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.)