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Handcolored Photography

I consider myself a traditional color photographer. I'm nearly tone-deaf and I have always imagined that the colors of the universe speak to me with the same emotional voice that most people hear in music. But, I became serious about photography in the American Southwest with black and white film inside my view camera and the history of traditional, black and white landscape photography inside me. I came to think of photography as a spiritual distillation of form and light in black and white. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1989, I was overwhelmed by the apparent chaos of the environment and, with the exception of black and white beach vistas, I was at a loss to express what I felt. My education had been primarily in art and science with plans for a career in scientific illustration but frustrated, I abandoned art and got a Masters degree in things botanical. The day I graduated, I removed the ski equipment and tent from my darkroom and have never since doubted that life is a journey. The understanding of the natural world that I gathered to myself during five years at Oregon State University helped me sort through the chaos and rediscover my vision. And it was in color!

In the film and wet darkroom tradition, I photograph and print in black and white and then hand-color the photographs with transparent dyes. A binocular microscope helps me discover the fine details of an image. The years of watercolor classes, my times as a commercial fine art printer and photo retouch artist, the alternative photographic processes classes at Arizona State University and my Oregon botany have come together as the expression of how I understand our world. I aim for neither faux color photography nor deliberate abstraction. In my best pieces, I hope that I have seen through the confusion and offered up reality as that spiritual distillation of form and light - in color. Each handcolored color positive takes about twenty hours to complete. I scan these at high resolution and print using an 8-color pigment ink process. I do as little possible digital fussing as necessary to create an accurate reproduction of the original handcolored photograph. There is no digital content manipulation. All materials are archival.

Early in 2001, I dedicated my work to volunteer appreciation and fundraising for environmental organizations.

In 2008, I began deeper research into the optics and chemistry of photographic processes.  In so doing, I feel I began to complete a circle that, for me, must include both art and science.

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