Doug Gritzmacher

One of my first memories is of opening my eyes on the morning of my fourth birthday and seeing a roll top desk sitting next to my bed that wasn’t there the night before. 


I think the reason that the sight of a piece of furniture made such a lasting imprint on my memory at such an early age rather than, say, a new Tonka truck, is because it enabled me to do what I have been doing for as long as I can remember—making images.


When I was young, it was drawing cartoons and comic books. In college, it was working at the student newspaper as a page designer, illustrator, and photographer. Since college, it has been designing graphics, making TV shows and films, and shooting photos for clients. 


As exciting and rewarding as those image-making endevours have been, fine art photography has been a place where I get a chance to express my own personal vision and, of all the image-making roles I’ve held, the one I find most satisfying. The chance to author a fine art image from conception to completion is not just rewarding, but also is, for me, necessary.


When I was a kid, I’d tack up my completed drawings above my roll top desk on a bulletin board. I suppose I did so for the admiration of my parents, but I think it was more for me. Seeing something that I had created provided me with self-confidence, energy, and purpose to living.


These days, walls and screens have replaced the bulletin board, but the satisfaction is the same. Making fine art images additionally has become a way for me to connect with others. Creating art requires inward isolation, but the final visual expression has the power to bind, inspire, and comfort others because it reminds us that no matter how personal our feelings may seem to be, we are never alone with them nor the artist with theirs.


As the abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann once put it, “To experience visually, and to transform our visual experience into plastic terms, requires the faculty of empathy.”