Every photograph and print by the photographer Lee Dunkel is a performance—as classic as a Renoir, as edgy and smart as Brubeck's 'Take Five'—and faithful to the nature of the artist. Dunkel's work evolves around thought and feeling, not technology. The sheer volume of pictures produced through digital technology has diminished the artistic value of photography. Too often image-makers use photo-processing programs to mimic styles and schools of photography, and she is the type of photographer they imitate. Her work is trademarked by the fact that she still produces her images with film.
Her handmade prints are a record of a distinctive vision, as shown in the portfolio, 'Florida Études' (2000-2003), that measures the monotone value of each shred of foliage at a particular moment of the day, and its relative value, as she carefully and painstakingly reproduces the image on photographic paper in her darkroom."— Stephen Crowley, Staff photographer, The New York Times
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
Lee Dunkel is very determined, and that's a good thing, because she wraps all of her will around her poetry. The dialogue between delicacy and strength in her work, devoid of contrivances and the baloney of trends, can only happen because she is the real thing and has mastered her medium in the service of a pure and caring vision. It is not easy to be a Lee Dunkel, and though she wears her personality and dedication gracefully, there is an uncompromising backbone that takes her out in the wild world she photographs and then plants itself uncompromisingly in her darkroom... where somehow, all those glorious prints, all those creations of her poetry... come out to make our lives so much richer. Her eye and the understanding of powerful or subtle graphics, all layered over passion for her subject, renders a unique and incomparable body of work."— Burk Uzzle, Contemporary photographer, Wilson, North Carolina
What viewers see when looking at Lee Dunkel's work is much more than a photographic reproduction. Her views of the landscape are more intimate and personal than the grand views of her West Coast influences, such as Adams, Weston, and Sexton; and the work is more aptly described as an emotional view of a natural scene, containing elements of abstraction. Dunkel does not aim to preserve a remote, unobtainable grandeur in the landscape, but instead invites the viewer into her world, and, in that process, we often get our feet wet."— Rick Lang, Director of Photography, Crealdé School of Art, Winter Park, Florida
These nature studies are undeniably spectacular; the state's undeveloped sites and natural vistas are magnificent in their own right. Translated into a burnished black and white that defies color's seductive wiles even as they suggest subdued splendor, Dunkel's landscapes seem to occupy a rarified space: arrested glimpses of a vanishing wilderness, they are all the more vibrant because of their restraint. Cypress and palms blend into a lush tapestry, and the elements—light, air, water, even fire—dance and play in series that present formal elements in extreme elegance, technically brilliant and visually satisfying on multiple levels."— Laura Stewart, "Florida Wetlands: Lee Dunkel," essay in Southeast Museum of Photography catalogue, 2008
In capturing the beauty, texture, light, and shadows of transitioning environments, Lee Dunkel provides us with an artist's view of our world in which each compelling photograph becomes a mnemonic of nature's fragility."— Marti Saltzman, Editorial Director, Pixiq (an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York)