The Albuquerque Museum Foundation show Miniatures has been renamed "ArtsThrive".
Jo and I were happy to have been selected for inclusion in the show in 2016, 2017,
and in 2018 so I hope you will come to visit again this year. Here is the link:
Photography Based Fine Art
I believe that imaginative, non-documentary images can last much longer in a viewer’s mind. With the proliferation of high resolution, affordable digital cameras, nearly anyone can successfully capture extremely detailed and accurate images, but every day we are overwhelmed by a multitude of mundane visual statements of limited imagination or challenge. An artist’s unique viewpoint is paramount to any lasting visual statement and their awareness of historical art gives richness and context to the statement. Finally, a demonstration of fine craftsmanship over multiple works adds validation to their vision.
In the Beginning: I began photographing in earnest with an architectural emphasis, illustrating my respect for classical building structures and spaces – an acknowledgement of historical artistic achievement. However, in these images I attempted to focus the viewer’s attention on smaller details rather than the overall impression of the structure. I also worked hard to cultivate my awareness of natural reflections of objects within a scene. I believe that the richness of life is often present in the visual details before us but we are too often distracted by our surroundings to isolate our focus enough to recognize the full beauty and depth of everything before us. This realization persuaded me to gravitate toward a strong appreciation of still life and studio art. I consciously began to severely limit or magnify the perceived physical space in the image, often emphasizing existing shadows to help achieve my goal. Special care regarding the quality of light - especially dim light - became very important to me, along with strongly muted color. I increasingly found myself working more at my home studio, where I could simplify surrounding forms and better control lighting. In recent years I have allowed my imagination to more strongly direct the work.
The Setup: Utilizing a stage set, I did several series of work late at night when I had just awakened from a restless sleep. I have sometimes caught myself thinking about imagery just before I drop off to sleep and Wikipedia claims that creativity can be significantly correlated with sleep disturbance. In any case, I feel that these late night sessions were often quite productive and “illuminating”. Over the past 5-6 years, I have continued to visualize ever more abstractly, focusing on simpler forms and the interaction between those shapes. I started using cut and folded paper and transparent materials combined with physical objects. Letting my imagination run free, I am now often compelled to persuade the viewer to imagine a form’s inherent mystery as an allegory. Pleasing forms, subtle lighting, strong shadows, spatial perspective, and muted color remain crucial features to consider as I develop my work. I prefer the final result to be quiet, restful, and non-intrusive providing a respite from our busy world.
Color in My Work: Hand-colored prints are rarely seen now that most photography is digital-based. My hand-colored work until the early 2000’s was oil paint or pencil directly applied over traditional Black and White Silver Gelatin prints. This latter step was a time-consuming yet meditative process, demanding an uninterrupted effort as the painting of the entire print needed to be completed at one sitting for best results from the oil media. When successfully applied, this would produce an artfully subtle and refined print with a quality in my opinion rarely achieved by traditional color processes. The appeal of this now rarely used process echoes an important goal of my work - to take the viewer beyond the ordinary – by process as well as imagination. With the advent of digital media (and loss of wet darkroom materials), the result achieved by attempting to paint over digital paper with modern materials has not been to my satisfaction, so instead I have developed other methods to achieve satisfactory digital images. As I setup to capture my digital images, my visual sensibility continues to be mindful of the refined look of that unique vintage process and I often strive to achieve an equivalent color quality for new work.
How the Work Evolves: Awareness of all of the above has helped force me to often conceptualize an initial image before I actually construct the stage setup to capture it. I often shoot up to 50 variations of a new idea, usually producing a whole new series of ideas. Afterward, a lengthy “reviewing” process takes over and I will typically rework 10-20 versions of each of those images and may spend many days contemplating the results before reaching what I believe is an adequately distilled selection of visions. This clarifying process is mandatory and helps give the final work an impact quite different from impulse photography designed to capture the “decisive moment”.
Many life choices are often low-hanging fruit, but for real satisfaction, you must work hard at whatever your task. In the case of art, viewer as well as artist must attempt to look beyond the obvious - deeper beneath the surface and within the shadows. Artists are always searching for the truth and sometimes for all their work they are rewarded with wonderful visual statements, but life is an enduring mystery and for the artist there is always the question - did it go far enough ?