This still-life assembly of mortar, pestle, bottles, vial, and developing tray evokes the element of alchemy in photography. These objects immediately refer to the practice of medicine and to its potential power to stimulate the body's regenerative processes.

In a related way, photography can be understood as the artist measuring and applying certain powders and liquids to create an image, one with the power to heal the spirit and to nourish and give life to the imagination and the soul. By photographing the tools of her medium in this arrangement, Doris Ulmann made a concise, eloquent statement aligning photography with a fundamental need to enrich life's experience through art.


  • Title: Darkroom Still Life
  • Creator: Doris Ulmann
  • Date Created: 1918
  • Location Created: United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 20.2 × 15.7 cm (7 15/16 × 6 3/16 in.)
  • Type: Print
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Platinum print
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 87.XM.89.27
  • Culture: American
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Doris Ulmann (American, 1882 - 1934)
  • Classification: Photographs (Visual Works)

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