Trudel’s "The Stuckey Brothers."
Over a 40-year career, photographer Glenn Trudel artfully encapsulated the small moments and big events that made up life in Madison.
Local editors and reporters instantly recognized his photos, and Trudel contributed images to many newspapers and magazines, including Isthmus. “It was a great run,” recalls Trudel, whose current focus is on portrait photography.
Starting Sept. 30 and through Oct. 31, visitors will be able to see a retrospective of Trudel’s large body of work at the Goodman Community Center. An Oct. 7 opening event coincides with Madison’s Gallery Night.
“Glenn was notable for his artistry in printing black-and-white — deep, deep tones of black and voluptuous, creamy whites,” recalls Ron McCrea, former senior editor of the The Capital Times, who coined the phrase “candid metaphor” to describe Trudel’s trademark eye.
“Glenn Trudel’s photographs consistently create a tangible human connection between the photographer and the viewer that is difficult to achieve,” says Andy Kraushaar, visual materials curator at the Wisconsin Historical Society. “Trudel is a photographer’s photographer, creating a delicate balance between subject, lighting and composition.”
“Time Lapse,” the name of the upcoming exhibit and accompanying book, features Trudel’s black-and-white photos from the 1970s through 1990s, when photography was a matter of film, negatives and chemical baths. Time, moving and mishaps conspired to make many of Trudel’s original prints and negatives vanish. Kraushaar was instrumental in preserving and digitizing many of the photographer’s “work prints” — in predigital times, a photographer’s first drafts.
Trudel was 6 when his family immigrated to the United States from Belgium. He grew up on the East Coast and bounced around the country, teaching himself photography and finally landing in Madison. Trudel became a photographer for the student paper The Daily Cardinal even though he wasn’t enrolled at UW-Madison.
His talent was recognized by McCrea and Bob Rashid, who helped lead The Press Connection, a short-lived cooperative newspaper created in 1977 by striking employees of The Capital Times and the Wisconsin State Journal. It lasted through early 1980.
“I am proud to this day to have spotted him and helped give his work a following,” says McCrea. “Trudel was less a photojournalist than an art photographer. He might be sent to a fire and come back with wonderful pictures of icicles. He captured spirited portraits of Madison — of boys riding an inner tube, of Madison old-timers, of the Dalai Lama here on a visit.”
The opening celebration for “Time Lapse” is Oct. 7, 5-7 p.m., at the Goodman Community Center.