LC: ACG - Office of Dean of Arts & Sciences, DC515
CM: Upon graduating from the School of Modern Photography in Manhattan, Irene Baimas-Kiamos freelanced as a professional photographer. At that time, she practiced photography as an alternative means of expression to painting. The principles of painting and drawing always underlay all of her photographic work and her artistic production in general. She would never photograph without the feeling of creating something further than just what she sees.
Baimas-Kiamos used black and white photography intentionally, even though color was avalibale, for its realistic quality. Looking up in her archives, Baimas-Kiamos rediscovered an excerpt from Wilson Hicks' 1952 book Words and Pictures that explains the "true realism" in black and white photography versus color photography. "Certainly the realism of the black and white photograph requires no further proof... The picture in losing the realism, which color provides, gains in its ability to interpret emotion and mood and serves to give a particular emphasis to what it portrays. Over and above its ability to reproduce nature with near exactitude, the color picture does not contain within itself an interpretive capacity, comparable to that which occurs to black and white through its translation into the gray scale. But in time, the viewer is inclined to rebel at such uncompromising realism (that is color), since one of its chief faults is that it leaves so little to the imagination. The very finality with which it shows what is shown is a weakness. All is said, and therefore done with. In the painting act, the artist violates strict realism to invest what he sees with more meaning." [William Hicks 1952]
Baimas-Kiamos' present photograph, which was ultimately entitled Mirage, was created in New York in 1952 with a studio camera as well as by post-production manipulation in the photographic darkroom by varying the concentration of the solutions and the rate of cooling and dissolving the fixer chemical in warm water. The picture was a result of a process in developing that was partly accidental. Mirage is actually an experimental photograph. Baimas-Kiamos' experiments were led by her conviction that artists hit new movements by trying out new ways and the best things in art happen accidentally. The picture's end result appears to be either a macro photograph from biology or even a detail from the universe. It evokes the picture of melting or fusion. Regardless of the fact that Mirage was arrived at photographically the composition appears to be like black liquid on a white ground. The sensation of a mirage is one of a final destination, like a utopia. The impression of Mirage is like seeing in the distance a steemy vision - a picture entirely from the realms of the imagination.