The Eight Wheaton College Presidents

16 09 2010

A new exhibit by Wheaton College art professor Greg Halvorsen Schreck opens Friday, September 17.

The exhibit, titled “Portraits of Wheaton’s Presidents in Light and Shadow,” features images of the eight presidents of Wheaton College.

Each portrait combines 96 separately machined pieces of wood. At first, the portraits appear to be concave chunks of thinly sliced wood, without an apparent image. However, when they are illuminated from beneath by a single light source in a darkened room, rich, lifelike black-and-white portraits emerge, formed by complex patterns of light and shadow.

“There’s no pigment, there’s no emulsion, there’s no ink. It’s all just light,” Schreck says. “I find them to be astonishing in a way that generates a lot of creative and intellectual intensity. They make me think back to the origins of photography, at the beginning of the 19th century.”

Schreck, who has taught photography at Wheaton since 1989, designed the method for producing the portraits in collaboration with industrial physicist Mark Woodworth. The formula for creating them is based on Lambert’s cosine law, an optical equation describing radiant intensity calculated by mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Johann Heinrich Lambert in 1760.

A reception will be held September 17 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in room 308 of Adams Hall, across from the Cozette Lecture Hall. The exhibit will be on display for two weeks.

-The Inaugural Planning Committee

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