Donald E. Camp
American, b. 1940
William Larson, Self, and Mentee/Jennifer Perry, 2006.
Earth pigment and casein on paper
Donald E. Camp Collection, Gift of the artist
The three portraits that comprise the triptych displayed in Lucky Seven are titled William Larson, Self, and Mentee/Jennifer Perry, and depict artist Don Camp (middle) alongside his mentor and mentee. These artworks were gifted to the museum over the past seven years by the artist.
Using a tightly cropped style, Camp confronts viewers with profound and tactile depictions of the human face. He processes his prints using a 19th-century non-silver photographic printing process. Each print is made from a labor-intensive process of coating non-photographic paper with casein (a milk derivative) and earth pigments. Camp then repeatedly washes the print, scrubbing away until the imagery is revealed to his liking. This process communicates a feeling of raw aliveness in his subjects.
Together these three photographs have a serious and affecting presence. The labor-intensive process by which they were made nearly pulls the spirit of Camp himself with it in their creation and passes that spirit along to the subject.
Situated on the campus of an educational institution, the Berman Museum has a responsibility as a teaching museum. This triptych honors how knowledge is passed between individuals—how the student can grow to become the teacher and how the teacher is a life-long learner.
Don Camp is a professor emeritus of Ursinus College. The photographs he graciously donated will remain in the Berman’s collection in perpetuity, carrying with them Camp’s memory, labor, and knowledge.