How do you concisely explain the evolution from witness to artist? I spent 35 years as a photographer, faithfully trying to replicate reality through the medium of a camera. Now I strive to create images that evoke an emotional response primarily using color and movement, painting without a canvas or brush. Inspiring subject matter is everywhere and I often do my best work in my own back yard.
I quickly discovered that I got better results when I used a longer lens and stood back from the sculpture, allowing the telephoto to work its compression magic. In the end, nothing shorter than 150mm made the cut and many of the stronger images were in the 250-300mm range. My Sigma 100-400mm got quite a workout.
As I mentioned, the sculpture is entirely shades of blue and steel. The orange color you see in the previous images was a bit of serendipity. We had a pair of orange chairs in front of the far side of the workshop and I picked up a bit of it as I moved around the sculpture. I liked the effect so much that I picked up the chairs and tilted them behind the sculpture.
This is one of my favorite images from the series. In addition to the orange element, which I introduced, you’ll notice shades of purple and pink in some of the images. I have no idea how that happened, it’s just part of the magic.
After exhausting the interior of the house for inspiration, I turned my focus outside. I covered the usual subject matter – trees (so many trees), grass and flowers. Again, some decent stuff, but nothing earth shattering. I was looking for something unique to use as subject matter.
My gaze settled on the large metal sculpture we had commissioned for our new house and installed just outside of the workshop. It’s an abstract piece of large steel “reeds,” some plain and some painted in shades of blue. My first attempts were admittedly pretty lame. I had my beloved 50mm lens and couldn’t get the effect I wanted.
Fortunately, I kept at it and the results kept getting better over time. I bet you are wondering about the orange. All in good time.
My abstract photography class started at the end of July. I picked this session because we were supposed to be moved into our new house by then and I envisioned creating masterpieces in my beautiful new photo studio. It didn’t quite work out that way. Not only were we not moved in, there was still a significant amount of work to be done. So I didn’t feel like I had a whole lot of time for creative expression.
But taking the class meant having assignments and coming back the next week with something to show to the rest of the participants. I needed some quick and easy inspiration and I found it in the form of art – the many paintings and pieces of art glass that fill our new home.
I created a lot of blurry images of paintings and glass, some of which turned out pretty well. But in the end, it wasn’t art inside the house that turned out to be the inspiration for “Symphony of Color.”
I took a class in abstract photography over the summer. It was just five sessions long, which was good because I might have strangled the instructor if it had lasted any longer. Don’t get me wrong, he was a very nice man and a decent photographer, just a really lousy instructor. I spent the whole first session wondering if they had just sprung the class on him with an hour’s notice and he didn’t have time to prepare.
When a friend inquired as to why *I* was taking a photography class, my response was that it forced me to use my camera. Which I hadn’t been very diligent about lately. House and everything, you know. So, while I can’t say I actually learned anything in the class, it proved to be a creative rebirth. Time and money well spent.
This is Crescendo, the second image in the series. The portfolio as a whole is titled “Symphony of Color,” hence the fancy pants musical terms for each of the images.
You (meaning the three people who actually bother to read this crap) may have noticed that I took a six month sabbatical. I’m not going to apologize or explain. It’s my blog, I’ll write or I won’t as I see fit. It’s been a shitty year, let’s leave it at that. What hasn’t been shitty is the art I’m now creating. Yes, art. I used the A word. After 35 years as a photographer of all things realistic, I’m now calling myself an artist. I’ll try not to let it go to my head.
I just completed a portfolio of 25 abstract photographs. I’ll spin out how I got to this point in bits and pieces, as I feature the work. First up is a piece I named Fantasia. All of the images are of a single subject matter, believe it or not. But, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. All in good time, grasshopper.