Janet Dwyer, Photography, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada


JDwyer_photoEWW:  Janet, I am curious to know, if someone were asked to make a comment about your scanography work as a whole, what do you think they would say?

Janet:  People generally question how it was done, are they paintings?  Does she composite parts of several images into one?  Does she have a really big scanner? First reactions are often questions about process because the work looks different than most photography.  Hyper real enlarged detail, very shallow depth of field, rainbow colored motion effects, varnished prints are new to many viewers and steer their initial response.  Afterwards people often get absorbed by the subject matter and find the work beautiful.


EWW: What would be your comments about your Scanography work, as a whole? 

Janet:  The underlying intention of my scanography work is to provoke an emotional response or elicit questions about our familiar notions of beauty, sensuality, relationship and form.

I seek to illustrate the expressive beauty of nature: flowers, plants, bones and bugs, particularly their human or animal aspects.  Careful placement to imply gesture along with revealing the structural parts of flowers that mirror human/animal physiology allow plants to take on their own individual personalities.  Our complex feelings, emotions, circumstances may be echoed in their appearance or it can simply be about beauty.


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EWW: Excluding subject matter, are there any themes that consistently run from one work to the other in your scanography such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?  

Janet: Natural objects mirroring or expressing human conditions and emotions is a reoccurring theme. I am interested in exploring motion as it relates to movements of live insects and objects or melting ice.  The resultant color fringing the scanner produces is a window into another realm.  My earlier work tended to have much more dramatic use of color, lately I find myself leaning toward a more subtle muted (desaturated) or monochrome pallet.


EWW: During the last two decades, besides your own creative work, you have specialized in photographing works of art in all mediums.  What are the major challenges you face, when doing this type of photography?

Janet:  Lighting is the biggest challenge especially if the artwork is reflective or large scale.  Using light and perspective to reveal important aspects of the work but not making it be about the photography.  Maintaining a 3D look that gives a sense of presence.  Keeping the individual colors as accurate and true to the piece can also be challenging especially with paintings. 


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EWW:  In addition to doing your own photography, you have taught photography workshops and instructed at colleges and universities across Canada.  Regardless of the topic of the individual workshops or courses, what are the three most important concepts that you hope participants or students leave with, when finishing the workshop or course?


  1) That outstanding photography takes time and patience and is possible.

  2) The way most people learn something new is by doing it wrong the   first time, try to see mistakes as opportunities.

  3) When things are not going the way you intended – keep going.


EWW:  What role doe’s social media play in terms of promoting/marketing your work?  Is their one social media platform that seems to work better for you, than others? 

Janet: I have underused social media for the most part, however I have a Facebook site for announcements and show openings. For lesser-known photographers like myself, the key to sales is having the actual work seen in person; generally people will not purchase an expensive print over the Internet, without having seen the work firsthand.


Click on an image to enlarge it. 



EWW:  Janet, 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?

Janet:  Imaging with a scanner has allowed me to indulge my fascination with detail and form within the natural world.  I hope that seeing my work takes the viewer on a similar journey.


Website:  www.janetdwyer.com and www.photoscanography.com


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