Category Archives: Photography

The Creative Use of Photography

Guest Post by Tim Anderson

Throughout the years I have had my photography used by artists for many purposes: sculpture, painting (from watercolor to oils and just about everything in between), graphic design, etc. It is very gratifying, indeed, to have another artist think enough of your work to want to emulate it.

Irish Waterfall in County Connemara Ireland by Tim Anderson

Waterfall, County Connemara, Ireland 2016, ©Tim Anderson 2016

Such is the case with the first image illustrated here. I took it while on vacation in Ireland recently. It was in  Connemara  along the western coast. It was a day of scenic beauty, no matter where we went. Most of the time in situations like these I photograph what looks good, with little regard to settings, although I do a basic setup before departure for a day of photographing.

While in Ireland I captured almost 3,000 images of landscapes, portraits, birds, ancient ruins, and monolithic remains.  Each evening, back at the hotel, I downloaded the day’s images to my laptop, in the proper folder. I find if I don’t do this daily, I get “lost” immediately when beginning the editing process.

Upon first edit after returning home this image immediately grabbed my attention. Guests who came over for dinner last night agreed by saying it should be a painting. With that in mind I thought I would play with it a bit.

I took it into Photoshop and played with a few filters, and finally settled on the second image in the post. The filters were canvas and splatter. I could have spent much more time on it, but I was just playing, trying to see with a painter’s eye.

Irish Waterfall by Tim Anderson, edited

Waterfall, County Connemara, Ireland 2016, ©Tim Anderson 2016, edited

Well, what do you think? I have often said that to be an artist is a multi-disciplinary creative pursuit and that some of the best artists see much more than the “normal” person. If you are a painter and you view the photography of a friend, do you envision what you could do with that same print?

If not, you might want to try it.

Creative Transition

When I am in the middle of painting a series, I sometimes need to use my imagination in another way. I need a break, a creative transition. Doing something completely different takes me away from my current work and becomes a breather from the ideas that I have been working on for weeks.

I took a break recently and began looking at photographs that I had taken in France over the years.  Maybe I could paint one of them or abstract them in some way.

One evening in Soréze, I took some photos of the house across the street that I thought looked intriguing. The evening light was lovely and the house was covered with interesting shadows. Maybe this would be one to paint. Here’s the original color photo.

Unmanipulated color photograph showing creative transition

Unmanipulated color photograph

Instead, I decided to do something that I had never done before. I decided to see what I could do playing around with an image on my computer. There are many image-editing software programs that are available to us. Probably the most sophisticated is Photoshop. I tried it before and found the learning curve for me included much more time than I wanted to give. I am a painter.

But I do have an easy-to-use image editing software program called Perfect Photo Suite 8. I use it to re-size my painting images for use on the web.

So I took that photo that I had taken at dusk and decided that it had possibilities. It had shuttered windows, was three stories and had interesting architecture.

manipulated photographshowing creative transition

Evening in Sorèze, manipulated photograph

Here is the photo after I translated it into something that I thought could possibly pass for a painting.

What do you think? Have you ever tried something like this?

Shadow & Light Magazine

Although my calling is to paint, I appreciate all kinds of creativity. I particularly love dance and photography. As some of you know, I am the Art Director of Shadow & Light Magazine, and I was the Art Director of CameraArts magazine from 2005-2008.

Shadow & Light Magazine is a PDF photography magazine.  It is about “The Art of Photography,” and is the brainchild of Tim Anderson, the publisher/editor of Red Dog News, and the former publisher/managing editor of CameraArts magazine.

My main duties are to search for new photographers who have an eye for creating lovely, moving and/or provocative images. I also help him choose images that will go into a photographer’s layout in the magazine, and I usually choose the cover image.

Below are two covers that I chose.

Cover Image

Cover Image, Eduardo Fujii, March/April, 2016

The magazine’s primary objective is to introduce new voices in photography by featuring them in an internationally-distributed fine art photography magazine.

“In publishing a wide range of fine art photography, Shadow & Light Magazine seeks to publish those photographic artists who strive to formulate creative ideas and translate them into work that captures and ignites human imagination. Experience, education, equipment, and age are not determinates in recognizing quality art.”

Cover image

Cover image, Tom Chambers, September/October, 2015

Not only does Shadow & Light Magazine seek to engage the reader visually but intellectually as well with informative articles, critical insight, and compelling interviews.

If you know of anyone who loves to make wonderful photographic images, let me know.

Shadow & Light Magazine

Although I try to paint almost every day, occasionally I like to explore different ways to think about and delve into varied art-related projects. The class I teach for beginning painters is one example. Another example is plunging into being the art director of a new fine art photography online magazine called Shadow & Light Magazine. Here is the official description of the publication:

Shadow & Light Magazine  Signature Image

Shadow & Light Magazine Signature Image

Shadow & Light Magazine is designed for photographers across all levels of photography offering valuable information about a range of photographic subjects including portfolios, and individual images, along with interviews and in-depth essays. It is also designed for the photographer who desires to present their work to a large audience, including curators, collectors, gallerists, and photography peers and professionals. It is also designed to be appealing to all art lovers.

The magazine was launched in September, 2014. It is flourishing and I am proud to be a part of its success.

Shadow & Light Magazine Cover-photography

Shadow & Light Magazine Cover

As art director, my main responsibilities are selecting the cover image, helping the editor with the selection of Showcase Portfolio and Single Image Showcase submissions. I also assist with editing.

Because the publisher and editor of the magazine is my partner Tim Anderson, I have learned to appreciate photography as a fine art that can be just as expressive as painting. I have had the pleasure of viewing many wonderful images over the last ten years. An entire world of creativity has opened up for me, influencing my art in ways that are still a mystery to me.

Breaking Loose With Photo Encaustic

Guest Post by Paula Scott

As an artist, I often question who I am as an artist. Am I a photographer? A printmaker? An encaustic artist? A painter or mixed-media artist? You see, I work in all of these mediums and have worked in photography the longest; hence it is my most prolific area. There are no clear lines or boundaries for me when it comes to working in these different mediums. How does one begin to combine them and perhaps more intriguing, WHY would you combine them?

Curating and presentation of one’s work makes all the difference in the world; the choice made in the presentation can totally transform the piece. In the realm of photography, many have gone past the tradition of the glass and frame and now have so many ways in which to present their work. Even the kind of paper the image is printed on makes a huge difference. Photo encaustic offers a great alternative to the traditional presentation of photographic works.

Encaustic, which is bee’s wax in most cases, combined with a bit of dammar resin (the combination is referred to as encaustic medium), brings a very different quality to a photographic image. The image becomes more luminous and seems to glow from within, giving it a different kind of depth. The kind of paper you use to print your photograph on in combination with the wax, also dictates the outcome. The best part about this marriage of photo and wax is that that the image is not restrained under glass. It brings another level of intimacy to the viewer.

In this first example, “Bandelier,” the image was printed as a laserjet image, adhered via wax, to the board that was already ‘prepped’ with encaustic medium. Oil pigment was also used in many thin layers, which is another advantage to working in wax as it allows you to build up translucent layers adding even more depth to the final image. Think of it as glazing your photographic image. Bandelier

In  “Raven Boy II,” the image was printed on a thin, handmade Japanese paper called chiri. Chiri means “leftovers” and refers to the small pieces of dark mulberry paper bark that are left in, or added to the paper vat. The image was mounted to a burned birch panel, a few thin layers of encaustic medium were applied and additional oil pigment was selectively added in areas to balance out the tone.

Raven Boy II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see in the image what it looked like before adjustments were made and before it was printed.

Raven Boy

In the next image of the contemplative Buddha, there are a few more steps involved. Contemplative Buddah

The background of the image is a photograph of a leafless shrub shadow printed onto scrapbook paper (which had the image of the ‘map’ on it). It was then adhered to a small cradleboard. A few layers of encaustic medium were then applied and the next image, which is an inkjet print of Buddha’s profile, was trimmed and adhered with encaustic medium. The wax medium also makes the paper translucent, allowing the visual information underneath it to show through. It is an artistic choice.

Background

Buddah

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the final example, “Blue Line,” it is a macro shot of a surface in the Albuquerque Railyard (a worn surface of peeling paint with the edge of some spray art). The image was taken so that there is no reference to what the image is, which is an abstraction of what many would see as mundane. The example on the left is the image ‘as is.’ The one on the right is printed on watercolor paper, adhered to a small cradleboard and a few layers of encaustic medium is applied to the surface.

Blue Line

Blue Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

My work is often about spontaneity, experimentation, exploration of color and textures; offering the viewer a different perspective of the ordinary. Being an artist who works in a handful of mediums, I love to capture what would be considered mundane, and with these moments, celebrate them. It is in these details of life that often go unnoticed that I see as the essence of living in the moment. Combining mediums such as encaustic and photography offers me more ways in which to express this.

Abstract Photography

Guest post by Tim Anderson
For more than 30+ years I had been photographing landscapes, portraits, nudes, etc. More recently, I have shot several times at the historic Albuquerque Railyards (Santa Fe Railway Shops, below) using models and conducting workshops. When the opportunity again presented itself for me to shoot at the Railyards, I didn’t waste any time accepting, even though my studio partner and I would be hosting a workshop focused on the building itself. Albuquerque Railyards
Once we arrived at the site we had a meeting and told everyone to split up and get back together an hour later. Being one of the workshop leaders I began to walk around the main buildings supervising as well as seeing what I could find of interest to shoot.

Albuquerque Railyards-AbstractMy interest was peaked when I first saw the red door (left). I was watching a couple of students photographing on the other side of the door and as I was going over to meet with them I looked again at the door. But this time the peeling paint caught my attention. From that moment on I became more of a student than a teacher. I looked for the abstract in everything I saw. No detail was too small, no peel of the paint too insignificant. I was hooked.

I began to look at the details instead of the whole picture. The main building, the machine shop, is more than 165,000 square feet of empty space, with a multitude of nooks and crannies just waiting for me to discover them. And that is just one building on this 27-acre site! After more than four hours of shooting I came away with almost 200 photographs, mostly abstracts, some of which are pictured (below) in this post.

Albuquerque Railyards-Triptych

As a result of that shoot I now look at things much differently, whether it be the expanse of a mountainside or the landscape of a nude.

You can see more of Tim’s Railyards abstract work, here.

The Photographic Dream World of Karin Hillmer

Guest Post by Karin Hillmer

Photography and Storytelling

I love books. Growing up in Germany I enjoyed reading my parents’ Brockhaus, the multi-volume German encyclopedia. These volumes were similar to what Google is for us today, a source of endless discovery to stimulate the imagination. In my photography, which is all about storytelling, I combine my thoughts, fears, hopes and fantasies with the external world around me. Books as visual objects and as a source of discovery—as well as words—have always been important to me and have informed my art. The transitional space between sleeping and waking serves as fertile ground to retrieve thoughts and emotions from the past, question the soul, and weave them into visual impressions and fragments of our material world. It is in this conceptual collage process that I unify these magical worlds to visualize my stories in photographs.

KarinHillmer-Still somewhat unsure, the youth set out to question when existence begins

Still somewhat unsure, the youth set out to question when existence begins, ©Karin Hillmer

KarinHillmer-The armillary rises quietly from the depths of the universe

The armillary rises quietly from the depths of the universe, ©Karin Hillmer

Dreamlike Imagery

Three artists who have most influenced my work and who incorporated dreamlike imagery, actual collage fragments and multi-faceted contemporary material are Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg. I was first introduced to their work during my undergraduate studies in art history when I also studied drawing, painting and photography. From the outset, my camera was searching for staged scenes or theatrical set ups and found objects. Sun and daylight are my favorite sources of light as it best describes the tones in my color that I seek.

KarinHillmer-Nobody really expected the compass to cross the veil of illusion

Nobody really expected the compass to cross the veil of illusion, ©Karin Hillmer

KarinHillmer-The Book of Sand, without beginning - without end

The Book of Sand, without beginning – without end, ©Karin Hillmer

Jorge Luis Borges

My series of photographs Infinity & Dreams, which were published as a book under the same name, are inspired by the short stories of the great South American writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. When I initially read his story, “The Book of Sand,” comprised in Collected Fictions, I interpreted the infinite book that Borges describes as analogous to the Internet which grows infinitely; where today’s first page is no longer tomorrow’s.

In this series of photographs, I weave Borges’ narrative into my personal enigmatic imagery, riddles and universal symbols. I combine my fascination with Time with my interest in our present technological world. I explore a moment inspired by memory and fantasy. Each photograph represents a point on a continuum in time with the image titles and symbols often hinting at other dimensions along this path.

KarinHillmer-Where-infinite-combinations-of-the-symbols-are-now-and-now-and-now

Where infinite combinations of the symbols are now and now and now, ©Karin Hillmer

Joe Zammit-Lucia’s Wild Animal Portraits

Joe Zammit-Lucia photographs wild animals. I first became aware of his stunning work in the January/February, 2006 issue of Camera Arts magazine. I was immediately drawn to the animals in his portraits. They were mesmerizing to me and I found myself staring at them and returning to them many times, almost spellbound by what I was seeing.

Joezammit-lucia-kingdetail

King (triptych) (detail), Archival pigment print, © Joe Zammit-Lucia

 

 Zammit-Lucia considers himself a conceptual artist working with photography to explore issues relating to the human animal.  He is one of the world’s leading animal portrait artists, developing unique ways to use animal portraiture to explore the essence of “animality” and humans’ relations to animals.

 

In his portraits he wants to convey that individual animals have personalities, character and emotions and that these qualities differ from individual to individual. He wants to powerfully engage the viewer to look at wild animals as treasured individuals and to ask themselves, “Can I relate to this animal as an individual rather than as a mere specimen of species?”

Zammit-Lucia does animal portraiture in order to change the conception that some humans feel that the world is ours and that all other forms of nature are met with a certain amount of disdain and a lack of responsibility.

 

Joezammit-lucia-Majesty

Majesty, Archival pigment print, © Joe Zammit-Lucia

Through his work he hopes to get people to connect more with wild animals as individuals, much like they would with their pets. He wants to preserve the lives of wild animals by asking human animals to look into the eyes of the animals he photographs, and hopefully see the soul of the individual. Can you see what he sees?

His work has been presented in major public forums  such as the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and in private galleries in Europe and the USA. His images were exhibited in Venezia Immagine on the occasion of the Venice Biennale in 2007.

 

Hunted, Archival pigment print, © Joe Zammit-Lucia

Hunted, Archival pigment print, © Joe Zammit-Lucia

 

(triptych) (detail), Archival pigment print, © Joe Zammit-Lucia

Vanishing, Archival pigment print, © Joe Zammit-Lucia.

He has served as special adviser to the director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is currently a member of the IUCN Commission for Education and Communication; he is also a member of the advisory board for the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida International University, a board member of the African Rainforest Conservancy, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

 

 

Joe Zammit-Lucia

Joe Zammit-Lucia

Zammit-Lucia is both author and photographer of “FIRST STEPS: Conserving Our Environment” based on a United Nations exhibit.