“Quite often, I feel as if my soul is in the past and my mind is in the future. The vintage cameras and processes I use have a magical quality, which helps me to bring forth an indefinable depth of feeling and poetic structure in my photographs. My primary concern is that my art communicates both on a factual level, as well as on one of beauty and emotion.”
Luther Gerlach began his fascination with photography at an early age while traveling around the world with his anthropologist father. Over the last 30 years he has explored early photographic processes, concentrating on the processes used in the first fifty years of photography. Gerlach uses his extensive collection of antique cameras and lenses for his work, with a special focus on mammoth plate cameras. His passion for the last 15 years has been the wet plate collodion positive: ambrotypes and tintypes. Gerlach builds his own large format cameras, most recently The Griffiness 24” by 26”, in 2013.
Since 2001, Gerlach has done over 200 on-site demonstrations, lectures, and workshops in historical photographic processes at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu. He has also given demonstrations and lectures at Denver Museum of Art, Natural History Museum in Santa Barbara, Carne Santa Paula Museum, Palace of the Governor in Santa Fe, and Seattle Art Museum. He has appeared multiple times in the “Meet the Artist” Program at the Carnegie Museum. Gerlach has taught and lectured at Art Center, Pasadena, CA and Brooks Institute of Photography. He was the keynote speaker for Photo Arts Santa Fe 2003. Gerlach was invited to be a featured artist at the Alternative Photographic International Symposium in Santa Fe 2009.
Gerlach has led group workshops in various historical photographic processes across the United States and Europe, hosted by organizations such as Photographers Formulary. In Italy 2016, Gerlach organized a wet plate and salt print symposium alongside a complimentary workshop he led, featuring such luminary presenters as Weston Naef, curator emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum, and Michael Wilson, historical image collector and producer of the James Bond movies.
Gerlach’s work has been featured in numerous publications including View Camera, American Photographer, Shutterbug and Architectural Digest. His work is shown internationally and included in private, corporate, and museum collections including the private collection of Michelle Obama, the Michael Wilson Center of Photography, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and LACMA. Gerlach is Founding Director of Artist Incubator, an Artist-in-Residence in southern California offering artists a living stipend, generous materials funding, and access to cutting-edge technology.