Why “Kept Light?”
Photography is the remains of light entering the lens and hitting the light-sensitive surface. I visualize this as follows: by photographing something, I “keep some light”; my photography is the result of the light kept in the camera; thus the name of the site, Kept Light.
I am a professor emeritus of marketing at Providence College, having retired in July 2012 after 36 years of teaching. Teaching has been a great experience that also affected my photography, and how I share what little I know with others here on Kept Light Photography. That, in turn, has helped me to learn more about photography, my photography, and the art of photography.
I am a photographer and prefer not to be pigeonholed into a category based only on some of my work. I have been to different places and documented the faces and places I have seen, and photographed the objects that surrounded me. These do not make me a landscape or a documentary photographer, but just an interested photographer. On Kept Light Photography, you will find photographs that may fall into many genres of the art form.
I do not have formal training in photography or art, and am fully self-taught through practice, experimentation, failures, and a lot of reading and looking at photographs. I enjoy reading about photography as much as practicing it and try to write about photography to sharpen my understanding of it. In the Articles section of Kept Light, you will find writing on various topics related to photography. I hope that you take a look at them and share your thoughts either as comments at the end of the post or via e-mail.
In the early 90s, I started to move in the direction of digital photography and never looked back. Although I have done much darkroom work, the digital domain with its unique benefits has been fertile ground. I taught myself the tools of this new world, mainly Photoshop, and later Lightroom to be very comfortable with them. I have also shared what I have learned with others in presentations, workshops, and individual interactions. You will find on Kept Light Photography summaries of my presentations on a variety of topics.
My Medium is Photography
I also believe that every medium has its advantages and shortcomings and am willing to live within those limits instead of imitating other forms of art, mainly painting. So, to me, it is not a compliment when someone says that my work “looks like a painting” or “how painterly” my photographs are. That is not to say that I oppose comparing photography and painting. Indeed there are many links between the two art forms, light, shape, form, texture, etc., and can be discussed as influencing each other.
In a finished photograph, I try to present what I saw and felt rather than what the camera recorded. Some call this “manipulation,” and I have written about my take on the nature of this argument since all photographs are manipulated, bar none. I want my prints to convey my creative vision, which the camera lacks, and my visual system which is orders of magnitude better than any camera can be today.
I am not a purist who believes “once the shutter is released the photograph is done,” whatever that may mean; once the shutter is released the work has just begun. Although I keep a very open mind about making all necessary adjustments to my photographs to convey my emotions and what I saw, I strive to produce work that is free from processing artifacts and that look “effortlessly done.” My photography is not about the techniques and tools I use, and the result should not become a badge for having learned how to use a new technique. The technique should be subservient to the vision, not the other way around.
My achievements range from exhibits to an original ballet based on my photographs. I have exhibited my photographs in different venues, on a variety of subjects. Additionally, I have issued limited-edition folios, many open-edition ones, and published photo books, and magazines that feature collections of my work.
I was genuinely thrilled to have my Dance of the Orchids series of photographs of dried orchid blossoms inspire a new ballet, Orchis. My orchid flower pictures were on a huge, 15′ x 20′ screen for close to 30 minutes running from a slide show I created for this purpose during the beautiful dance and fantastic music. The combination of photography, choreography, music, and costumes created a truly unique experience. You can read about related posts in the blog section of Kept Light Photography, and search for Orchis.
I have also done commercial photography for annual reports, product labels, billboards, and magazine ads. My last commercial assignment was photographing wristwatches for an importer for magazine ads. They represent a small fraction of my total work, although I enjoyed the assignments and the challenges of photographing watches. (It never occurred to me that all watches are photographed at 10 past 10 or 10 minutes to 2.)