At 75 years old, Charles Swedlund, who was schooled at Chicago’s fabled Institute of Design, has decided to open up for public view his vast archive of black-and-white experimental photography that he had kept to himself through more than fifty years of persistent shooting that ranged over countless genres—each of which he bent in new directions—and subjects. Faced with the problem of taming this overflowing visual cornucopia, the gallery selected for its first Swedlund show sixty-four works done in and around 1955, dividing them into groups including dense and intricate multiple exposures, action shots of firefighters, ice abstractions, swampscapes of Okenfenokee, cityscapes of Chicago and urban night scenes. Through all his diverse output, Swedlund shows himself to be a quintessential I.D. disciple, dedicated to technical care and precision harnessed to disciplined imagination aimed at seeing the world around us through what is revealed distinctively by the photograph. Swedlund’s most original and powerful grouping contains multiple exposures of water towers that have been isolated in a neutral visual field to produce crisp and sharply delineated intriguing dynamic and fanciful studies, as when a tower becomes a trash receptacle for its inverted topsy-turvy image. (Michael Weinstein)
Through June 25 at Stephen Daiter Gallery, 230 West Superior.