In addition to four decades as a working photographer exhibiting nationally and internationally, Bamberger has authored essays and critical reviews on photography and more generally on the visual world. His numerous awards include Wisconsin and National Endowment for the Arts grants for his photography and press awards for his written criticism. Bamberger also introduced the work of other artists during the decade he spent as a curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum. From his early small black-and-white images to the more recent room-sized digital installations, Bamberger has remained a pioneer throughout his long and distinguished career.
Tom Bamberger took Pete’s World in a friend’s Wisconsin backyard during the height of summer. The twenty-two-foot-long photograph features lush green vines, trellises, a bistro chair, and a swing. Midway through the photograph the sky darkens for a brief shower, casting the right half into shadow and leaving behind traces of not only changes in time but also atmosphere. Rain droplets are visible on leaves in the right side of the composition. Bamberger altered branches and leaves throughout and erased an unsightly pole and other excrescences to create an idealized backyard.
Ok is a multi-image digital installation that challenges traditional notions of visual meaning. In the beginning, whenever an image caught his eye, Tom Bamberger would add it to a folder titled “Ok,” which he mined to create his screensaver. Today, three screens play host to a revolving set of images, drawn randomly from a bank of approximately eight thousand. Each image fades and changes after eight seconds, creating different combinations in an unending, visually hypnotic display; more than 512 billion combinations are possible.