Photography and art making as play.

Category: studio play


When I first started this blog in 2012, I ended my “About” introduction by saying: “In the meantime, I think I’m a painter at heart.”

If any more proof of that was needed, 2022 provided it in spades. I had reached a point by the end of the previous year where I felt uninspired and stuck. Composite photography I had long enjoyed doing, now left me cold. Photos I would have happily posted years ago elicited yawns of “been there, done that.” I honestly wondered if my photographic career of 50+ years was now on life support.

In February, I began playing around with a more “painterly” expressive approach that dispensed with photographic detail and realistic colors in favor of bold hues, softer lines and shapes, and more fluid distortions. Whether it was a response to dark times caused by Covid, the war in Ukraine, domestic upheaval in the U.S., the muted grays of a New England winter, or my own creative block, I don’t know. Not being an art historian I also can’t tell if associating my imagery with the Fauvist movement is an insult to its founding painters or a homage. Nevertheless, I consider them my collective muse.

Most photographs I’m taking these days become the raw material for another kind of image that more often than not bears little resemblance to the original. Although a particular subject can excite me, I know that clicking the shutter is just the beginning. At that moment, I have no idea what the end game will look like because the few tools that I use in my Photoshop toolbox drive the process. In severing the bond to reality, I enter my own previously unimagined world. The final photo might appear as an indecipherable mishmash at first glance but that’s a plus for me as long as its subject is revealed with a closer look, or it holds together as an abstract composition. The most successful images, I’d like to believe, speak to an underlying truth or essence, or evoke the “aha” response in viewers.

Now if only I could paint, I’d probably go back to using a phone strictly for talk :)

Pairs of “before” and “after” images from recent posts follow. (Click on images to enlarge.)

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Thursday, June 2, 2022

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Friday, February 25, 2022

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Thursday, December 30, 2021: Cookie Cutter Aisle

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Saturday, December 11, 2021: Paper Clip File

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Monday, August 23, 2021: Acquilted

A visit to the home and studio of master quilter Ann Feitelson was like being let loose in a photographic candy store.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

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Thursday, June 3, 2021

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

When my anti-selfie “Man with Some Issues,” came back from the museum where it had been hanging for three months, I couldn’t help but notice how beautifully and carefully it was packed. It was almost as if the wrapping itself was an attempt to comfort its subject. When I told the curator that whoever was responsible deserved his or her own gallery show of similar pieces, she told me his name was Kris Ludwig, Exhibit Services Manager and lead preparator.

Practically speaking, I was also impressed with the sticky, purplish tape Kris used that I had never seen before. It was easy to peel off and left no residue. He made that task even easier by folding the tape a bit back upon itself at one end so it didn’t have to be pried off the packing material.

Once my photograph was unwrapped, I started playing with lengths of the repurposed tape. The composite images below owe their vibrant colors to Photoshop’s blending and inversion options.

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Friday, May 14, 2021

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