J. Shimon and J. Lindemann
(American; John Shimon b. 1961, Julie Lindemann 1957-2015; reside in Manitowoc, WI)
“Our photographs appear as a nostalgic look at the present: a longing for all time objectified and interrelated.” - J. Shimon & J. Lindemann
J. Shimon and J. Lindemann have collaborated as artists since 1981, after meeting as undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. They work largely within the genre of photographic portraiture, embracing the constraints and conventions of formal posing inherited from the rich history of vernacular and fine art photography. Employing both contemporary and historical photographic processes — including large format view cameras and palladium printing as well as scanning negatives for digital output — Shimon and Lindemann are able to reference historical photography while also highlighting photography’s relationship to time and the evolution of technology. Among their influences are Irving Penn, Depression-era Farm Security Administration photographers, nineteenth century Pictorialists, and a punk and DIY ethos.
For 100 Real Photo Postcards of People & Places, 2008-2011 in the Midwest Photographers Project, Shimon and Lindemann are mailing one hundred palladium print postcards of portraits and landscapes taken in and nearby their hometown of Manitowoc, WI, over a period of time to the MoCP to continually expand the portfolio. Creating local portraits and landscapes and then mailing their work as handcrafted postcards are ways for Shimon and Lindemann to pay homage to the “real photo postcards” of the early twentieth century as well as to connect and interact with their immediate community. In these portraits, which form part of the Real Photo Postcard Survey Project, each of Shimon and Lindemann’s subjects decides how to present himself or herself to the camera, engaging in “a momentary ephemeral performance of the self” and making the process into a collaboration between subject and photographers. Standardizing their portraits to frontal, full-body poses with the same lighting and backdrop allows variations in gesture, expression, dress, and props to be magnified. Using a view camera slows the process of taking a picture, giving the subject’s pose time to become static and appear at odds with digital instantaneity.
Five books by Shimon and Lindemann are also in the Midwest Photographers Project: Real Photo Postcard Survey, catalog for Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee, WI (2011); Unmasked & Anonymous: Shimon & Lindemann Consider Portraiture, catalog for Milwaukee Art Museum, WI (2008); What We Do Here (2008); Observations are Not Knowledge, catalog for Sarah Bowen Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2006); and One Million Years is Three Seconds, experimental film and book (2008).
Shimon completed a BS in Art at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1983), and an MS in Social Documentary Photography at Illinois State University, Normal (1989). Lindemann completed a BA in Journalism at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1983), and an MA in Social Documentary Photography at Illinois State University, Normal (1989). Shimon and Lindemann’s work has been exhibited extensively in the Midwest and nationally, including at Wendy Cooper Gallery, Chicago, IL; Seattle Art Museum, WA; the International Center of Photography, New York City; Sarah Bowen Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (solo show); and the Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee, WI (solo show). Their work is held in many public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, WI; Milwaukee Art Museum, WI; and the Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, WI. Shimon lives and works in Manitowoc, WI and is an Associate Professors of Art at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI.