No Pixels Are Harmed...
No Paintbrush is Dampened...
Terrible Things Are Done To Light

How and why I do what I do

People often ask me how I create some of my images. Many of them ask what computer program I use. Well, I don't use any computer program - they're all simple photographs produced entirely via photographic processes.

The Impressionist photographs are done with an old technique and a (reasonably) recent widget. Basically I'm just shooting through a sheet of rippled glass - something like a shower door. This is a technique that's been around for a long time, but it's not often used because it's just not that usefull. You have to set things up just so in your studio, you can only do certain things, etc..

In the late 1980's a photographer named Chris Beltrami had the bright idea of putting a screen behind the glass. Now you can use this technique with any image you can get on a slide. He does/did a seminar and sells a kit on this. At the time I'm writing this his website is being re-designed. I ran across this technique in 2001 when a co-worker displayed some Impressionist images at an Art Festival we were both in. He'd attended the seminar and purchased a 'Beltrami Device'. I hunted down Mr. Beltrami and managed to buy one for myself. Click here if you want full details on the widget and the process.

I've recently picked up the excellent book "Photo Impressionism and The Subjective Image" by Freeman Patterson and Andre' Gallant. It has some techniques I'll be playing with as soon as I can. Watch for updates!

In addition to the 'regular' Impressionist images I also have fun with things like macro shots - extreme closeups that let you view landscapes you never knew existed, as well as some other fun ways to stop light and capture a mood.

So that's the how of my images. As to the why well, partly it's because I find these methods easier. While I could produce a very similar image with PhotoShop and a set of filters, there's no way I could make a set of images in the same time. With PhotoShop I'd be settings parameters, applying filters, creating masks, blurring, feathering, adjusting luminosity, etc., etc.. With my widgets and toys I just go twist my slide projector's lens to zoom the image and/or move the screen a bit further in or out. I can go from an image that's so lightly distorted it just looks a little out of focus to one so heavily distorted it merely hints at the original scene in less than a minute.

But the main reason I use these archaic seeming methods is simple: I enjoy them.

While I could, in theory, take up a paintbrush and lay out a dreamscape, it's just not my way. Taking a macro lens and peering down inside a day lilly to discover golden grains of pollen gleaming like the eyes of some lurking beast is something I find fun. My almost total lack of drawing skills isn't even an issue - after all, I like abstract art.

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