Photography is Lee Dunkelís chosen medium for creating art. Lauded by critics for its uncompromising consistency and startling beauty, her photography references nature through a shimmering black-and-white palette. She characteristically explores a geographical location over a long period of time, often years, allowing her to capture subtle changes in the landscape.
Lee Dunkel explores the landscape in a unique and compelling way. The eloquent black-and-white images of details and forms in nature show the biological cycles of growth, decay and renewal in nature to form some of the most important and compelling photographs ever made of the Florida landscape. No other photographer has so consistently and successfully created photographs that draw out the uniquely expressive and poetic possibilities of Florida's natural world."— Kevin Miller, Director, Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida
Dunkel began her photographic education at Daytona Beach Community College (now Daytona State College). She took workshops under well-known photographers John Sexton and George Tice to learn the fine art of printmaking using the classic gelatin silver printing process. She has never changed her commitment to the labor-intensive method of processing film in the darkroom, even in the wake of digital photography. Dunkel uses Ansel Adams' well-known zone system when she is photographing, but once inside the darkroom, absolutes are of less concern to her, and she allows herself to experiment. The darkroom work involves a vast number of test prints to accomplish final pieces that she finds artistically satisfying.
I am attracted to black-and-white photography because of the abstract quality it lends to the image, making it something more than documentation... I took photographs, not with exact replication in mind, but rather 'seeing' through the lens what the images might look like once I could manipulate the prints in the darkroom. Each image is made using the whole negative, but the tonal quality is composed with a combination of photography, film development, and darkroom techniques."
Dunkel has created ten portfolios between 1985 and 2011. She has been honored with solo exhibitions of her work since the late 1980s and has been the recipient of several grants for her work, including two Florida Individual Fellowship grants. Her work can be found in corporate and private collections. She lives in Ormond Beach, Florida.
— Katherine Duncan Aimone, Fine arts writer