“Impressionist Style Photography”


Are these photographs or are they paintings?

So many people are asking me this question, I felt like I needed to respond with an explanation. Simply put, all these images begin as photographs. Through the magic of some serious digital tools, utilized on my 12 core MacPro computer they are transformed into a more painterly style or look. Let me explain….

Over the last 10 years alone an unbelievable multitude of changes have collectively altered the way images are captured, transformed and printed. I personally have not used a film camera since 2005. Film cameras for cinema- photographers creating feature length movies are being replaced by very elaborate digital capture devices. My expensive medium format Mamiya RZ film camera system lies dormant in a closet. I even have a 4 x 5 field camera. It uses film that is very difficult to find a place to have it developed. These film cameras, I have now been replaced with a Nikon that was state of the art in 2007. Now, even newer tools are surpassing its capabilities. My vintage darkroom equipment, enlargers and processors have been replaced by some state of the art digital printing equipment. Collectively, I believe all these technological advances are allowing me to break into new ground. I am finding I can be more “expressive” with the color and content of images I create. Almost as if I was painting, but using digital captures as “reference” images.

In 2008 I closed my gallery of fine art photography to pursue other pathways. That year I traveled to Paris, France and renewed my love for the Impressionst Artists. Monet, Cezanne, Degas, Renior, Van Gogh and Pissaro were at the top of my list. I found it interesting that the Impressionist movement (in the mid 1800‘s) was born out of changes in the centralized art world. The formal artists painting in a realist style were given the nod of approval by high ranking art critics at the time. Early on, these very talented “impressionist” artist’s (mentioned above) works were passed of as “rubbish.” Taking an interest in the timeline of “impressionism” made me realize there is a correlation between what seems to have happened then and what is happening with photography now. I could sum this up by saying that there are many new forms of fine art photography branching off from the traditional “realism” of photographic content. Mostly a result of having digital tools that allow us photographers to “alter” an image beyond it’s original state of realism. Some of us photographers doing this are the “rebels” of the era, creating new work that pushes into new and valid territory of photographic imaging.

To mold these images into this new “Impressionist Style” I use a number of software tools. Most notably, Photoshop to create, compose, and color the image into an initial composite that looks very photographic. At this point I utilize a series of “Plugins” created by Topaz labs to create “variable renders” from the initial composite. These layers are then re-entered into Photoshop in specific “blend modes” and opacity to achieve the end result. I feel that this “painterly” look grants me license to be more expressive and alter an image to my personal taste. It places me outside the boundaries of traditional photography. My intentions all along was to create something tastefully new and different. It requires me to be constantly making a multitude of “Choices” to achieve the end result. Only time will tell how well it is received….. much like the impressionist movement.

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4 responses to ““Impressionist Style Photography”

  1. Marilyn and I have always enjoyed your work, which we first came by whle you were near Bellweather and we miss what was an excellent gift shopping spot, but we really enjoy your new direction and love the painterly aspect of your new work, particularly when juxtaposed with your earlier pure photography.
    Best of luck and Happy new year,
    Bryan Langlois

    • Hi Bryan,
      Thanks for the reply. It has been a great challenge to start this new direction. Just so you know my “earlier pure photography” is still available through my website or visit me at Donette Studio to review the possibilities. I am just really focused on this new thing. I am also doing some product photography in the studio there.

      Best wishes to you,
      Mark

  2. Mark
    I wish you success with your blog. Information is always important. As a professional photographer I do have strong opinions on just what information should be available. For teachers information is part of their arsenel. As an artist it is part of the magic and should be treated as such. Magicians or great working chefs don’t divulge their secrets.That contributes to the power, and our fascination in what they do. I believe that is why we are able to wonder. Visual art/photography should be appreciated for its visual strength and ability to inspire.

    • Hey John,
      I have had others (like my business partner {Bev}) mention the same thing to me. I love your analogy that “Magicians or great working chefs don’t divulge their secrets.” I figured I would just give the curious a “small taste” in a way, just to satisfy their inquiry. This post was a way to do that I think….. It’s validity will always be in question. Will it just leave them hungering for more? That will be when I put the breaks on regarding “more information.” Only time will tell. Thanks for your comments, as I appreciate them coming from such a talented artist as yourself.

      I am really bummed I was not on your trip to Patos. I love that place. Blair says he plans on doing another in January. Hopefully we can get together for some J and B on the rocks and perhaps an extended conversation regarding our chosen paths. Happy Holidays to you!!!!

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