Edward Gillum, who has had a camera in his hand practically all of his life, grew up in Paris, Illinois. This is where he began photographing the landscape, even if only from a small scale. In addition to photographing the midwestern landscape, he has done a considerable amount of commercial work.
Edward's career began in the late 1950's when he took a position with the U.O. Colson Company, a large advertising firm in Paris, where he designed, developed and did the production for calendars and national ad campaigns for leading corporations. During his years in the creative art field, his interest in photography continued to grow. He was always adding new cameras and lenses to his already large collection.
In the 1960's, Edward left the firm in Paris and headed for California, where he landed jobs with major motion picture art studios, and eventually was asked to come to work at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. It was while at Disney's that his interest in photographing the California landscape grew. His love for the great outdoors and the large format camera, and negative, turned his eye to the fine print for gallery exhibition.
After his tenure at Disney's, Gillum opened his own studio and spent many years doing wedding photography, product work, annual reports, corporate and architectural assignments, as well as portrait work for many top show business entertainers including album covers for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and work for Rick Nelson and the Rev. Billy Graham. In 1978 he joined forces with/and worked for Ronald Reagan on his presidential campaign.
Gillum, whose work resembles that of his mentor, the late Ansel Adams, turned from color photography to black and white because the medium gave him more control over the negative and print. "It was really Ansel Adams' work that turned me to black and white photography," Gillum said. "When I first met Ansel on the beach in Carmel, California in the early 1970's, and later saw some of his original prints at his home, a whole new interest in photography was created that excited me greatly. I was so inspired by his approach to the medium that there was no doubt that, with control and visualization, black and white could be superior to any other form. Color was pretty, but I got no satisfaction from it. I had to rely on color labs to do most of my printing. Their interpretation of my negative and the scene, as I visualized it, usually did not convey what I felt at the time of exposure. Black and white would promote my inner most creative thoughts, and the final printing in the darkroom confirmed my original emotions. I found that art and creativity were everywhere in the fine print. I continue to feel a tremendous exuberance every time I see a new negative or print in the developer. Rarely is my visualization of the scene, and my final print, a literal representation of the actual subject itself. When I am photographing, I immediately see in my mind's eye something quite different than how the subject may actually appear in reality."
Gillum studied Adams approach and his Zone System technique of exposure and development, and attended workshops both in Yosemite and as his home in Carmel, California. He grasped all the information he could, whenever he could. Many times it was on the telephone. "One thing about Ansel was that he always took the time to talk to you about photography," Gillum said. "He was truly one of a kind--a wonderful man with a great sense of humor and profound spirit."
Gillum works with all types of cameras and formats, but prefers 4x5 because of the clarity and detail he can get in the larger negatives, and the fact that he can control each negative separately, unlike roll film which has many exposures to the roll. However, in the past few years he has used a medium format, 120 roll camera, because with new modern film technology, and it's fine grain and structure, and the high quality fine grain developers, it is possible to get high resolution negatives which produce 16x20 prints equal to those of the 4x5.
Gillum, who is working more and more with still life subjects, and is always striving to expand his creative abilities, is currently working with new warmtone techniques in his printing, which enable him to express greater emotion, feeling and dimension to his fine prints. His prints, which are usually editions of 50 to 60, are available in 11x14 and 16x20. He also has produced a group of six or more large 20x24 prints of still lifes and landscapes to incorporate into new home designs in California. One client was so please with his work that they had a party with an unveiling of the six prints one by one. Gillum stated that, "this was really a very exciting evening when my work was displayed in their home for the first time".
Edward Gillum's work has been shown in both group and one man exhibits in the United States and in Europe for over 25 years. He has written numerous magazine articles on photographing the landscape, and has published two books, "The Magnificent Light" in 1983 (our of print), and more recently, "IMAGES: Expressive Moments From The Mind's Eye".
Gillum, who resides in Paris, has been photographing some of the eastern areas of the country, but still prefers the environment of the west, especially New Mexico and the adobe architecture. He continues to do some commercial work for California companies on a limited basis, but his fine art photography takes priority over the commercial work.
Gillum's graphic design ability was represented in the 1997 New Year's Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, when his original art concept ideas were adapted to the building and construction of a float depicting the Hollywood Chinese Theatre. The float won the Governor's Trophy.
Edward Gillum, has been represented by THE GERALD PETERS GALLERY and PHOTOGENESIS: Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe, New Mexico for more than 20 years, and continues to photograph, print and exhibit in galleries nationally.