Process of a large-format, landscape photographer.

I’ve been asked to give a talk at the Sebastopol Gallery on Feb 3rd at Sebastopol Gallery, at 6:30pm. I’ve only given a few talks. One that stands out, more for the venue than the talk, was in Sydney, Australia in 2006. That was an acceptance speech to a group of about 350 from 23 countries, for nominating me as the Artistic Ambassador for People to People’s 50th Anniversary World Conference. Though a humbling experience, it was brief.

For this talk I’ll go more into the process of producing an image - from loading film, scouting locations, shooting, scanning, how much/little I use Photoshop, to how I hand make my personal line of frames. I don’t intend to spend too much time or go into too much detail on the process, but it’s a common question I get, especially in regard to my use of Photoshop. My real challenge of the talk is to explain my challenge of how to capture and convey the sublime nature of a landscape. Frankly not sure to what depth I’ll try to explain this, or, for that matter how good a grasp I really have on it! I’ll write more on it later but an impetus for the whole thought process for me stemmed from viewing “Megaliths”, a book by Paul Caponigro. I was having a similar discussion with another photographer and his wife when he handed me the book without any real introduction. The book has rather simple, B&W images mainly of boulders in fields, as I remember. What was so stunning was the “feeling” they conveyed! It was like each image had a presence of spirit, each unique to the image. Since then, for the last 20 years or so, that has been my passion or goal - to understand the principals at work there, to apply those principals, and to convey them to others. I can’t say that I’ve completely succeeded, but, I’ve been told enough from people viewing my work in person that they have an intangible presence, more than what is in the picture. Hopefully my thoughts will form into a coherent discussion of this transcendental subject by the time I talk. If so, surely a blog it will make!

Image: Bennet Valley #2, February 2011.
Bennett Valley #2