Bethlehem Press

Thursday, November 21, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY ED COURRIERMatthew Blum with “Old Lehigh Courthouse” (2019, silver gelatin photograph, 14 in. x 11 in.) in front of the Fifth and Hamilton building. Although the venerable courthouse was photographed in 2018, the print was created in 2019. Copyright - © Ed Courrier PRESS PHOTO BY ED COURRIERMatthew Blum with “Old Lehigh Courthouse” (2019, silver gelatin photograph, 14 in. x 11 in.) in front of the Fifth and Hamilton building. Although the venerable courthouse was photographed in 2018, the print was created in 2019. Copyright - © Ed Courrier

Matthew Blum ‘Windows’ in Baum exhibit

Friday, October 25, 2019 by Ed Courrier Special to The Press in Focus

Photographer Matthew Blum’s “Windows of the Past: Lehigh County” opens Oct. 24 in the David E. Rodale Gallery, The Baum School of Art, Allentown.

Views of 17 historic buildings captured by Blum’s camera lens will be on view through Nov. 21 when a closing reception is scheduled 6 - 8 p.m. to coincide with Allentown’s “Third Thursday.”

In conjunction with Blum’s exhibition, students in Baum School of Art instructor Heidi Reuter’s photography class will feature their work in “View of the Present: City of Allentown” in the Rodale Family Gallery. Inspired by Blum’s work, the students photographed local subjects and printed the photos using the silver gelatin process in the school’s darkroom.

The Lehigh Valley-based commercial and fine art photographer selected locations in Lehigh County that were listed on the National Register of Historic Places to experiment with historic photographic processes.

Well-known sites, including the Old Lehigh Courthouse, Fifth and Hamilton streets, Allentown; Coplay Cement Company Kilns, aka Saylor Park Industrial Museum, Coplay, Whitehall Township, and Bogert Covered Bridge, Allentown, were captured digitally with a Fuji XT-2 and Canon 60 series, or on film with a 4x5 vintage Graflex box camera and Polaroid 450 Land Camera.

Images were printed using different photo printing techniques, such as cyanotype, tintype, gum bichromate, albumen, silver gelatin and palladium.

Mixing old and new, Blum created a digital negative from an image he made with his iPhone of Zion Church, aka the Liberty Bell Church, historically High German Evangelical Reformed Church, 620 Hamilton St., Allentown. He then pulled an albumen print from it.

Although several of the structures were photographed within the past few years, the prints were all created in 2019.

“This was my goal this year,” Blum said of exploring the various historic processes behind the prints.

In addition to still photography, Blum works as a cinematographer, mixed-media artist and owns his own business, Lightly Salted Photos.

After graduating from William Allen High School, Blum found work in video production. He later developed an interest in photography.

Blum will lead a free community workshop, creating a collaborative cyanotype, 1 - 3 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Baum School.

Blum will be available for tintype portrait sittings, 1 - 3 p.m. Nov. 13 and 6 - 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Baum School.

The exhibit is sponsored by Janet and Malcolm Gross.

Baum School of Art Gallery hours: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday. baumschool.org; 610-433-0032