Afar Travel Photography Awards – “From the Deep”
This is quite an unusual series you have created. You are obviously a fan of trompe l’oeuil effects as the French would say, and your work is all about concealing and revealing the adventures and threats that lie within nature. Do these work cohesively? Of course. Your palette is restricted to three colors, earthy oranges, deep greens and frothy whites, your surf landscapes taken from a high vantage point are consistent. And the game you play with your audience involving hidden creatures is alive throughout. My only concern is that you have different aspect ratios, I understand how the narrative is enhanced by cropping, but I would prefer in work like this, which is a puzzle or game, for the square format to prevail.
Technically these are flawless, there is a richness of detail and texture in the water that plays against the minimal colors in an effective way. I certainly hope that these are images that sustain huge dimensions, because I imagine them printed large in public spaces. I think they have a commercial appeal which could place them in an ocean front home as well as an aquarium, zoo, lobby, natural history museum, library etc… etc…. My feeling is you should pursue sales as a photographer and illustrator.
Your captions are funny, a little dramatic perhaps, but you have a flair for fantasy and romance, so they are fitting. As far as your pictures go, the most successful for what you are trying to achieve, I believe is #3, in terms of symmetry and power. I have some trouble reading the croc and the raptor, and I am not sure a Bison belongs in this series (though I get the analogy to snow).
There is something I want to mention to you, though I always hesitate to suggest changes in artists’ directions. Nevertheless, this is it: there will always be an audience for the WOW effect (“how did he do that?”). I find that the tricks of our trade please the masses more than the “academy” however. That may be good for sales, but from my point of view, fine art does not need to shout. I would be happy to see your remarkable surfs without the animal effects. Alone they possess all the danger and wonder that you are hoping to achieve with your manipulations. The animals are fun, your photoshop skills are remarkable, but dare to trust your power to please through light, color, line, frame and timing alone.
Good luck and thank you for sharing your images with LensCulture. I am including below some references for promoting your work.”
Visual Story Telling Awards – “Out of Chaos”
I chose your photo series, “Out of Chaos” to review because I find it visually interesting. I feel like this is very much a cohesive group of photos – visually and conceptually. I have taken some time to study the images you provided, looking for visual clues that communicate your ideas about your photography. You are obviously a skilled photographer with a strong sense of abstract and figurative composition. As a statement, you provided a creative, insightful poem:
“Tick tock, tick tock, the pendulum starts to sway,
Father Time awakens with the dawn of the first day.
Mother Nature casts her gaze across a virgin Earth,
Her primordial soup, simmering on the hearth.
The first breath, the first cry, the first to be born,
From the depths beneath, humanity has spawned.
Walking the Earth, dominating all in his wake,
There is nothing on this Earth man feels he cannot take.
Then came the day there was no more fuel to burn,
Washed up, exhausted, it is the end of man’s turn.
Repenting only now the journey’s at an end,
Hoping for an afterlife into which he can ascend.”
Your portfolio is a collection of ephemeral images of the place where the water meets the shore. On the sandy beach frothy water spills upon the land, generating figures and scenes that quickly disappear. The rush of water, with sand, light, and color, produce snapshots from the origin of life! Your photos are testaments to impermanence in nature, but also as a metaphor for all things in the physical universe. White, gentle sloping lines and shapes form and dissolve at the whim of the tide.
Your photos are mysterious. And, I think your poem talks about your inspiration and approach for your photography. Based on what I see, I think you composed your images to create artistic, narrative experiences for the viewer. Compositionally, you are particularly interested in exploring lines and frothy organic forms of abstraction, which can serve to deepen the mystery of the images. I see that each photo tells a story about its subject matter. Though the images are microcosms of larger landscape scenes, they could easily be mistaken for aerial photos of much larger landscapes.
I appreciate that you submitted such a perceptive, poetic statement about your inspiration for these photos. It’s important to be able to express those ideas in an artist statement. An artist statement helps orient the viewer to what you are interested in regarding your photography and what you feel is happening with the photography. Thinking about your approach and what you are trying to accomplish helps shed some light on how to formulate a unique style. It helps bring more depth to the viewer’s understanding of the photos. Thank you!
Your photos also show the viewer that you are aware of this intimate relationship between nature, the water, the shoreline and the humans that born from and inhabit its surroundings. And I see that you are fascinated by the way the position of the camera can create new, almost abstract forms, especially when the frame isolates the subject matter from its surroundings. Its hard to identify your vantage point, but the images feel like the viewer is looking through your eyes as you float above the scenes. The fluid, organic surfaces, radiance of the sun on sand, and the textures in the frame define new earthly structures.
I think your visual your observations are very thoughtful. From a practical perspective, you look out over your subjects, study the shapes and textures they present, move in and out of light and shadow while looking for what catches your eye. I think this is a good description of what a lot of photographers do. Out of the infinite photographic possibilities that arise around you, these meaningful scenes are most likely to catch YOUR eye – the same scenes that go mostly unnoticed by others. Your thoughtful attention to the gracefulness in all these scenes and the way it relates to the viewer of the photos creates images that influence the way other people see these dramatic, environmental subjects. From there, you apply skillful editing techniques to bring these scenes to life!
On the surface these images have a type of simplicity that concentrates on surface patterns and rich tonality, but I also find them to be conceptually complex! These photos create a sense of mood, atmosphere, and drama. The designs lead the eye up, down, and throughout the frame in a way that makes the viewer feel as though they may have walked by these scenes and not noticed them. To me, the photos are interesting because they blur the line between art photography and painting. The images look like layers of white, liquidy paint, flowing across a sandy canvas. When I see the power of these images I would like to hear even more of your thoughts, your inspirations.
Your visual observations on the relationship between the abstract subjects and emotions are clearly important characters in your stories. I think you are also asking that the viewer be sensitive enough to look deeply at your images, to see the details and the metaphors you have included in the frame and to consider the how the natural scenes relate to the viewer and the beauty of these abstract and fluid forms. Your compositions are almost indefinable abstractions in that they look like shapes, lines, and textures moving through the frame. They focus on shapes with little indications of scale and orientation. Like I said before, the patterns and textures could be parts of vast landscapes, and without the idea of human scale there is no way to tell. The viewer tries to find their bearings bringing their own experiences to these mysterious scenes. They use their own experiences to recognize impermanent figures and portraits hidden in the water.
One of the things that is most interesting about your portfolio is the way that design and composition become primary subjects within the frame. For example, all your photos are very visually dynamic and could be seen purely as abstract designs. Also, the subject matter could be described as organic shapes, lines and textures, light and shadow.
I definitely see that you captured patterns, textures, and shapes that point to isolated “places” that may be hard to locate. These secluded scenes give the feeling of isolation and solitude. In all the photos there is a kind of ambience that is a kaleidoscope of lights and earthy colors, mysterious, and full of drama. The images also function in a way that communicates your experience to the viewer. Anyone that is willing to set aside their compulsion to have to identify exactly what they are looking at will relate to the feelings your images communicate.
The photos in this series talk about our origins and the impermanence of our own lives. They also speak about the way we are so closely related to all living things and how important those lives are to us as humans. We are physically and emotionally interdependent as living beings on this earth. In addition, these are beautiful photographic subjects! Each scene, like each person, has its own personality, physical characteristics, and emotional expressiveness. Because of this, I have thought about suggestions for where you could go from here. But, before I make a suggestion please know that I think your series is technically beautiful and conceptually interesting.
I can imagine these photos printed large, to inspire feelings of “awe” by creating a sense of scale for the viewer. Large-scale presentation could prompt the viewer to feel small when confronted by the ideas of standing in front of these painterly compositions. Viewers would feel confronted with unexpected perspectives and that could inspire creative interpretations. And, their emotional impact could be breathtaking.
My next observation/suggestion also has to do with presentation. I suggest that the photos would be effective in a book. I think your ideas, combined with the photos will make a more cohesive presentation. Also with a book, the viewer can hold the images, making the interaction more personal. It would be wonderful if you accompanied the photos with more of your poetic writing. You could even use the title of the series as the title for the book!
Your images are very dynamic. They are full of observations and questions about life, impermanence, and beauty! Your images prove that being observant and investigating is very exciting and who knows where it will lead. Also, don’t feel like you need to be married to the photography world. My advice is that you enter juried art exhibitions and/or show your work within art communities. I think that your images would do well in an “art” environment. Your photos really do cross a lot of boundaries, which is highly encouraged in the art world. I suggest you keep an eye on www.callforentry.org for themed calls for artists.
I have enjoyed looking at your photos and it is clear that photography is one of your passions! Your images and your project are very thought provoking and creative. They are full of stories waiting to be discovered! I would strongly encourage you to keep pursuing your interest in how these natural treasures evoke emotion. But, look at lots of portfolios and really challenge yourself to keep doing something unique, that you haven’t ever seen. I very much enjoyed looking at your photos and I appreciate the way your images are masterfully considered and carefully designed. I hope I have sufficiently answered your question. Also I hope this review is helpful and I look forward to seeing what you will do next!”
Art Photography Awards – “From the Deep”
“These images are intense Peter. There is of course a long history of this sort of aerial photography. Often aerial photographers are focused on a certain type of landscape that they can focus a lot more aesthetic control over: people dispersed across the beach with their umbrellas, farmers, plowing their fields… I’m sure you know what I am talking about. Yet this work has a much more decisive moment quality to it. No matter how you made the photographs, the result is that the images reveal happenings that feel so clear in their figurative resonance. But of course, that is the reality of the viewer; not what was actually happening in the in the water.
So, in answer to your request for feedback, I definitely feel these images form a cohesive body of work. While there are certain standard qualities that you have established through aesthetics, I really enjoy that you have inserted several variables within that standard. The resulting series has a lot of variety that expands upon ideas that are explored in each image.
In terms of high end galleries, I have no doubt that there is a market for this work. BUT… with work like this, I would guess that the gallery will want to see other series of your photographs too. In other words, if you attend portfolio reviews and/or have sit downs with gallery representatives, I would be prepared to show three or four different bodies of work that highlight a consistency and continuity to your way of thinking and doing work. While these photographs will pique their interest, they will also want to get a sense of your greater vision as an artist (just to be sure you aren’t a one-hit-wonder).
I like your statement a lot. It’s playful, intense, and also quite poetic. My only thought is that you might want to provide a little description of process. My assumption is that you didn’t levitate over these scenes but instead used a drone. But were you monitoring what the drone was seeing or are you taking grabs from a video? Whether it’s the Met, Tate or Time, all of them are going to be interested in knowing/sharing a bit of your process in making this work.
If it isn’t clear Peter, I find this work really solid. I hope I get to see the images in person one day (oh yeah, also mention medium, size, etc. in your caption field). And it seems obvious to also consider a book publication too…
Thanks for sharing your work and wishing you the best of luck.”