Photographer Mark Douglas juried the Beyond the Lens VIII competition sponsored by Framations Custom Framing & Art Gallery, 218 North Main Street, St Charles, MO, 63301. Douglas chose four of my photographs for the show: “Tassels & Fronds,” “Ground Control,” “Spina Mechanica” and “Qanik.” The show runs from January 31 to March 6. The opening reception is Friday, January 31 from 6-8 p.m.
When I dropped off my entries, I was more than a little worried because my works are so different from those already submitted. I saw lots of color, lots of digital, lots of nature, wildlife and landscapes, and lots of other technically accomplished photographs.
As I fretted about and questioned the appropriateness of my entries, I remembered this quote from Henri Cartier-Bresson (my go-to guy): “Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important.”
I realized that I am comfortable with my own photographic aesthetic. I enjoy and actively pursue the technical aspects of film and vintage and toy cameras. I have good digital equipment, and one of my entries, “Qanik,” is a digital image – the first that I have ever tried to exhibit. But my passion is analog photography. My approach is not for everyone, but I hope there’s an audience for it.
One indication that there is occurred last February when photographer Michael Eastman chose “Spina Mechanica” for inclusion in Soulard Art Market’s Urban Architecture II exhibition. My photograph was also awarded 2nd Runner Up from approximately 100 other entires.
A Little About Mark Douglas
A native Saint Louisan, Mark Douglas attended Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State), earning a BA in Fine Arts Studio, with an emphasis in printmaking. In 1992, he earned the Master of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, again with a printmaking emphasis, and a secondary emphasis in photography. Since then he has taught photography and graphic design at SIUE, and is now Department Chair and Head of Photography and Graphic Design at Fontbonne University. It was in graduate school that Mark became intensely interested in photography, both black and white and then photo-based printmaking. This evolved into alternative photographic processes, using them as a base for mixed-media work. Since 1988, he has exhibited in some 50 group shows, and has had approximstely a dozen solo exhibits. Mark is currently represented by the Duane Reed Gallery in Saint Louis.
In addition to quote above from Bresson, I remembered something another photographer I greatly admire said. His name is David Carol. He posted this on his Facebook page, and I had to dig to find it again because I did not write it down at the time. It’s a good observation about pursuing your own photographic interests and offering the results up to the world.
“I think that if you present an honest representation of yourself in your photographs then you win. I think if you can take pictures that satisfy yourself over and over again then you win. I think if other people get to know about you through your photographs then you win. I think if the thought of galleries, contests and other people never enter your mind while you're taking pictures you win. I think the greatest thing about making "stuff" be it music, photography, sculpture, literature and so on is that you can do it for yourself and it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I think if other people like your work on your terms you win, they win...its a win-win,” Carol wrote.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can view examples of my photography and blogs at my website: www.qwerkyphotography.com. You can also stay in touch with me by Liking my Facebook page or Following my on Twitter.