Kramer has in the past made landscape and portrait photographs. From an early time, however, he has focused on what we might call the topography of furnished rooms.
Kramer trained not as an artist but as an electrical engineer; he obtained an advanced degree in this field at M.I.T. It was there that he met Minor White, who was to become his dominant mentor. Though at the time he had no demonstrable experience in photography save some prints made for his high school yearbook, which he showed to White, the teacher took him directly into an advanced class, since the beginning class was full. White taught him not just how to make photographs, but something about the commitment one might want to make through photography to a kind of gradually deepening vision of things in order to be an artist. Having gone through a rather typical series of vicarious apprenticeships, first to Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, later to Strand and Atget, Kramer began to see a danger in “using an obsession with fine print quality to an extent that it can become a substitute for vision. I try to strike a balance between commitment to craft and commitment to seeing.”
The photographs in this exhibition were begun early in 1977. The idea for their subject dates originally to a recurring image formed in childhood of a particular room – a solarium in his paternal grandparents’ house in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he felt always a sense of comfortableness and heightened sensitivity to light and the particularity of objects. When he moved ten years ago to Washington, Kramer rented an apartment on Capitol Hill that reminded him of this solarium.
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