About the Photographer
Manual (Suzanne Bloom and Ed Hill)
Suzanne Bloom, American, b. 1943 and Ed Hill, American, b. 1935
Suzanne Bloom and Edward Hill, known collectively as MANUAL, have collaborated on projects since 1974. The two met at Smith College in 1972 when Bloom was a painter and Hill was a draftsman and printmaker. Their work has involved numerous media, from drawing and painting to photography and video, and most recently, computer-generated graphics and electronic sound production.
Pioneers in digital photography, MANUAL's projects fuse organic and digital elements to explore issues of nature, ecology, technology, and the authentic, and closely examine the points at which they intersect.
The 1992 piece Two Worlds is part of a series by the same name, created from 1991 to 1992. The Two Worlds photographs are either generated or manipulated by computer, and the natural and the virtual are the two worlds referenced by the title. MANUAL sees the project as "a clear statement of contrast between the real and not-so real worlds of wood." As they explain:
[The] spheres represent two types of textural information, bitmap and procedural. Six of the spheres contain selected details from a videotape of a logger we made in 1991, and six contain wood textures of various species. Further, five of the wood textures have been made using a procedural algorithmic method (i.e., the textures were created with a program and mapped to the spheres), whereas the sixth texture was made by scanning a piece of wood veneer and wrapping it around the sphere. One world is very cool, the other has more e(motion), but both have their routines and procedures for production.
World Maker, 1992, takes its inspiration from a Vermont neighbor of MANUAL who delights in using heavy machinery to make fields of forest, create artificial ponds, or otherwise drastically alter his land. "The scene that provided the base image for 'Worldmaker' is of his handiwork, circa 1991," MANUAL remembers. "At that time we had begun to explore 3D-modeling programs rather seriously in terms of their seductive power to simulate reality and convincingly create things that have no material existence. Although we began combining 3-D modeling with 2-D images while we were Visiting Artists at the California Museum of Photography in 1991, 'Worldmaker' is significant to us and the direction of our work because it was the first major piece in which we superimposed the one (virtual) reality on top of the other (the reality humans seem always determined to "improve")."
Born in Philadelphia, Suzanne Bloom received her BFA degree (1965) and her MFA in painting (1968) from the University of Pennsylvania. Ed Hill, originally from Springfield, Massachusetts, received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (1957) and an MFA from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (1960). Both Bloom and Hill are professors of art at the University of Houston where they have been faculty members since 1976. The team has exhibited their artwork in more than 65 museums and galleries throughout the United States and abroad. Their exhibition Forest/Products, an educational multi-media installation, was presented at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in April 1992. MANUAL's work is represented by Jayne H. Baum Gallery, New York. Bloom and Hill live half the year in Vermont and the other half in Houston, Texas.