Florida Landscape Photographer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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“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

 
 
 

Introduction

Photography is Lee Dunkel’s 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 eleven portfolios between 1985 and 2016. 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.

– written by Katherine Duncan Aimone, Fine arts writer

 
 
 
 
 
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“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.”

Stephen Crowley, Staff photographer, The New York Times

 
 
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 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)
 
 
 
 
 
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“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

 
 
 

Resume

Select Solo Exhibitions

  • 2018, A Retrospective from 1988-2015, Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Art Center, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • 2013, Volusia Wetlands & Lyonia: A Florida Upland, Museum of Florida Art & Culture, Avon Park, Florida

  • 2013, Lyonia: A Florida Upland, Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • 2012, Florida Landscapes, Crealdé School of Art, The Alice & William Jenkins Gallery, Winter Park, Florida

  • 2011, Fifteen Preludes to Lyonia, Arts on Douglas Gallery, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

  • 2008-2009, Florida Wetlands, Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • 2005, Untitled: Light & Abstraction, Crealdé School of Art, The Alice & William Jenkins Gallery, Winter Park, Florida

  • 2003-2005, Spruce Creek Folio, Florida Senate Chambers Reception Room, Tallahassee, Florida

  • 2003, Florida Études, Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • 1999, Firemarkings, The Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • 1997, The St. Johns Portfolio, The Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • 1994-1995, Spruce Creek Folio, U.S. House of Representatives, Cannon Building, Washington, DC

  • 1993, Spruce Creek Folio, The Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • 1990 and 1989, Tomoka River Basin, Edison Community College, Florida and Focal Point Gallery, New York (respectively)


Select GROUP Exhibitions

  • 2003, Florida Fine Arts Fellowships Twenty Fifth Anniversary Exhibit, Traveling Exhibit

  • 1999, Natural Abstractions, The Southeast Museum of Photography

  • 1995-1996, The Florida Capitol, Tallahassee, Florida

  • 1993, PhotoWorks, University of Miami, Florida

  • 1991, Center of Contemporary Art's Fellowships: Florida's Finest. Miami Florida, Traveling Exhibit

  • 1991, The Capitol Gallery, Tallahassee, Florida

  • 2006-2007, Volusia County Individual Artist


Florida grant awards

  • 1995-1996, Individual Artist Fellowship

  • 1990-1991, Individual Artist Fellowship

  • 2003, Florida Études, Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida


permanent collections

  • Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • The Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • Daytona Beach International Airport, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • The Daytona Beach News Journal Corporation, Daytona Beach, Florida

  • Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens, Ormond Beach, Florida

  • City of Port Orange, Port Orange, Florida

  • Volusia County Court House, Deland, Florida

  • Daytona Beach Ocean Center