My photographic compositions inhabit a non-ordinary visual space that is reached via the synergistic power of the digital darkroom. To make these images, elements from individual photographs are isolated, transformed and moved into place among elements similarly isolated from other photographs. The result is a sort of alchemical surprise that has the appearance of “reality” but is re-ordered to playfully escort us beyond the boundaries of our usual way of seeing.
As a photographer, my attention is attracted to the natural beauty and rustic architecture near my home along the Mississippi River in northwest Illinois. Small river-communities such as Galena, Savanna, and Thomson serve as gateways to the surrounding old-growth forest, wildlife refuge, unglaciated terrain, backwaters and migratory bird routes. This is where most of the individual “source images” for my compositions are captured and combined.
As a lifelong resident of northwest Illinois I have developed a deep appreciation for the unique beauty of this area’s natural environment. After studying photography as part of my Communication degree at Western Illinois University, capturing images of this area became a hobby, avocation and occupation. I learned photography in the traditional darkroom, but have developed a distinct affinity for digital processes and use them exclusively in my workflow.
I have exhibited and sold my creations in galleries, on the web, and in other venues across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. I am happy to have my work displayed in the collections of many patrons across the country, and I enjoy sharing my experience with students in the Photography and Graphic Design classes I teach at Highland Community College in Freeport, IL.
Most of my images are an amalgam of several photographs that are processed and combined in the digital darkroom using Adobe PhotoShop. Individual elements in source images are isolated with selection tools and moved to their own layers in the destination image. Further editing and composition techniques are then employed to refine the overall image. Commonly-used processes included layer mode settings, layer styles, opacity settings and transform commands. Filters are used with extreme reserve.
Frequently, an image culminates as a simple collection of things that have recently entered my field of experience; the elements inhabit the same visual space because they rose into awareness and caught my photographic eye in temporal proximity to one another. Ultimately, the elements of an image I create are usually connected more by synchronicity and serendipity than by logic, reason, or linear thinking.