EWW: Dolores, we would be interested to know if there is a photographer, past or present, that has been an inspiration to you and your work. If so, why?
Dolores: I don’t think there is just one photographer that as been an inspiration to me, but many, such as, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Irving Penn, to name a few. Throughout the history of photography artists have shown us how to see the world each in their unique way, with photographs that are extraordinary, often breathtaking and more importantly inspiring.
EWW: Your photography always has a black background. Why is that important to you?
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. 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 and shapes 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. The black background is important in that it isolates the images allowing one to see all the details of the textures, lines shapes and colors.
EWW: Excluding your black background, are there any themes that consistently occur in your work such as style, color, perspective, lighting, movement, etc.?
Dolores: I guess one can say it is the way I photograph my images that is the consistent theme, in addition to style, color, perspective, lighting, etc. And it is what I photograph that is different. Almost all of nature’s elements that I collect, fading blooms, dried leaves, twigs, branches, etc. are what attracts my eye. I like the strange, weird and different shapes in nature. In my photographs I want one to see these images up close with all their details and texture in their new beauty and transformation, in a way they haven’t seen them before. Some of my latest flower portraits of dried and faded blooms, have a certain look of time passing… not of sadness but graceful and ethereal… the rear view of a miniature rose, petals stretched out like a fan, the side view of a miniature sunflower, head turned down. They are memories of time and life.
In my latest images of “still lifes” I am now combining dried collected leaves and blooms with natural stone and marble, creating strange, different and extraordinary still lifes. For these images the meaning of the objects is of no importance, only the shape, texture and form that falls into a particular space is important. I like to challenge the viewer into seeing something they haven’t seen before, something that they may recognize but don’t know exactly what. My photographs have evolved as a continuum of variations on the same theme.
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EWW: Dolores, what comments would others make about your work? Is that consistent with what you would say about your work?
Dolores: Comments from others: “…it’s not what you photograph but how you see that makes your art unique. If you see something in your own particular way, then your task is to make us see it that way too. If we see what you see, then you’ve done something great. I can honestly say that because I’m familiar with your work, I see flowers, leaves and fungi in a quite different way. That’s a wonderful thing! I’m happily reminded of how bizarre courts beauty in your work”…from a very dear friend, artist and art critic.
“…your photos are so unique, they look like they are dancing”…another photographer
I definitely see things differently. My work is about seeing nature, up close, in a new and different way and to entice the viewer’s imagination.
EWW: What advice would you give to artists that are just beginning to work with photography as an art medium?
Dolores: If one wants to become a photographer, the first and most important thing is to study the history of photography and all the photographers who have made photography what it is today, an art form in itself. Study photographers work you like and find out why you like them. Photography is no different than the fine arts, i.e., painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, etc.… and one should know the elements of art and design, such as line, form, texture, shape, and composition, which makes for a great photograph. One doesn’t need an expensive camera to take great photographs, one needs to develop an eye and good composition. It is the observant eye of the artist that is most important in any of the arts. I would advise taking beginning courses in photography, especially if you have a new camera. Also there are many online photography sites with tutorials that are free.
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EWW: Do you use social media platforms to generate exposure and the marketing of your work? If yes, which social media platforms(s) do you find to be the most successful for you?
Dolores: I don’t use social media to promote my work. I am however on Linkedin. My website is always kept up to date with new images, information of my exhibitions, and competitions.
EWW: Just to wrap up this interview. Do you have any final thoughts about you and your work, which 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 blooms and dried leaves, 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 dried and twisted miniature birds of paradise. They will become something weird and strange in my next group of photographs.
I like to work in a series so that there is one, two or more images that can be shown alone or work well together as a group.