About the Photographer
American, b. 1944
Jed Devine has written: "I'm held by the light. How it articulates edges, modulates surfaces, and makes the air substantial and radiant." Devine's sensitive treatment of form, surface, and luminosity in his still-life photographs is augmented by his choice of materials. He uses the 19th-century palladium printing technique, which yields a subtle gradation of tones and an almost velvety texture, and he has often printed on delicate, translucent paper. Devine's photograph Still Life with Cup (1980) exemplifies his engagement with the relationship of the image and materials: the cup in question rests on top of a sheet of paper in the picture, while the photograph itself is printed on a similar sheet of textured, handmade rice paper.
In photographs of interior spaces Devine uses light as a compositional element in its own right, rather than as a means to give shape to other objects or to modulate their surfaces. In one untitled photograph from 1979, for instance, symmetrical beams of light from two windows (both outside of the frame) heighten the sense of formal order and balance in the picture. The faint window light is cast across the walls and also reflected in the polished floor of a large room, forming an "X" that intersects in the center of the image, where it illuminates a wooden chair. At the same spot in the middle of the nearly empty room, a structural column rises from floor to ceiling, giving the line of symmetry a physical presence.
Jed Devine earned a BA in Fine Arts from Yale University in 1967. After starting his career as a painter he returned to Yale in 1972 to study design and photography, completing an MFA. Since 1977 he has been a professor of art at Purchase College (SUNY). His photographs are held in major museums throughout the United States.