When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2020, it wasn’t only Henry Matthiessen’s art business that had to change.

The art itself needed to change as well.

Matthiessen, who owns Stoned Art Studio in Dubuque, found himself forced to close the doors of his gallery, removing the ability to show his pieces to customers in person. His custom-made stone oil lamps benefited the most from the in-person showings and were a high selling product for his business. With his store closed off from the public throughout the pandemic, Matthiessen said, interest in the lamps faded.

“If there were no showings, then I had to forget about selling a lot of stone lamps,” he said. “I had to totally rethink the plan for my business.”

The pandemic forced many local artists to adapt their art and business model in order to survive. For Matthiessen, that adaptation came from spending even more time

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ROCKTON — A lost art is being revived at Hononegah High School thanks to Career Technology and Education Department (CTE) teacher Rebecca Robinson’s photo 1 class, which includes darkroom photography.

Not only are students learning the logic behind camera settings but are discovering the beauty of stopping, slowing down and thinking. For Robinson, it’s a necessary education in today’s changing world.

“We are losing the art of thinking for ourselves,” Robinson said.

As part of the class, students use manual cameras which only accept film. By not having an automatic setting on the cameras, students learn to understand the aperture, shutter speed and sensitivity of film or ISO.

All photographs produced in the dark room are black and white. Although color photos can be produced in a dark room, it’s a much more complicated process so the class focuses strictly on black and white photography.

“Removing the element of

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“Exquisite Reality” features historical photos from the latter half of the 19th century and explores how photographers’ artistic choices, such as framing or lighting, could affect how viewers perceived the subject. Courtesy Cantor Arts Center

As an art form, photography isn’t that old, at least compared to painting or sculpting, but it’s changed enormously over its relatively brief history, not only due to technological advances but also in how we perceive its role, and that of the photographer.

At its inception in the 1830s and 40s, photography was, due to its scientific origins, considered “apolitical,” according to the website for “Exquisite Reality: Photography and the Invention of Nationhood, 1851–1900” a new online exhibit at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center. The exhibit explores how early photography was in fact used extensively as a political tool, looking at how photographers made artistic decisions that reveal their own interpretations of reality.

This exhibition

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