Cheryl Rossum is a fine art photographer working across a broad range of genres. Her images, suffused with a strong sense of light, shadow, and movement, challenge classical perceptions of time and space. The artist’s work has been alternately described as surrealist, impressionist, metaphysical, and abstract.
A graduate of Barnard College with degrees in art history and literature, she began work as a photographer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and counted among her clients Apple Computer, Mobil Oil, Northrop, and The New York Stock Exchange. In a field customarily dominated by men, she elevated corporate industrial photography to a fine art by exploring the integration of man and machine. The New York Times called her work “museum-quality.”
In 2016, her photographs of wall shadows won First Place for Fine Art, in The Julia Margaret Cameron Award Competition for Women Photographers.
Inspired by the mazes, labyrinths, and mosaic pavements created in antiquity, Rossum has produced a series of contemporary landscapes she calls “Plazas.” Geometric and enigmatic, each one is meticulously woven from as many as 60 individual photographs she has shot from helicopters and tall buildings. The shadows of those who traverse these plazas challenge our initial perception of reality. They force a close engagement with the print. Using a digital medium to continue a timeless tradition, the images encourage metaphysical questions about man’s identity and direction in modern society. Each image in the Plaza series may take up to a year to complete.
In contrast, Rossum’s photographs of nature, both landscapes and abstractions, are created by a single time exposure of several seconds. The interaction of light, wind and tide produces images that are fluid and kinetic. Nature is free to etch its own journey across space and time. Light records movement. Forms merge and mutate. Color is heightened. Black and white images become abstract. In microcosm and macrocosm, nature is revealed as dynamic and creative.
All Rossum’s photographs are produced in limited edition to the highest degree of archival permanence. Until 1996, she made her color prints in the Dye Transfer process with Guy Stricherz and Ilene Malli of CVI Studio in New York City. Currently, she prints her own silver gelatin and color pigment prints in her studio in New York.