The Magic of Digital Fine Art Photography
(Published December 10, 2010)

The Magic of Digital Fine Art Photography - Book Cover
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MY PHOTOGRAPHIC BACKGROUND

Photography came into my life when I was in my mid-thirties, and it did so in a most interesting manner. I had been educated and trained in the world of business and finance and had started up a small company for which I needed the services of an advertising agency. The head of the agency I selected, at our second meeting, said they would take my account only if I were actively enrolled in art courses while we were working together. That struck me as a most curious requirement and I asked him why he had imposed it. He told me that he was an artist himself, that he perceived me as having the personality of an artist rather than that of a businessman, and that he wanted to twist my arm by way of encouragement.

Having very poor eye/hand coordination, the possibility of engaging in artistic pursuits had never occurred to me. Thinking about it, however, I realized that I had always had an interest in photography and that it takes very little eye/hand coordination to release a camera's shutter. I enrolled in a photography course at the local YMCA and, after a couple of classes I was hooked.

Initially, I followed the path of the purist — medium format camera, black and white images only, wet darkroom, the whole nine yards. It wasn't long, however, before I started feeling that something was missing — namely color — and began exploring the realm of color images. For a number of years, I photographed in both black and white and color.

Joining a camera club and becoming quite successful in their competitions helped build my self-confidence. I then began entering juried competitions where I won a number of awards. I also approached various galleries where my work was well received and was exhibited in any number of shows. At one group show in a New York Gallery, my work was positioned next to that of an acrylics painter with a photo-realistic style, but whose images were completely imaginary. I was envious because I wanted to be able to make images like that myself, but couldn't because the necessary technology didn't then exist.

Meanwhile, I had become fascinated by the psychology and neurology of creativity, so I went back to school to explore those subjects. Eventually I set up a hypnotherapy practice specializing in, among other things, the creative process. Eventually I undertook a research project and wrote a book entitled "The H.I.S.S. of the A.S.P. — Understanding the Anomalously Sensitive Person." Not surprisingly, I discovered that many (if not most) artists are unusually sensitive persons — not just in the emotional realm, but also in the physiological, cognitive, states of consciousness, and metaphysical realms as well. Time constraints were such that I set aside my work in photography for a number of years.

After completing the book, I was burned out. My daughter, who owned an art gallery on Cape Cod, suggested that I get back into photography in a more casual way, and that I become business manager of her gallery. I did so and, of course, always had a place to show my work.

By then I was photographing exclusively in color and began exploring the creative potential of Adobe's Photoshop image editing computer program. I found I could now do those things that I so wished I could do twenty years earlier and I was hooked all over again — what could be done in the world of digital photography was truly magical. Image editing is the part of the process that I find to be the most creative and that I now most enjoy — often immersing myself for hours in work on a single image. I can now have the final image look exactly like I want it to look — with the removal of unsightly distractions such as power lines, trash cans, automobiles, etc. and (less frequently) the addition of any accents that I wish.