No Rules for Good Photographs
“There are no rules for good photographs; there are only good photographs.” – Ansel Adams
You Don’t Take It, You Make It
Does an artist find magic in planning? Is the finished image exactly what she had in mind? What are the forces and variables that alter, manipulate and influence the artist? What variables –– idea fragments that wander across the mind like stray dogs –– does she adopt and nurture, giving them a new chance at a life of their own?
In this article, we will hear from various photographers ranging from lifestyle and portrait photographers, to commercial and fine art photographers. We have asked them to share their perspectives and process in the hopes of gaining a window into this ubiquitous but elusive craft called photography.
Through the View Finder
Sam Interrante is an East Coast lifestyle and portrait photographer. His work has taken him all over the map — and it’s not hard to see why. His portraiture seems to bubble and effervesce with joy and curiosity. You can feel the personality and life force of his studies.
We asked Sam for his perspectives on photography as an art form. “Photography in its purest form is simply capturing something. You have a camera, and you have a person to push the shutter to capture a moment, a story, a person, a scene — whatever it is in the viewfinder.”
He elaborates, “Photographic artistry is about all the choices the photographer makes to capture in such a way that elevates or enhances what is in the viewfinder. The artistry is about angles, high-key or low-key exposure, a deep or shallow depth of field, color, the light they choose to (or not to) use. There are so many variables within how an image is captured that will affect the feeling, mood, or idea created, and are contingent upon the photographer’s artistic choices.”
Portrait of a Photographer
Sam is not alone in the world of photographic artistry and lifestyle photography. There are hundreds of thousands of professional photographers in the United States alone, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Many of them find the marriage of artistry and commerce to be exactly the intersection of style and sustainability that keeps them fulfilled and passionate.
We asked Sam to describe his process when approaching a project. “I go into any photoshoot with a vision, with the openness to the possibility that my vision may change a little or a lot. For example, no two portraits will be lit and captured the same because each subject has different complexions, facial structures, etc. Staying fluid throughout the process and being willing to change (much as it is in all of life) I think, is so important.”
Photography as Fine Art
Emillions Art works with several artists who use photography to convey a feeling that reflects their worldview and artistic perspectives. Portuguese photographer, Ricardo Jorge Reis channels different places and times through his black-and-white photographs. Armed with his Canon EOS, he takes the viewer on a spiritual tour of his favorite cities, London and Lisbon.
Because he spends the same amount of time working in 35mm film as he does with digital technology, his perspective has a welcome graininess and grit. Reis’ sees the world through this earthy, organic lens with a focus on urbanity –– the restless city and the souls that dwell within.
“Photography is the most realistic representation of the art mediums and I wanted to mix it up, to blend the surreal, the dream world with the real. I started noticing that even if there were many people looking at the same thing as I was, they weren’t seeing what I was seeing, and honestly, I love the challenge of being able to put on paper the ideas and surreal world that is mine,” observes Reis.
Reis’ art reveals a picture of an artist who is hoping to accomplish more than recording the real. His goal is not simply to faithfully represent a particular street scene or location in printed form. He uses his camera to project his impressions of his surroundings with emotional color and a deep connection to what can only be expressed with the French word l’appel du vide –– which means “call of the void.” Reis seems to fill that void with emotional torsion.
“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” – Ansel Adams
Another photographic artist to consider is Dennis Sabo. Dennis is an internationally honored photographer specializing in contemporary abstract, landscape, and seascape photography. He is considered to be a master at transforming an image into something the viewer can connect with emotionally. Dennis’ arresting photography of the natural world captures light and its effect on the landscape.
“When I capture an image, it is my hope that it evokes an emotional experience for the viewer,” explains Dennis. “Perhaps it is how the subject is bathed in light, perhaps it is the lines of the subject that draws you in, or simply it is an image that you enjoy viewing. With a global community very much focused on environmental impact and fragile ecosystems, my artwork captures natural images and color with a perspective people easily miss.”
In Dennis’ work, we see that the literal image is not the primary piece of a photograph needed to communicate emotion. His goal of highlighting the features that many people might overlook helps us see so much more than a landscape, object or figure. Dennis is known for his bright and vibrant colors that intersect to create wildly exciting, abstract shapes –– which can be interpreted in various ways by different viewers. Sabo’s vibrant, multi-hued Okavango Twilight graces this month’s Portfolio Magazine Naples, followed by a feature article of Sabo’s work and creative process.
The Great Outdoors, Captured
To continue our education-by-immersion in the experiences and perspectives of first rate photographers, we turn to Ryan Saevitz. Ryan is an avid outdoors adventurist and uses his skill and talent to capture visages many of us would not otherwise see.
As a professional guide, photographer, sculptor, and mixed-media artist, he thrives on physical and mental challenges and feels most alive when he’s experiencing the thrills of the natural elements on their level. Saevitz guides white water rafting and wilderness expeditions. He also teaches kayaking at the Sundance kayak school –– mainly in Oregon and Idaho.
If you’ve seen his work, you know the electricity and energy that seems to emanate from his images. There’s a kind of sub-conscious vibration one feels when viewing them –– almost as though your soul is being called by the spaces and places captured in Saevitz’s art.
“I’m convinced that a meaningful relationship between people and their environment has endless benefits towards a more personally fulfilling and altruistic lifestyle.” Says Saevitz. “My artwork is a reflection of the natural, humbling, life-giving environments that I am inspired to find myself surrounded by on a daily basis. While this lifestyle is certainly not without sacrifice, the bold colors, powerful scenery and an unmatched sense of both scale and complexity serve as a necessary reminder that we’re all in this together.”
This perspective of wonder and a clear understanding of the fearsome power and awesome beauty of the world around him, motivates Ryan to translate the language of the earth into vivid imagery that can capture the soul.
A Plethora of Perspectives
These unique artists and their amazing statements of being — their art — are incredibly inspiring and illuminating. Seeing through the eye and lens of another person is the closest we may get to being inside the mind of one of our fellow travelers in life. Their richness, enriches us and we are grateful. From the Emillions team, Happy National Photography month!