A truly daring and innovative artist, Lee Crum is an American photographer who has the ability to tell a fascinating story with every picture he creates.
Commercial to creative
A profile in Style Blue Print reveals that Lee Crum grew up in Arkansas, attending The University of Arkansas. During his student days he started a photography job with Little Rock’s daily newspaper, going on to move to move to New Orleans and take on job for big names such as Sports Illustrated.
Even during these days, Crum’s pictures were edgy and the commercial photography industry soon recognised his talents. But while he was shooting pictures of celebrated celebrities and sports figures, Crum started curating his own personal series of photographs, striving to document people and places throughout America that are often overlooked by creatives. Eventually, Crum decided to leave advertising behind and build a career as a celebrated fine art photographer.
Crum’s work has evolved over time. According to Saatchi Art, from the beginning of his fine art photography career, he has been inspired by Diane Arbus’ work. Reflecting this he has made it his mission to document sub-groups on camera. Early in his career Crum decided to develop a black-and white- series centred on the ingenious Indians of Mexico. This resulted in a collection that captures the beauty and sadness, the longing and the hope, that characterises these peoples’ lives.
Moving away from the norm, Lee decided to start experimenting with different printing techniques in 2008. He began utilising tintypes and ambrotypes, techniques which go as far back as the 1860s where pictures are shot on a metal plate, to adopt a new approach to photography. Crum also decided to change the focus of his pieces around this time, “choosing to isolate flora and fauna, butterflies, insects, plants, reptiles and other organic elements that possess an inherent form,” Saatchi Art writes.
As digital technologies become more prominent, Lee is increasingly utilising these tools to produce compelling art. The Southern artist used several processes, for example, in one of his most recent collections which depicted unusual objects and relics. These pictures were developed with the aid of tintype and ambrotype processes, collage cut outs, film, polaroids, negatives and scanners, allowing him to present a series where each picture has a new story to tell.
Creating unique experiences
By constantly evolving his style, Lee Crum takes a very raw and authentic approach each time he uses a new process to create a picture, allowing him to develop incredibly unique pieces. This approach to photography has won Crum a large following among art enthusiasts, especially in his native Southern United States. His work has been displayed in spaces across the region, including the Spaces Gallery in Nashville and the Bassetti Gallery in New Orleans.