Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2011 Image of the Year

Before venturing too far ahead into 2012 I want to offer an annual post, the Image of the Year.  My intent is to identify an image that was prominent within the year and provide a "visual voice" to its background.  The status of Image of the Year could be claimed by success in exposure, sales, or feedback.

 2011 Image of the Year - "Quiver " 

Quiver © 2011, Joanne Scherf

Technical Info:
  • Time of Day:  Daylight at 10:13 am on May 27, 2010 
  • Location:  Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania
  • Camera:  Canon 5D
  • Lens:  EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L USM; focal length of 55mm
  • F-stop:  f2.8
  • ISO: 320
  • Shutter speed: 1/125 sec.

Artistic Approach:
My approach to photography in general is to pre-visualize and do all the composition in the camera rather than rely on post-production techniques to alter the design or intent of an image.  This particular image came about through sheer discovery while hiking late spring in southwest Pennsylvania.  With most of my landscape work I tend to offer a close look rather than sweeping vistas or panoramas.  I find the broader landscape views offer too much for the eye to behold and digest, and I much rather enjoy the proximity of getting up close and personal with nature.  Since I am a hiker my direction of vision oftentimes includes looking down at the ground where I have discovered over the years a plethora of objects or scenes to capture.  

Taking this approach a step further, I decided to focus on my subject matter abnormally close and compose the shot so as to eliminate the context or surrounding environment which renders the image as more of an abstract rather than an absolute image.  This design decision intentionally leaves you, the viewer, without external clues as to the exact identity of the subject matter and permits endless possibilities in the interpretation.  In fact, throughout 2011 when the image was exhibited in galleries or in private viewing with clients, I was always amazed to hear not only their interpretation but also their preferred orientation on how the image should be displayed on the wall.

An unusual aspect about this composition is that I chose not to capture the obvious; the thundering waterfall in front of me, but scrambled to the base, stepped away from the action and caught the shimmering water in a rainbow of vivid colors.  Objects below the surface in addition to reflections in the water from above provide just enough intrigue to make what would have been just another waterfall picture, now more edgy.  So this image not only had great color combinations, but an abstract quality with another favorite design element of mine...reflections.

Another design decision was to go with a square format rather than rectangular because it provides a more focused perspective and crazy as it sounds, at least I think, a stable embrace that offers a more balanced and grounded image.  Processing the image only required the usual tonal adjustments; no different that I would have done in the dark room/wet lab; basically "just the usual" with NO bells and whistles!

One last design note.  I believe the art of photography extends beyond capture and processing of the image.  As a photographer I analyze the image and determine the best method to display it; traditional print with mat/frame or alternative.  In this particular case with the abstract quality of Quiver, this image has only been printed on metal in a square format; ranging from 10x10 inches on an easel up to 40x40 inches on just the right wall space.  I don't feel a paper-based approach in a traditional mat and frame would do the image justice.  I use the metal printing very selectively and use a high gloss finish that provides a brilliant luminescence that make the colors pop, especially in the contemporary residences of my clients.

Reason for Selection:
Last year, 2011 was a great year for Quiver since it gained exposure in multiple ways.  First of all it was my number one best seller and garnered client raves.  From a national perspective, it was published twice in international journals of fine art photography.  In February, 2011 I was featured as an emerging photographer in FOCUS Collector's Edition, and also October, 2011 it was published in B&W/COLOR Magazine's Special Portfolio Issue.  Plus in September, 2010 and May, 2011 it was featured in a solo and group show at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield, Michigan.  Beyond that, it truly is one of my favorites; I'm transfixed as I gave at the 40x40 image on my living room wall.

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