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Artist's Statement

Al Olson

Al Olson

My mission is to create photographic images that connect with the viewer: recording the vanishing landscapes and architectures of earlier eras and presenting unusual perspectives of common subjects that differ from the ways we normally see them. I refrain from taking snap shots and seldom carry a camera, preferring first to find inspiration in the everyday environment.

Whenever a subject draws my attention, I assess my vision to determine which film, which format, which camera/lens, how and when to get the best light, and how to compose for the best interpretation. It is at this point that I return to the subject with a camera to create the image.

In recent years I have shifted to more extensive use of medium format and large format cameras (vintage cameras, if you will) and greater use of monochrome films to emphasize the drama of the remnants and relics from centuries ago. The dynamic of black and white film is emphasized in many of my infrared images. These large negatives produce prints with imperceptibly fine grain, tightly controlled depth of field, and superior tonal range. Overall results are superior to those produced by smaller format cameras.

© 2006 a.c.olson -- Silver Streak 2002

With the rapid growth of digital imaging it has become fashionable to alter images with Photoshop. The current vogue is to clone objects in or out, over-saturate colors, over-sharpen edges, exaggerate contrast, and add garish colors until the image appears more cartoonish than photographic. These effects I prefer to avoid.

I am not a graphic artist… I practice the craft of photography. I choose not to ‘Photoshop’ my images, but instead I use the photographic darkroom to preserve the integrity of the print as I visualized it, composed it, and recorded it on film. It is my conviction that ‘Photography’ is what is created in the camera, not what is altered in Photoshop.

My hand-processed prints are created in the darkroom on silver gelatin emulsion for black and white negatives and chromogenic emulsion for color negatives. Processed archivally and protected from ultraviolet light, silver emulsions have a proven archival history of over 150 years.

© 2005  a.c.olson -- Serenade in Pink 2005

View Projects

Anasazi Ruins
Colorado Ghost Towns
Still Lifes

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Al Olson
(970) 731-9801