Artist Statement

Treat a work of art like a prince: let it speak to you first. Arthur Schopenhauer

 I have no idea what my photography is about in words. In the past I have said that the photographs are Visual Haikus, but that is just filler to dodge the question. I take photographs of what catches my eye; to see what it will look like photographed. Usually, but far from always, my photographs are restrained by their format: 1:4, 4:9.25, 1:1, and – when used in posts for my blog – 9:16. I write “restrained”, but I really mean “freed” because in a way I can’t explain in words, I believe that restraining formats charge creativity.

I am interested in the Natural World, Nature, Open Spaces. It seems to me that Wildness is where the Divine is found. Lately, I have become interested in photographing People and I am interested in Human artifacts; especially cars, but also graffiti, roads.

I want to be clear that I manipulate almost all my photographs in Adobe Lightroom. I didn’t used to that when I shot film, but my wife gave me a digital camera and my life was changed. A dirty little secret is that, in a very real sense, all photographs are manipulated. Ansell Adams manipulated his photographs. In his magnificent Winter Sunrise from Lone Pine, he blocked out the LP painted on the low hill behind the town. When we choose a f 4 over f 16 or select – or let the camera select, for that matter – a shutter speed, we are manipulating, when we wait for somebody to get out of the way at Yosemite Falls, we are manipulating. I manipulate to make the photograph better match the image in my mind’s eye when I was there.

~ Steve Stern

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