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To Take Pictures or Make Pictures

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

archival  print on antique lithography paper

The Great Good Place / Ebb and Flow Series © 2016

archival print on antique lithography paper

The Changing Times / Slow Dance Series © 2020

Archival ink on Hahnemuhle 100% Photo Rag Metallic Paper.

As the world is turning over a new cycle, and Americans await the change of administration, I have been doing just what I always do. I take walks and shoot pictures of things that attract my eye, mostly the changing patterns in foliage created by the shifting light as the breeze as it plays through branches. I utilize Photoshop until something speaks to me. I resize, and then I print.

The development and changes in the work happen of their own accord. The evolution is not so much planned as it is groped towards. About a month ago I was awarded a gift of a portfolio box of metallic paper from the renowned paper company Hahnemuhle. After some hesitation approaching this expensive, and different paper than I have been used to, I finally set to printing with my large format Epson printer. Although it is a relatively old printer in terms of the life-span of these machines, I was able to upload the correct profile for this particular paper developed for this model printer. (thank you Hahnemuhle) To get right to the point, the introduction of this paper to my repertoire changed everything for me. On this substrate, the images take on depth, seemingly glow from within.Seeing the results, my immediate response was to reprint everything I have ever done on it. Not possible, but that was how much it cast a new turn.

Up until now I have been using paper that has quite the opposite effect. It is an antique warm-toned lithography paper that I was gifted when a fellow artist in the community had passed away. The family gave me his flat files. After the movers got it into my studio, and with concerted effort, I was able to open the drawers and found each drawer of this 48 x 36" file was filled with a beautiful watermarked paper. Research revealed that it was made by a Swiss company whose factory had been turned into a museum 50 years ago. I had, what was said to be, the last of it. Since this paper was in my possession, and plentiful I printed like crazy, adjusting my images to what I eventually was able to rely on to translate from the monitor to the paper without what is called, the ICC Profile, I created a series I named Ebb and Flow. They are photos taken indoors, recording the light that reflected off objects in my surroundings. The lithography paper, not intended for digital,, still accepted the ink, albeit soaking in somewhat to create pictures that are soft pastel-like, sublime, and meditative. Often as not, I enhanced them in post-production with pastels, adding to the effect.

What Im doing now, 4 years later, with printing on the metallic paper has a very different feel. Although still soft, because that's what I do, they radiate light in a sharper manner. It's nice that now, thanks to the ICC profile provided by the manufacturer, without too much time wasted, the printed image on this paper reproducing that backlit feel you get from looking at them on a monitor,

They are still about reflected light like the Ebb and Flow Series was, but the light I am studying now is outdoors in nature, and recorded by my intentional camera movement, which reinforces my awareness that nature is always in flux, always moving even in the "Great Pause" and in the stillness that surrounds me.

This exploration was begun when the pandemic hit, shortly after I moved into a place nestled in a nature preserve. This location affords me a close relationship with the mangroves and unique coastal marshes of my chosen home, the coastline of SW Florida.

I could go on describing the work process, and my feelings about this new body of work but I will save that for another time. What I want to point out here is that throughout the evolution of my photographic work, I have been aware that taking pictures is one thing, printing them is quite another. The substrate, i.e the surface printed on is a determining factor in the resulting image. The chosen substrate is as important as all the other aspects that come to bear in creating photographs.

I keep in mind that I am not just taking pictures, I am making pictures

To see more please go to the portfolio on my website "Dancing Light".. All the works are available for acquisition. Please fill out the contact form if you are interested in purchasing or email me at

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1 Comment

Aziz Basan
Aziz Basan
Sep 17, 2021

I truly like what I've seen and your approach - just great. Thanks.

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