Q: How has the use of photography in your work changed over the decades?
New York, NY
A: From the beginning in the mid-1980s I used photographs as reference material. My late husband, Bryan, would shoot 4” x 5” negatives of my elaborate setups using his Toyo-Omega view camera. In this respect Bryan was an integral part of my creative process as I developed the “Domestic Threats” pastel paintings. At that time I rarely picked up a camera, except to capture memories of our travels.
After Bryan was killed on 9/11, I inherited his extensive camera collection – old Nikons, Leicas, Graphlex cameras, and more. I wanted and needed to learn how to use them. Starting in 2002 I enrolled in a series of photography courses (about 10 over 4 years) at the International Center of Photography in New York. I learned how to use all of Bryan’s cameras and how to make my own big chromogenic prints in the darkroom.
Along the way I discovered that the sense of composition and color I had developed over many years as a painter translated well into photography. The camera was just another medium with which to express my ideas. Surprisingly, in 2009 I had my first solo photography exhibition at a gallery in New York. Bryan would have been so proud!
For several years now my camera of choice has been a 12.9” iPad Pro. It’s main advantage is that the large screen let’s me see every detail as I compose my photographs. I think of it as a portable, lightweight, and easy-to-use 8 x 10 view camera. My iPad is always with me when I travel and as I walk around exploring New York City.
It is a wonderful thing to be both a painter and a photographer! While pastel painting will always be my first love, photography has distinct advantages over my studio practice. Pastel paintings are labor-intensive, requiring months of painstaking work. Photography’s main advantage is speed. Photographs – from the initial impulse to hanging a print on a wall – can be made in minutes. Photography is instant gratification, allowing me to explore ideas much easier and faster than I ever could as a painter. Perhaps most importantly, composing photographs keeps my eye sharp whenever I am away from the studio. I credit photography as an important factor in the overall evolution of my work.
Comments are welcome!
Posted on May 13, 2023, in 2023, An Artist's Life, Creative Process, Domestic Threats, New York, NY, Photography, Working methods and tagged 12.9” iPad Pro, 8 x 10 view camera, advantage, allowing, around, ”Domestic Threats”, beginning, camera, capture, changed, choice, chromogenic, collection, compose, composing, composition, courses, creative, credit, darkroom, decades, detail, developed, discovered, distinct, easier, elaborate, enrolled, evolution, except, exhibition, explore, exploring, express, extensive, factor, faster, gallery, Graphlex, hanging, husband, important, importantly, impulse, inherited, initial, instant gratification, integral, International Center of Photography, killed, labor-intensive, learned, Leicas, lightweight, material, medium, memories, minutes, needed, negatives, New York, Nikons, overall, painstaking, painter, pastel painting, pastel paintings, perhaps, photographer, photographs, photography, picked, portable, prints, process, rarely, reference, requiring, respect, series, setups, starting, Studio, studio practice, surprisingly, Toyo-Omega, translated, travel, travels, view camera, wanted, whenever, wonderful. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Great post! I loved hearing how she transitioned into a new medium. I connect with the experience of loss, pain being a stimulus for new beauty and perspectives.
Thank you, Catharine.