As a musician and artist, I have long pondered what makes the essence of something. Playing jazz, how far can the melody, the harmony, or the rhythm bend before the song becomes unrecognizable? In any style of music, what are the elements that truly distinguish and identify the genre? As a photographer, I question the feelings evoked by objects, and how to capture that feeling without necessarily capturing the object in a literal image.
The Impressionist series is a body of work in progress. Photography has deep connections to the Impressionist art movement. The advent of the Carte de Visite in the 1850’s made photographic portraits affordable to a much wider audience. Some artists were losing commissions, and looking for new streams of revenue. Some artists were fascinated by the new technology and it’s ability to capture a moment. Artists could now freeze time to see the tension and lines of a muscle at work mid action or to capture the soft lines created by shutter drag from long exposure photographs, both influences on the the paintings of Degas. Others, like Monet, were intent on capturing a moment in real time through painting. And freed from the constraints of representational photography, they began to explore light, color, motion, feeling.
With representational photography having become ubiquitous in our society, is it time for fine art photography to push it’s explorations in new directions like the Impressionists? In each of these photos, I have used long exposures, moving the camera during the exposure to paint the seen in brush strokes of light. In editing the photos, I focus in on the color palette, enhancing pastel tones and adjusting the clarity to create the mood. Finally, the images are printed on a linen textured paper to add a hint of a painter’s texture to the prints. My hope is that the images have the same evocative and emotional impact as the work of the Impressionists and that they capture the essence of a moment or a place.