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About These Images
The question I am most often asked about my images is “Are they photographs, or paintings?” It’s a question that always delights me because it leads to interesting conversations about the photographic process and its prickly relationships with art and reality.
From a practical perspective, my image-making begins in the landscape with my camera, usually close to home, often in my back yard. (I am fortunate to have a very beautiful back yard!) It then continues at the computer, where I use Adobe Photoshop’s digital tools to develop my images. Sometimes this involves only minimal tonal or colour adjustment and the resulting image resembles the original scene quite closely. At other times the visual elements are so significantly modified (rearranged, emphasized, eliminated, combined) that the image strays far from reality into the realm of my imagination. Most commonly my images fall somewhere between these two extremes.
So, in response to the photographs-or-paintings question, I use the term “photographic art” to signal that my images are not ‘straight’ photographs (I never wish viewers to feel deceived!). They aren’t intended as factual representations of the world, but rather, as personal interpretations of it, inspired as much by the thoughts, feelings, stories, poetry or music rattling around in my head, as by the visual elements in front of me. They are my way of exploring the landscape in the context of broader human and environmental themes, and creating meaning from what I discover. I always hope that viewers will respond with questions and perspectives of their own.
“Reality is a starting point, not a purpose.” These words by Belgian painter/writer Erik Pevernagie eloquently summarize my approach to the photographic process.