PETER GRUNER SHELLENBERGER
Images made via autoradiography, exposed with uranium forty-five days. (An autoradiograph is a photograph made with radiation.)
My work draws from the history of science and photography as well as from knowledge I’ve gained from years going to flea markets and garage sales. I learned that the red-orange glaze made from Fiestaware in the 1930s and 1940s was created using uranium oxide, the same kind of uranium later used to make the atomic bomb. The uranium remains radioactive in the dinnerware today. I cover unexposed film with the Fiestaware and, after about two years of experimenting with different kinds of film, lengths of exposure, and objects that will make silhouettes (I chose Cracker Jack toys from the same era as the Fiestaware), I’ve succeeded in making a series of glowing purple “nuclear” prints.
Peter Shellenberger is a photographer currently residing in Brunswick, ME. Most recently his work was included in Both Sides of the Camera: Photographs from the Collection of Judith Ellis Glickman at the Portland Museum of Art and You Can’t see This: Photographs at the Limits of Visibility curated by Meggan Gould for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Peter’s work has been exhibited at places such as Zero Station, the University of Southern Maine, and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Shellenberger was also the founder and director of the Photography Cooperative from 1991 – 1996 and he was a founding member of the Portland Film and Video Artists Collective. He holds a BFA from Maine College of Art, and an MFA in photography from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. Currently he is a Visiting Professor in the Photography department at MECA