The Artistry in Pine Cones and Lomography

Our latest feature for our gallery is Pine Cones. This work represents one of many occasions where my inner artist took full control and I go a little wild. Sometimes, I  follow a philosophy of “Don’t think, just shoot.” This type of photography is typical of an artistic type of photography known as Lomography. Most of the time, using this philosophy gives me quite beautiful but very unusual, and in the end, for one reason or another, unusable shots.   However, I enjoy taking pictures this way due to the sheer artistic nature of the technique.

Taken through a specific type of Russian camera, Lomography is a film photograph. Sometimes  blurs, light leaks, and other imperfections caused by the camera occur that represent this style. Other significant indicators of this style are the use of high contrast cross processing. Cross processing is the technique of using the wrong chemical solution to process a film than what the film normally requires. An artistic picture magically appears full of saturated colors and unnatural representations of color.

Pine Cones
Pine Cones

Pine Cones is an example of faux Lomography. I shoot and process my work in digital RAW.   So, obviously when I add the techniques of cross processing and vignettes to the work, I’m doing so from a computer and not a dark room. Just like a darkroom specialist applying the wrong solution on purpose, I’m applying the wrong digital filters, and in the final result no one really knows what result will occur.   Therefore, you may have to reprocess the picture several times to get the effect that you are looking for.  Or, as is more than likely the case, the picture does not make the final cut and ends up in the digital trashcan.

It’s a laborious process for sure, but one I think people can agree ends up with a final work of art that captures it’s subject in a way that no other type of photography can.

 

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Using Filters to Create Art from a Simple Photograph.

This dramatic walkway through a dense palm forest looks as if it is a pencil sketch.   Much to the surprise of some, I did not use the pencil sketch filter in Photoshop to create it.   Instead,  this photograph is a result of high definition processing, black cherry colored red filters and the liberal addition of both abstraction blurriness and heavy vignettes.

This work started out as something different. Originally, I desired to take several photographs of palm trees. Walking through parks in the state of Florida one would almost naturally suspect that palm trees would be both abundant and easily photographed.   Realistically, only half that equation works out.

Finding palm tress in Florida is like finding a mosquito in a swamp.  They are everywhere. There are thousands of styles and varieties, yet to this day, I have found only a handful worthy of the effort involved in lifting camera to eye.   The difficulty is not their shape or size, no, rather their blandness. Palms are just not very colorful in their own right. You have either a dark brown with green foliage or a long trunk of sandy grey.

So, when I partook of the adventure to capture a cluster of palms for my next piece, I was ever the optimist hoping that today would be the day that I could capture that elusive photogenic palm.

Walk Among the Palms
Walk Among the Palms

The scene itself had all the particulars I look for.  It had the palms, of course, a nice sidewalk style walkway and plenty of atmosphere.   However, when started the process of selecting works for further enhancement, I was markedly disappointed by the original results.   It was too brown, too exposed, and the natural lines in the photograph created by the trees were all wrong, at least for me.   Still, I had that hidden impression that this shot was worth something. There was an unexplainable artistic feeling I had about it.

That is when my muse hit.   That magical feeling of “what if I do this over here?” started to guide my senses and my hands. I started attacking the problems with filters, until I found the hidden picture within the picture.  When you use filters in the production phase of your art work you invariably end up painting with light a great deal.  A nip here and a tuck there, along with darkening a particular tree while enhancing another gives you varied results until finally your mind settles on the answer you were looking for.

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Exciting News from Florida

It’s great to announce that things are really moving forward for our gallery in Florida.   While A&A Photographic Arts has been a popular destination for the online art gallery aficionado, 3,450 social media followers alone can’t be wrong, and we have also spent the past year really expanding our place in the physical world.

Our Texas locations are still going strong.   We are still showing our works in both the Richardson and Addison Café Brazils located near North Dallas and we have plans to expand to other locations soon.

In March we announced our presence to the Florida art world by taking part in a month-long art show presented by Sun Gulf Art Gallery in New Port Richey.   We also recently became associated with the Tarpon Springs Art Association.   This organization is a very strong group of local artists who are forward thinking enough to see photographic art has as a new and upcoming fine art form.   We are always excited to be associated with organizations such as this.

Other real exciting news is our new expansion into Dunedin, Florida. The owners at Downtown Dunedin Deli & Grill have let us display and offer our art for purchase in the front of their restaurant. Dunedin is one of the prime locations around the Clearwater area for  fine art. There is a thriving artist community in the city and to present our art for the patrons of the popular downtown area is truly inspiring.

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Know Something Most Artists Don’t Know About Filters

This incredible capture of a local bird fishing by the side of a tranquil pond owes its drama and vision to the use of filters in photographic art.

I’m often called upon to explain what a photographic artist does to not only the everyday art lover, but often enough to painters and sculptors also. Many people, especially, other artists are often hung up with the use of photography as merely a recording tool for selfies. Slowly, those barriers of understanding break down more and more as people see the artistic results of science and art blended in perfect unison.

One of my favorite explanations  is that in photographic art the light is our paintbrush and reality is our stretched canvas. However, we need to add another line to that explanation as our work of art Water Bird in Copper this time displays.

Water Bird in Copper
Water Bird in Copper

Namely, a filter is our artist palette.

 

This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Mlaoxve
Public domain by its author, Mlaoxve

Artist palettes are stereotypically envisioned as large boards held by painters where they mix the colors of the paints they are going to use. It’s one of the oldest and most recognizable pieces of equipment in a painter’s toolbox.

 

Painters use palettes to mix their colors to achieve the perfect nuance of color that they then apply to the picture that they are painting. It allows them to lighten or darken paints to create help them create the highlight or shadow in the work according to their artistic vision.

In photography, the use of filters is nothing new. In fact, with out the use of filters color film would never have developed. Filters allow certain wavelengths of light, or colors, through to the lens while blocking others.   This is often used to stop glare and boost picture clarity. Or, in it’s artistic application; the humble filter can serve the role of the palette and dramatically enhance the drama and beauty of the picture at hand.

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The 55 Buick Roadmaster And Why I Did It

One of the more enjoyable aspects of creating fine art out of historical antiques like this ’55 Buick Roadmaster is learning about the history behind them.  Usually, with machines like cars and airplanes, aficionados like Jay Leno, bring out their slide-rulers and talk about all the old technical terms.

You get to learn the Roadmaster had  a Variable Pitch Dynaflow Transmission, and how with a 322 Nailhead V8 you get 236 horsepower. Or, you could even learn why one of these beautiful cars would be worth more if it had wire spoke wheels than the standard issue. It’s like communicating in another language.

But let’s talk art.  When I originally went to take the picture, I thought of just a candid shot of the grill and hood to show off the natural beauty of a Roadmaster. But, I had another idea.

First, I must confess that after living in the Southern States for a couple of years the concept of watching NASCAR on the weekend is not lost on me.   I’ve always loved the angles from the live cameras on the cars. The shot from the bumper showing the other car following you from 12 inches at 150 mph always raises the level of excitement.

The distinguishing characteristic of this one angle is that the lines are never straight on the car behind you. Because the car is so close, and moving at speed, the dynamics of the shot will always show a slight curve or bend in the fenders and hood.   Your eye views this  as speed. Or, in other words, it makes it look like it’s going fast.

55 Buick Roadmaster
55 Buick Roadmaster

Normally, a photographer would reach for a fisheye shaped lens to accomplish this task. I had two problems with this idea. First, I wanted a slight curve, barely distinguishable to the eye. I wanted the subtle effect of speed without the obvious reason behind it. So I’d be understandably nervous about overdoing it with a fisheye.   Second, and most importantly, I didn’t have a fisheye lens with me, so I had to make do positioning myself, and twisting the camera just a fraction to get the effect I was looking for.

In the end, I believe the goal of what I accomplished the look I wanted. So, help me welcome the 55 Buick Roadmaster to our Gallery. Don’t wait; this work looks incredible on a metal print. Contact us and get yours today!

Photographic Art that tells stories.

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