Eric William Carroll / 2012

At the intersection of science, philosophy and the evolution of the photographic process, Eric William Carroll creates both a meditation on process and a quixotic quest for understanding.

The eighth Baum Award was presented to Eric William Carroll in 2009 under the curatorial supervision of Chuck Mobley of SF Camerawork.

Born and raised in the Midwest, Carroll began studying philosophy at Coe College before he received his Master in Fine Art for photography from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 2006. His body of work is metaphorically rich and explores the materiality and contemporary use of the medium. Carroll’s work in photography, science, and nature explores the differences of how we experience, represent, and organize the world. Through his photographs, installations, and performances, Carroll creates visual and emotional connections that span enormous distances in space and time.

"This Darkroom's Gone to Heaven", (Installation), 2012

“This Darkroom’s Gone to Heaven”, (Installation), 2012

When he received the Baum Award in 2012, Carroll described his work as an interest in, “organizing the universe through a purely visual language [using] a mixture of appropriated and original photographs.” He began his exploration of altering appropriated images during his project, Sunburned (2006-2007), when he collected rejected photographs of sunsets from one-hour photo shops and bleached them to create even more vivid colors. In his mind, doing this created a more realistic representation of the beauty and experience of a sunset.

As part of the exhibition for the 2012 Baum Award at SF Camerawork, Carroll re-created his installation titled, This Darkroom’s Gone to Heaven. The initial installment took place in 2006 at the University of Minnesota and each iteration was composed of a built-in-place darkroom, structured from plywood and Masonite, equipped with a revolving lightproof door. In the dull, red glow of the safelights were shadows of the contents, cast on silver gelatin prints–memories of technologies past.

"Plato's Home Movies", 2011

“Plato’s Home Movies”, 2011

Nature and science, as well as methodology and the photographic process influence Carroll’s work. In, Blue Lines of Woods (2010 to present), he explores the ever-changing moment when a photograph is taken. For this project, he utilizes the diazo printing process (or blue-line printing) to capture silhouetted tree shadows. The long exposure creates depth in the work, but also the idea that time is passing in each panel of blurry leaves. The blue-line process allows the works to fade and change over time; from the first moment they are exhibited in a gallery they will never be the same again, thus amplifying the fleeting nature of time and archival instability of the photographs.

All of Carroll’s ideas and work have merged in his recent science/art project entitled, G.U.T. Feelings, which explores the correlation of science and art through the scientific Grand Unified Theory (G.U.T.) that tries to merge the theories of the universe into a single system of understanding, much like his work tries to “organize the universe through a purely visual language.” In 2015, selections from this project were published in French newspaper Le Monde’s commemoration of the centennial of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Carroll’s work has been exhibited in numerous cities across the United States and internationally, including Fotohof in Salzburg, Austria; the Camera Club of New York; Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco; Aperture Foundation; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. He has participated in residencies at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire; Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco; and the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary in Moose Lake, Minnesota. As of 2016, Carroll lives in Minnesota and teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Credits – 2012 Baum Award

Host: SF Camerawork
Curator: Chuck Mobley
Jury: Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Professor Emeritus, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, UC Santa Barbara
Chuck Mobley, Executive Director, SF Camerawork
Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, Professor, Department of Native American Studies and Director C.N. Gorman Museum, UC Davis
Julian Cox, Founding Curator of Photography and Chief Curator at the de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Sean McFarland, artist, educator, and recipient of the 2009 Baum Award


Baum Award