Thursday, August 23, 2012

Perceiving the world through a lens

Who thought I'd be lured out to shoot in August after the way July went?  Well, thanks to a cold wave, I've been gleefully snapping away.  While processing images, I started looking back to my earlier prints and comparing them to what and how I shoot now.

Moving back to Kentucky about 5 years ago set my feet onto a slightly different path photographically.  My art journey started in Florida which is sort of like being a kid handed the really large box of crayons.  Everywhere you look, colors are abundant, huge prehistoric-looking plants practically grow while you are watching them, and there are a plethora of strange reptiles and majestic birds.  Moving back North forced me to try new methods as well as subjects.

Many new, gracious friends have introduced me to the most amazing sites and history lessons in and around Lexington and for that I am truly grateful.   Decay in Florida usually meant colorful rust and sun-bleached painted surfaces.  Decay in Kentucky is more subtle and harder to spot for someone used to looking for psychedelic colors crying out for attention.  After photographing a number of decaying houses, I've also started to discover that they have distinct personalities just like human models.  What's on the inside can be very different from my first impression of what's outside...  Here's an example from a recent expedition.  The outside of the house gave an impression of a whimsical architect gone bonkers.  The inside of the house, while not lacking in character, lent itself more to quiet, introspective, sepia-toned black and white images.

Shooting abandoned, derelict houses and buildings has started to teach me to loosen up.  It's in my nature to go into a shoot with expectations, but those carefully made plans are usually tossed out the broken window of the mysterious dwelling I've cautiously entered.  You never really know what you might encounter.  I've been amazed by grand sweeping entryways with woodwork that makes you want to weep, but then again I've also been struck dumb by walls swathed in cheap moldy paneling.  Getting to experience this most recent house was humbling because I spent my time there knowing that the house was scheduled for demolition just days after my visit.

Okay, enough pontificating on the wonders of neglected Kentucky whiskey baron's mansions and distilleries!  I am one month away from my next encaustic workshop with Bridgette Guerzon Mills in Chicago.  This has certainly been a great year for getting to attend some workshops! 

I'm also currently working on a collaborative project with fellow photographer, Rene Hales.  During our work sessions, I have learned a new lesson concerning photography and encaustics.  Sometimes soft, overexposed images work really well when coated with wax!  The dreamy quality is enhanced and the light from the image glows beneath the wax.  Hurray for happy accidents and artistic playtime!  Below is a teaser from the project which will be on display September 21, 2012, at the M.S. Rezny Gallery & Studio in an exhibit called "Collaborate!".