John Shimon and Julie Lindemann work together as the collaborative duo J. Shimon & J. Lindemann. From rural Manitowoc County, they are best known for their photographs about human existence that they make using antiquarian photographic processes. There’s a Place is their first museum retrospective in their thirty year career and the largest exhibition of their work to date.
Shimon and Lindemann embrace Wisconsin. Their photographs are introspective, and therein lies their strength—they could not have been taken by an outsider. They are grouped around six major themes—Rebellion, Machines, Farms, Landscapes, Sages, and Decay Utopia Decay—that the artists explored repeatedly over decades. Each topic remained open to fresh interpretation as their personal relationships with the subjects matured over time.
Fully versed in contemporary photography and social media, Shimon and Lindemann’s knowledge of photographic history and antiquarian techniques gives their pictures a distinct aesthetic. This is the essence of their work: despite using a medium with inherent possibilities for mass production, they make unique prints using processes such as platinum/palladium, cyanotype, and gum bichromate. With camera phones now almost ubiquitous, picture-taking has become spontaneous and often meaningless. Shimon and Lindemann’s photographs are consciously slow visual meditations.
No matter what their subject, Shimon and Lindemann create powerful images of the ordinary that are intimate and authentic. Their photographs are about a specific time and place, but the answers to the universal questions of who we are, how we lived and how we coped with constant change are also revealed.
Watch There's a Place at MOWA
Shimon and Lindemann: There's A Place