Within my mind as a photographer and artist, I’ve always been interested in the possibility of a way to expand certain photos I’ve made into a different frame of meaning. To shift a pure photograph into something that captures the essence of what I saw and felt when perhaps, for any number of reasons, a photograph doesn’t quite feel like it captures the whole emotion of the scene. I’m not saying that the still photo is inadequate, it’s just that in certain instances like this one where I saw some cliffs on the northern tip of the Noto Peninsula. What I immediately saw in my mind’s eye wasn’t a complete, representative photo, but something more akin to a sumi-e painting. We didn’t have the time to loiter or to return (it’s about a 12 hour drive from our house and unreachable by train), so I did what I could shooting through heavy snow, gale force winds and freezing temperatures. I do very much enjoy the resulting image I made, but in my mind, it was ultimately missing something. It feels strange to stray into this arena of editing.
I then recalled an issue of Photoshop User Magazine that I had read months ago with a great tutorial that detailed how to make a portrait look sketchy as if it were drawn on vellum with charcoal. Well, I thought, that’s pretty damn close to what I’m looking for! With a solid starting place and several hours to play, walk away, come back and play some more, I was dead to the world for the better part of a day. It took several drafts and different attempts with different backgrounds before I was happy with it. The resulting image isn’t a photograph anymore, but in some ways, it’s more representative of what I felt than anything else.
So here it is as of now side by side with the B+W and I’ve just made my first print of it to match (in size) the large black and white of the complete cliff I made earlier this week. The paper I chose to print it on was a cotton rag watercolor like paper that has a luster coating on it that added another layer of texture and feeling to the final print.
For those interested, the specific paper is a Red River Paper product called LuxArt.