©Dek Unu Arts, 2020
Images: ©Eric Kunsman
This is Dek Unu Magazine. In Esperanto, dek unu means "eleven." Eleven images from a single artist. Eleven artists in eleven solo issues each year.
Dek Unu publishes the work of a new photoartist in each issue. The artist's work and words are featured alone and in individual focus as the sole purpose for each issue of the magazine. Unlike other arts and letters magazines which might look for work from a variety of artists to support an editorial staff's theme, at Dek Unu, theme and imagery are always each artist's own.
As photographers like Edward Weston turned photography away from soft-focus treatments of “literary” themes toward sharply-focused studies of natural objects in real environments, the accepted description of a good photo changed. Ansel Adams’ multi-volume Zone System series taught black-and-white photographers how to see in shades of gray, how to pre-visualize, measure, expose, develop, print and present images that take full advantage of the special power of monochrome materials. Adams, Weston, and other notables, including Paul Caponigro, Wynn Bullock, and John Sexton, are known for their voluptuous black- and-whites of the natural landscape, making rocks and sand appropriate subjects for fine art. Photo-artist Eric T. Kunsman, working in the masters’ tradition, makes similarly dramatic, long-scale photographs of payphones, clearly demonstrating that snippets of urban landscape can be moving and meaningful fine art as well. Kunsman's "street" photos of Rochester, New York, are not candids shot from the hip; they are planned and produced with the same focus and form, care and craft as Weston's Big Sur and Adams' Yosemite.
Although these photos are gorgeously-realized, technically-perfect visual art, they form an equally-careful sociological study of a city, privilege and prejudice, and life in its “bad” neighborhoods. Warned that his new neighborhood was dangerous and crime-infested because it had “payphones everywhere”, Eric researched to find facts and, in the process, documented a bleak urban landscape and a very surprising gesture by Frontier Communications to spare profits to serve people in need.