trouble?' — Peter Miller suggests that photogravures are true works of art expanding reality and enhancing perception. Graphic and pictorial effects achieved by the method of photogravure etching clear the image of documentary details and render to it integrity and artistic quality.
The exhibition includes 50 Peter Miller's landscape images: river currents and waves, mists, trees, snow-clad peaks, pathways and traditional Japanese villages with their inhabitants.
In the course of the last 12 years, Peter Miller has published 300 editions of photogravure etchings. His prints are in the collections of the Kamakura Museum of Modern Art (Japan), the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian (Washington, D.C., USA), the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C., USA), the Fine Arts Museum of Houston (USA), the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Musée Jenisch (Vevey, Switzerland), and many other public and private collections. In recognition of his accomplishments in the arts, he was elected a Member of the Cosmos Club in Washington DC in 2011. Since 1991, he has held more than 30 exhibits in Japan, the United States, England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia.