Well okay then. Here's the draft.
I am a photographer working in a variety of photographic genres, both still and motion picture. If you are reading this artist statement, you are probably viewing my catalogue or display of Fine Art Photography. What does Fine Art Photography mean? Fine Art Photography is the creation of an image that is technically excellent and an expression of the artist’s vision. In documentary photography or photojournalism, the accurate rendering of an image as it appeared at the time of the photo is most important. The Fine Art Photographer is freed from that constraint and can create art by any means. Any technical tool available during the shooting of the photograph or the post processing can be fairly used to create an image that is an expression of the artist’s vision. In any photographic discipline, the photographer creates order from chaos. In documentary photography or photojournalism, the photographer accomplishes this by what he includes in the frame or by what he excludes. That can be achieved either by how the photocomposition is framed or cropped or by the use of selective focus.
The Fine Art Photographer uses these same techniques, but is not limited to them. All of the various post processing techniques, which may include cloning or manipulation of colors or exposure, such as High Dynamic Range manipulation are used to create the image the artist wants to create. While the photographic image may not actually exist in nature exactly as printed on the paper or canvas, it is the rendering of the artistic vision rather than the reality of the time and place of the photograph. This might be as simple as removing a fence or road or as complex as changing the texture or color of foliage. The word Photograph literally means to paint with light. So in much the same way the painter uses paints and brushes to create an image that is an expression of his vision, the photographer uses light, and the technology to manipulate it, to create an image that is an expression of his vision. The constraint I do place on my work is that the image must be one that could occur naturally.
I was raised with a deep respect and appreciation for both art and music. My parents instilled, supported, and nurtured both disciplines in me. During my formative years our family were frequent visitors to the Birger Sandzen Gallery in Lindsborg, Kansas. Sandzen, a Swedish immigrant, settled in Lindsborg, worked, taught and became an integral part of the Lindsborg/Bethany College community. If you visit the gallery, you will find huge canvases of bold impressionistic renderings of the massive landscape of the American West. These paintings, when viewed from a distance, capture not only the natural beauty of the land, but also the essence of the American West experience. Sandzen first visited the Rocky Mountains in 1908. It was this visit that captured his imagination and sparked his enthusiasm for the grand landscape.
I have loved the Rocky Mountains since my first visit too, although I was four years old at the time. I was captivated by the same enthusiasm that Sandzen felt. Since age four I have broadened my appreciation to encompass what can best be called the American West, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the Desert Southwest, the Oregon High Desert, the iconic vastness.
Much of this landscape has changed dramatically since Sandzen first laid eyes on it in 1908. Some of the land has been protected from development and remains much the same, but much has also been developed and most will have many, many times the number of visitors who might have been there sometime in 1908. It is my goal as an artist working in photography to create images with modern photographic equipment that might have been taken early in the 20th Century. In addition, I seek to use much the same bold pallet of colors that Sandzen used to render his artistic vision of the land. Although I seek my own vision as an artist, it is certainly true that Sandzen has been a major influence. While he used the brush strokes and color of the impressionist, I seek to render the landscape in as great a detail as modern photographic equipment will allow.
At one point in my career I followed the work of Peter Beard. During the period of time Peter was living and working at his camp in Kenya, he would print his photographs showing the sprocket holes. He did this to prove that he had framed the shot the way he wanted it in the camera and didn’t depend on cropping during the printing process to accomplish his vision. While this might be a noble effort in documentary photography or photojournalism, it doesn’t fit my vision for Fine Art Photography. My goal is to produce a photograph that is both technically excellent and a visually pleasing rendering of my artistic vision. Within this definition, cropping and other post processing techniques are open to me. The photographs you see, either in the catalogue or display, meet these criteria. In the end a photograph isn’t a portrayal of what you, either the photographer or the viewer see, it’s an expression of what you feel. I hope my photographs accomplish this for you and I hope you enjoy them. Thank you very much for your interest.