Newsletter #141: April, 2017
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
I Photograph in Both Traditions
This is the 141st consecutive monthly Newsletter; my TWELTH YEAR without missing a single month! Enjoy!
Wherever I go, and whatever subjects I photograph, I photograph in more than one tradition; representational and other more expressive traditions. I am following a creative urge to push beyond seeing and photographing the world as we normally see it. I am enjoying the inventive process of creating new forms of reality. It’s a creative, inventive, and exciting process for all visual artists. Enjoy!
Our goal at the Chris Harris Gallery is to share photographic adventures and inspire others in the creative process. Please share this Newsletter with friends. We appreciate your interest and continued support for my work.
A Passion to Share Creativity: Can’t wait to start our 2017 photo workshops
Farwell Canyon: I can’t stay away!
Ireland: It’s always a highlight to visit my sister
1. A Passion to Share Creativity: Can’t wait to start our 2017 photo workshops
The one thing I love about being Canadian is the seasons, especially when one lives as far north as I do in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region of central British Columbia. As a photographer, the spring/summer/fall season is short, but it is intense. I live it with zest and passion.
This spring urge to get outdoors with my camera and be creative had me thinking that the first photographic workshop of the season is fast approaching. Teaching partner Dennis Ducklow and I are pumped! Imagine, a one-week intensive course called “Develop Your Creative Vision”; how exciting is that!
To share a little of that excitement for creativity, I went back into my image files from last fall’s workshop and pulled three images which for me exemplify creativity. Two were made in the cannery’s net loft and one out on the beach where rocks at tide level are covered with seaweed. Enjoy!
Fishnets and barn
Old net loft building
2. Farwell Canyon: I can’t stay away!
I just love visiting the grasslands. It’s quiet, peaceful, and calming; a wonderful place to exercise creativity. Last month I visited Farwell Canyon for one last look before the snow disappeared for another year.
The road to Farwell Canyon
As I looked at the silt cliffs towering above the Chilcotin River, I noticed there was more contrast than usual. As the last vestiges of snow melted, traces of dark moist areas contrasted with areas that had dried in the sun. It was a rare sight of line and form interspersed with big sagebrush. I switched to a focal length of 400mm and zeroed in on compositions that emphasized line, form, texture and contrast. For even greater emphasis, I switched to black and white.
With every subject, I photograph in both traditions; representational (above) and expressionist (below). This is how I always photograph now.
Big sagebrush on silt bluffs
3. Ireland: It’s always a highlight to visit my sister
My sister Jane had just been released from an extended period in hospital, so I visited her earlier this month to help her transition back home. Here are a few images I made during my stay.
Emphasis on rectangular form based on colour and texture
Explosion of spring growth
I am always excited to visit Jane’s studio. Every square inch is crammed with creative energy, and I can never wait to carry on that creative tradition that resides there. However, instead of paint brushes, paint and canvas, I use camera, lenses and a sensor.
View down the studio
Jane’s late husband Tony O’Malley’s studio which remains exactly as he left it
Then it was time to be creative. I tried new techniques and searched for new perspectives.
Tony’s paint tools: expressive narrative
The next three images need a little explanation for photographers who are interested in learning new ways to express themselves. As always, I begin with experimentation; using the tools of my craft in new and often unfamiliar ways. When I started shooting this series of images I had no idea where my experimentation might lead me. I just started.
Each photograph below shows at least one picture frame. Each frame had an original Tony O’Malley painting in it. Also, each of these framed paintings were in different areas of the studio. By walking around the studio, choosing the elements I wished to incorporate into the final narrative image, I made a series of multiple exposures resulting in the photographs you see below. In each case, the original O’Malley paintings have been replaced with a new narrative; narratives that I have personally created using subjects from within the studio.
It took me a while to figure out how to do this. I had never even contemplated this result ever before. It was the result of being fearless in trying to express myself in a new way.
Two framed Tony O’Malley paintings that no longer exist in their original form
These are Tony’s tools that he may have used to make the painting that was originally in this frame: I
These are Tony’s tools that he may have used to make the painting that was originally in this frame: II
Just as painters have found new ways to express themselves (impressionist, cubist, etc.), so can photographers. By visualizing form in more abstract ways, I am able to go beyond all that would be recognized by anyone standing beside me. I am creating new forms of reality. This creative process is so exciting!
Enjoy your own creative visual journey. I’ll be back next month. Meanwhile, I am wondering where I might go and what I might see. Wherever that might be, I’m excited to go there! Have fun!