Like a painting

In Digital, Inspiration, Nature
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More and more lately I have been drawn to photographs with a painterly quality to them. I have an urge to take my complex and highly technical device in entirely new directions. I long to bend and shape my camera in ways that depart from the textbook approach and create images that are decidedly feminine, ephemeral, and maybe even a bit spiritual.

Portriat of Henry in the Tyrrhenian Sea
Punta de Mita, Mexico

There is no question that I have a repressed painter living somewhere in my psyche just waiting to be let out. But having no time or interest to invest in painting, I am delighted to use my camera in ways that scratch the itch.

Tyrrhenian Sea (no. 1)

When I swim with my camera, I have the choice to capture precision — crisp, clear waves with as much in focus as possible — or open my aperture to a forgiving f5 (or wider) and embrace the softness and movement all around me.

Maui, 2016
Punta Mita, Mexico

I mentioned earlier that these photographs have a feminine quality to them. In my mind, photography has both a masculine and feminine side (regardless of the gender of the shooter). The masculine approach leads with the manual first — aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focus, all just so; then we take the shot. We use our brain a great deal when shooting from a masculine place.

The feminine approach is deeply intuitive. We look through our viewfinder and receive the shot. We use our heart, not our head. It’s flexible and relaxed. We make adjustments to our settings without thinking too much.  Shooting from the feminine aspect is all about flow and discovery.

I am fascinated by the dance between the two. I watch myself (and the resulting work) as I lean into one or the other, or strive to balance the two.  The masculine is notable for his dedication to precision and rigor.  The feminine is remarkable for its capacity to stir my emotions, to make me feel something.  The masculine feels sturdy, like a well-designed building.  The feminine like a painting or a piece of music.

Evelyn’s Legs (no. 2)

Indeed, both aspects are essential, but I love that we, as photographers, can decide which brush to paint with on a given day.  For now, I am excited about the direction of this work and my decision to stretch the capacity of the camera to create painterly images.

On a related note, I loved this post by Yan Palmer, Blurry is Beautiful.  Also the work of Naomi Ernest, whose Flora Obscura series explores flower and tree imagery in similar ways to my water and people.




  1. Deb. I love how you have described the evolution of a photographer artist. As you dance between and among the feminine and masculine attributes of picture-making, they blend so that you sway from one to the other and pretty soon . . . they are simply parts of the whole, not one or the other. This shows in your work – a kind of maturity mixed with curiosity. Beautiful images – and thank you for the links, too. Blurry really is beautiful!

    • Donna,
      I think I will hire you to write all of my artist statements! Thank you for these kind words, so eloquently expressed.
      xoxo Deb

    • Donna, I couldn’t have said it any better so I am just piggy-backing on your comments. : ) These are lovely, I find myself wanting to make watercolors out of them. Deb, thank you for your explanation of masculine v. feminine. I never thought about it that way and it makes perfect sense. Your work is gorgeous.

  2. Your images are simply stunning. I am a long-time embracer of blurry — I always feel it leaves room for the viewer to dream. ?

    • Yes!!! I love how you state that — it leaves room for the viewer to dream. That phrase captures it beautifully.
      Thank you so very much. xoxo Deb

  3. Such a gorgeous set! Those images of the sky touching the water are simply divine. Thanks for sharing, Deb.

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