Gerald Lee Franzen



Gerald Lee Franzen

Artist Biography

Gerald Lee Franzen was born in Escanaba, Michigan. He received a BA in Psychology from California State University, Sonoma, and an MA in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He worked as a commercial photographer and visual artist for 30 years in California and Nevada. Since 1999 he has taught at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada in the Humanities and Art Departments. He lived as a child in both the north woods of Upper Michigan and in the urban core of Chicago. He says, "I have always been fascinated by the visual world around me, and having a camera put in my hands at age 10 gave me the lifelong tool to interpret and understand that world."

Franzen has been involved in the Arts and Humanities all his life and believes that to be a fully realized human being, one needs more than information and facts. To reason effectively one must know how to think creatively and be able to use imagination and intuition as part of living a full life. He believes it is a lifelong process of learning and being open to being surprised. That is why he has chosen to teach and photograph.

Franzen works with the latest digital technology as well as maintaining his primary practice using film and silver based materials. He emphasizes in his own work and in teaching the importance of craft combined with vision as the basis of artmaking. He says his studio is the world, while keeping his production facility: a darkroom and digital lab in Reno. His work has been exhibited widely and he has done visual productions for as diverse artists as the Carson City Symphony and Pink Floyd.

He is married with two children who are both working artists.

He has lived in Northern Nevada since 1980.  


Artist Statement

Photography is essentially the art of Seeing.

My work is to show a fragment of the real world.

I photograph what I see, and attempt in the final image to show what was there, as clearly as possible, without addition or artistic manipulation.

Edward Burtynsky, Carlton Watkins and Edward Weston all said the same thing about the practice of photography: “The world well seen and well rendered.”

That is my mantra as well.

The work, while varied in subject matter, looks at the graphic or surface aspects of things rather than narrative or scenic concerns. It is documentary in that it shows real things in a straightforward manner.