Right now I’m preparing my photographs for my booth at this year’s ArtExpo. This week, when I haven’t been interrupted by snow days, I’ve been working on Storm Front, an abstraction of a cholla cactus that I brought home from my stay Miraval last summer. This is one of those photographs that jumped out at me the moment I created it. It had promise, but I felt like something was missing — something was needed to make it really work. Ever since, I’ve been trying to figure out what needed to be done to make this photograph achieve its potential. Finally this week, after a lot of experimentation, I nailed it!
At this size, you don’t really see the details that make this photograph work. So let’s get focus in on one of the interesting areas…
This photograph is all about the interplay of subtle contrasts: open smooth abstraction interrupted by small, detailed textures. Light neutral colors playing against sudden dark edges. And above all, the implied motion of that long, jagged line cutting through the middle. The key was finding the right balance among all these qualities.
When I am editing my photographs, I usually work at this level of detail or greater. I work very very close, carefully dodging and burning the details, intensifying or diminishing textures and edges. It’s as much painting as it is photography. I’m very pleased at the way this one has come out.