I’m not sure if I’ve taken my work in a new direction or it has taken me, nonetheless I was apprehensive about releasing these most recent images.
For the past 40 or so years I’ve pursued what is called in some circles, “straight photography.” Images that are literal representations of the world. Straight photographs receive little or no manipulation in the darkroom or if manipulated, don’t look it. I’ve always thought of this school of photography as the “purest” form of the medium. What, after all, is the virtue of photography if not realism? Photographs imbue a verisimilitude, a resemblance to reality, not found in other media. We use photographs as documents in journalism to prove the truth of things. Thus the old aphorism “the photograph doesn’t lie.”
Photography, though, is very much about technique. The great landscape photographer Ansel Adams made an analogy between photography and music when he said, “the negative is the score and the print the performance.” Meaning that the image captured by the camera is only a point of departure. When producing the final image using a darkroom or Photoshop, Ansel encouraged photographers to take some artistic license and be expressive. Not satisfied with a machine-like transfer of his negatives to prints, he manipulated, darkened and lightened, parts of his prints to produce the desired effect. Interestingly, as he got older his technique became dramatically more expressive…more manipulated.
Many photographers develop an ability to previsualize images in their minds. This means that they see the final result, be it color, black & white, manipulated or not, in their mind’s eye as they view the subject. In this way the subject is plastic, something to be molded into a final form. For me, I’m afraid previsualization has taken quite a hold and it may be that my mind is imposing itself on nature more than vice versa. It is in this condition that I’ve been working on my images of the past few years. The shapes that I see in nature awaken something in me and a path to the final image becomes clear. This path leads through exposure and manipulation including the techniques I’ve developed to produce a final image. The images have been departing from straight representation arriving at more figurative expressions.
My new images are waypoints on my photographic journey which has turned into a journey of the spirit. I call them interstitialites. They are an in-betweenness. A vision of the crack between two worlds. Somewhere between light and dark, day and night. Somewhere between external reality and mental interposition. I think of these images as something you might find when you turn over a rock and look underneath. It may be disturbing, unexpected, ambiguous. I find things that stir my spirit and I think they are beautiful.
I’m always interested in what you think. Please leave comments, positive, negative…whatever. They are very appreciated. Thank you!
Information About 2020 Juried Art Shows
- The Photography 2020 Show is sponsored by the Wustum Museum of Fine Arts in Racine, Wisconsin and runs from September 2nd to November 28th. Virtual Preview and Award Announcements. September 1 at 6:00 pm, presented via the video conference app Zoom. The public is invited to join this event using this link.
- PhotoMidwest will be a virtual show this year. The exhibit will officially open on October 16 at 7 p.m. CDT with a live webcast Gallery Talk by juror Peter Turnley.
- The Cedarburg Artists Guild’s Juried Show runs from August 28th to October 11, 2020 and is hosted by the Cedarburg Cultural Center, Cedarburg, Wisconsin.
Other images were selected for display as well. To see all of my recent work, click here to go to my web site galleries.
I like the direction your going in. It’s very abstract. Kind of a surrealism of reality. Keep them coming. I would send a series of pictures to Lenswork magazine for publication.
Thanks Ilona. I’m planning to continue in with this theme.
Tom recently posted…Photograph Selected for Display at No Studios – Milwaukee
Wow! These are the kinds of images one can get lost in. They draw you in, invite you to let go of thought and just bask in the visual experience. I love your description of the process whereby you “previsualize” the final image. Really beautiful work, Tom. Congratulations on having your work accepted in so many juried shows. So well deserved!
Thanks Marcia, I was really lucky to get into three exhibitions this year. The Wustum show should be pretty good so I hope you get a chance to see it.