“Honor your humanness and all of your feelings—the messy ones, the growing pains, the ache—because we can’t have the dark without the light.”
—Sabrina Ward Harrison
I should clarify something. This is not a collection of photographs. It is a collection of images.
The difference? Historically, photographers documented reality. This duty used to belong to painters until the advent of photography, which simply portrayed reality better. We talk about technological disruption like it was born with the iPhone and Netflix, but this shake-up 150 years ago had an immediate and permanent consequence—painters gained a freedom they never thought they had.
The result: an explosion of new styles—from Impressionism to Futurism to Cubism. Painters still interpreted reality, but they were newly liberated to paint outside its confining lines.
Photographers gained their own form of liberation with the arrival of color photography, which is around the same time Ansel Adams entered the photography scene. He helped expand the scope of black and white photography as an art form by using it to, as he said, “realize a desired image—not the way the subject appeared in reality but how it felt to me and how it must appear in the finished print”.
Unbound by cultural constraints, black and white photographers like Adams utilized darkroom and printing technology to dodge, burn, and sculpt photographs to their liking. Color photography, which has a much more complex development and printing process, remained bound by technological constraints.
That is, until the arrival of digital technology. Today, color photographers enjoy a degree of control over their images previously only available to black and white photographers. It is an age in which I am happy to be alive.
I am attracted to color as a form of personal expression. Scientists are beginning to find that we don’t so much as see color, but feel it. That is certainly true for me.
Color touches something in my core and has the power to soothe, excite, and calm me. I’m drawn to it in both the natural and made-made worlds. Thanks to digital technology, I am able to express how the color in these environments makes me feel in the same manner as those liberated painters and black and white photographers before me.
Like them, I am more interested in expressing personal emotions than representing the world around me. Instead of a brush and canvas, I use a camera and computer. I shoot in raw format, which gives me image data straight off the sensor, bypassing the camera’s compression and profiling.
This allows me to interpret the image data, rather than the camera. Then, using software, I mold and tone the images . . . from within.