In the Studio with Greg Caldwell
This Saturday we introduce you to Seattle-based photographer, Greg Caldwell!
Each image featured in this blog post is linked to an online gallery!
Click the images to see the various galleries featuring Greg’s work.
“I am a travel and fine art photographer with a passion for capturing how the play of light and passage of time inform the way each of us sees the world—-from this morning’s crash of surf on a stormy Pacific beach to an ancient piazza in the heart of Rome.
Natural light reveals new possibilities every moment. It illuminates the state of constant flux in which we live. I am drawn to this ephemeral play of luminosity as it literally “sheds new light” on people, places, and cultures. My photographic subjects all start with a stimulus in the real world and are “straight” images that might be slightly modified. Then there are the other highly modified images that come from that real-world stimulus but exist only in my mind.
Being led by this ephemeral nature of light leads to images that go beyond “freezing” a time and place. My photographs are a point of embarkation—-portals that take the viewer beyond, to a destination that is unique for each person. I invite viewers to meet me on my photographic journey and see where it takes them. There is always room in my photographs for people to see a new moment in their own way, which is why they tend to evoke such an emotional response.”
What was your first introduction to photography?
I was on a third-grade tour of my hometown weekly newspaper. The writing, the layout, the presses—it was all pretty boring. But then we went into a reddish dark and smelly place: the darkroom.
Someone slipped a piece of paper into a tray of liquid, where a black-and-white picture slowly materialized. Then the stop bath, the fixer, and the dryer. The finished print.
To put it simply, I was hooked for life about 65 years ago. I didn’t get into another darkroom until I was in the service in the late sixties and I was that kid again, still hooked.
I wound up at Western Washington University, where I went through the whole development process for a photographer of that era: black and white, color, dye transfer, etc. When the technology made it possible, I didn’t mind moving out of the wet darkroom and into digital.
Meeting a professor named Bob Embry didn’t hurt either; I got to put photography into a greater context.
The most challenging part of my process is editing and organizing. I started this part of the process rather late in the game.
I have approximately 13 terabytes of analog and digital files. Basically I wouldn’t have to pick up my camera again to keep making original work, but the camera is attached to my hand and my eye.
Other than the organizing, it’s trying to balance on a wet log in a swamp and focus on that lightning-fast red dragonfly I’d like to use as an asset in a montage depicting the end of the human species.
With your work, what is it that you hope to achieve?
I would like representation by a gallery or museum and a few one-person shows featuring huge prints before the previously mentioned dragonfly devours me. Other than that, I would be happy if my work would somehow contribute to understanding and respect between a few people who aren’t members of the same tribe.
What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?
When I know I’m finished with a work and it’s perfect in my mind. When it blows up without a hitch and is still perfect in my mind. Then I have an experience like I did when I showed at the Jansen for the first time a couple seasons ago. I walked up to a family who were grouped around my photo of the Monorail that I’d taken for the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. They were profuse about how great the photo was. A woman artist whose work I was admiring earlier in the evening came up and gave my photo a wonderful critique. Knowing that people connect with my work, and are moved by it, makes me happy.
What tools or programs do you use for post-processing?
When I walked out of a wet darkroom in the 1990s, I didn’t look back. I began on Adobe Photoshop version 3 and kept using Photoshop up to Creative Suite version 6, and when they moved to the cloud, I quit upgrading. I use Lightroom for its cataloging capabilities and its simple post-processing. But for serious image-making, I use a combination of a program called Affinity Photo, Photoshop, and a cluster of apps made by Topaz. I can’t say I have a favorite; the technology evolves so rapidly. My major concern is making images that will result in large, beautiful prints.
Greg’s digital studio through his unique eye!
Greg currently has a piece in our 2020 Juried Exhibit!
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Homage to Emily Carr #11
Light jet C print, 24×36