“The Charlie Chaplin of the Camera”
– John Durniak (NY Times Photo Editor)
Alfred Gescheidt was a professional photographer born and raised in Queens, NY. Proving his individuality in the creative industry by use of his darkroom trickery, obscene humor and rather unique approach to his work. Gescheidt was drafted into the USNavy in 1945 where he served for 12 months before enrolling at the University of Mexico in which times he had the likes of meeting Edward Weston (master of 20th Century Photography), Henri Cartier-Bresson (the father of modern photo-journalism) and Paul Strand. Studying with these three extremely talented and motivated individuals helped Gescheidt to realize that photography was going to be his career of choice.
After his time at the University of Mexico, Gescheidt transferred to the Art Center School in Los Angeles where he studied under the likes of Will Connell (Glamour Photographer 1930’s) and George Hoyningen-Huene (Fashion Photographer 1920’s). These two introduced Gescheidt to more experimental work and techniques and it was at Art School that he created some of his very first photo collages.
After graduating from Art School, Gescheidt returned to New York and started straight off in photojournalism which got his work published and featured in Life [TIME] Magazine but found it rather unfulfilling. In 1955 Gescheidt opened his own studio up and focused more on shooting advertising photography and worked on developing his own unique style. It was after opening the studio that he found use of his prior education and wild imagination.
Constantly playing with all manner of experimental techniques helped Gescheidt to create some of his most out-there, new, fresh, complicated and still eye catching pieces we see today. His grasp on camera trickery and technical expertise left many of his fellow professional photographers baffled as his images most often than not both flattered and mocked American sensibilities. Gescheidt’s ‘30 Ways To Stop Smoking’ series from 1964 remains a landmark in satirical conceptual photography.
Alfred Gescheidt was a master photographer and his manual photo-manipulation was one of the most advanced forms of Photography in his [sic]. Unfortunately and rather unjustly, his name has become largely unknown in the recent years.
parodyphoto collagephoto montage