EWW: What makes your work unique from others?
Dolores: With a fine art background in painting, drawing, sculpture and etchings, my photographs are fine art photographs rather than photographs, by that I mean, not street photography, photojournalism, landscapes, wildlife, etc. My photographs are images created to fulfill a creative vision and emotion that I want to convey and share with the viewer. They are portrait/still lifes of nature’s forms, from flowers, dried leaves, twigs, the bark of trees and seashells in their various stages of growth and natural decline. The way I photograph these images are unique to me and recognizable as so. My hope is that the viewer takes time to discover these unexpected visual pleasures.
EWW: I am curious to know if someone were asked to make a comment about your work as a whole, what do you think they would say?
Dolores: When one looks at my Lily Portfolio and the many dried leaves series, there is a recognizable vision and creative personal style that stands out as something they haven’t seen before. The way I photograph these collections from nature is to show them in a new way, so that the viewer is drawn in and the subject maintains its focus and importance…I want these images to feel special. I think people would say, “I think I know what I am looking at, I think I know what it is, why is it that way? They are looking at nature that has fallen and dried and is now transformed into a new beauty of their own.
To quote Georgia O’Keefe – “I said to myself –I’ll paint what I see – what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it – I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.”
EWW: What would be your comments about your work, as a whole?
Dolores: My photographs of fading or dying flowers, dried leaves, twigs, bark, etc. created a new life of their own through the lens of my camera. The camera brings out qualities that one cannot see with the naked eye when they are on the ground. I am not interested in taking an exact representation, but more of an artistic impression and interpretation that I want to convey when one looks at the final images. My work reflects the way I see and feel about these natural forms that arouse my curiosity and imagination. I am always looking for that “special something” in an image to entice the viewer’s imagination and mine.
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EWW: Most of your work involves flowers or dried leaves. What do you find so appealing about these two subject matters?
Dolores: Nature has a multitude of beautiful shapes, forms, colors, textures of so many plants, etc. What I find so compelling is the new and distinctive shapes and textures that they acquire as they fall to the ground and are dried, or when flowers begin to fade and dry. The weirder and strange something looks, the more I like it. When these natural dried forms are photographed these qualities come to life through the lens of the camera. In editing, I do minor enhancements to the colors and textures, deleting all unnecessary spots so that the black areas are perfectly black and all edges are crisp and clean.
EWW: In much of your work there is a component of reflection. What makes this reflection component important to you?
Dolores: The black reflection began when I discovered an orchid that had fallen from its stem on my black granite counter and dried, it created such an unusual shape that it was beautiful. The reflection came from the light falling onto the counter when photographing and I liked the compositional elements that it created bringing a mysterious quality as to where the images were and why.
EWW: Excluding subject matter and reflection, are there themes that consistently run from one work to the other such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?
Dolores: The themes that consistently run from one work to the other for me are, first, lighting, perspective, movement, and composition, in addition to the special colors, textures and forms of the images. They are the key ingredients to creating an exciting and interesting composition. It is these themes that bring all these natural dried forms into focus so that one can see all their intricate details up close.
EWW: From the work I reviewed, you always place your subject on a black background. Is this a correct observation? What does this achieve for you and your creative works?
Dolores: This happened gradually when I began taking photographs of lilies in all their stages of growth on my daily morning walks for a period of months. They bloom each day, wilt fairly quickly and become wilted. When I began to look at these images on my computer, the lilies were too busy with many flowers, leaves and mulch. I isolated the lilies to one or two flowers with a stem and cropped them, deleting all unnecessary details leaving a beautiful flower, blooming, wilting or wilted. The wilted lilies took on a new shape of their own as I created negative and positive space around them, looking more like a piece of sculpture in its final stage of life. These photographs all have a solid black background that isolates the flowers and brings them into full view onto “center stage” so to speak, These images are in the Lily Portfolio.
After the Lily series I began collecting dried leaves that had fallen to the ground and dried. I started with Dried Sea Grape Leaves, plantings that I pass each day. I have many series of these leaves, as they have different colors when they fall all during the year. Later I collected all kinds of leaves, twigs, branches, etc. Although I have no immediate plan when they are collected as to how they will be photographed, I place them on sheets of white paper to be later assembled and photographed. Sometimes I combine several leaves, twigs, etc., other times when the leaves have a unique shape in themselves, I group them alone. These collections are photographed indoors, placed on a black glass surface, with a black background using natural light. I create still life compositions recomposing them many times until a relationship of shapes, colors, lines, and spaces, pleases my eye and the lighting is right.
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EWW: What do you see, or have experienced, as the most effective way for you to market and promote you and your work?
Dolores: I have exhibited in juried exhibitions throughout Florida and in online international competitions for the past several years winning awards. I had a solo exhibition of the Lily portfolio and Dried Leaves at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County last year. I have been contacted through the exposure of winning competitions, awards and by viewing of my website.
Some of my work is now available for purchase on two international online galleries, one of which contacted me directly, and the other, an online gallery where I was accepted with other international artists in two exhibitions. This gallery also offers an opportunity for accepted artists to participate in a juried group exhibition at the end of the year, at their gallery location. If an artist participates in this gallery exhibition, videos are made of artist’s presentations, and all of the works that are exhibited.
EWW: Do you use social media platforms to market and promote your work? If you do, which social media platform seems to work the best for you?
Dolores: I don’t promote my work through social media. I am however on LinkedIn .
EWW: Dolores, just to wrap up the interview, do you have any final thoughts about you and your work that you think would be important for others to know about?
Dolores: The images that I photograph have been transformed from their natural state of growth and decline. I hope that by photographing these faded and dried leaves, etc, the viewer can appreciate them in all their beauty brought to life by the eye of the camera and the photographer. My aim is that the viewer is drawn in to discover these new images in their new “moment in time.”
I am always looking for that special something to collect and photograph. Just the other day I found a group of very unusual looking wild mushrooms. They are now something weird in my next group of photographs, first in full growth with strange shapes, then with very dried and shriveled shapes.
When I photograph I shoot from to 50 to 60 images, changing lighting, exposures, compositions, etc. and when they are edited on the computer I end up with 4, 6 or 8 images and delete the rest. I like to work in a series so that there are one, two or three images that can be shown alone or work well together as a group.
My photographs are printed on archival smooth cotton paper that absorbs the inks and brings out the rich deep colors and textures, making then look like fine art prints. They are available in several sizes in limited editions, numbered, signed and dated on the front.
Thank you Ed for giving me this opportunity to discuss my work.