1137 – Style & Substance

For those that might be interested, I’m gradually shifting my style to be more impressionist and less literal, especially in my work with music and jazz. I’ve been looking at photos of musicians for decades, mine and a host of others, and frankly – I sometimes get to the point where another shot of a trumpet under contrasty purple light is about as interesting as yet another shot of a plump sparrow sitting on a branch in the morning light. It’s been done to death. It tells me nothing and worse, if it is mine – it says I have nothing new to say.

I totally reject that idea. 

I have been experimenting with this change, little by little, for months. If you follow my work, you’ve seen impressionist-style work in almost every set. My aim now is to make it more of a statement, both of what I do and the subjects I take photos of.


As an example I submit, “Thoughtful” from post 1138, coming today. It is the product of some time spent on developing a style in a program that allows me to use tools and techniques not available in Lightroom, my usual editing tool, as well as to  save styles that I can use to set as a base to build on repeatedly. This particular style gives the photo a line and stipple look that for some subjects can be quite interesting.

Another point that has also been evolving has been the presentation of my photos. I’ve found a bit of success offering them as “grandes” – large, canvas-wraps on board. These are printed on art canvas and because they are mounted on board with a framework behind them – they are very stable and good for many installations where statement art is needed. These new styles are tuned to that type of installation and are more detailed than they may appear if you are viewing them on Facebook or your cell phone.

Thoughtful – detail view

So, that’s what is coming. Take a look and tell me what you think as the next blog post unfolds its wings to fly across the internets…

3 Responses

  1. Coop says:

    I an technologically illiterate, but what you have created by manipulating the original photograph (I assume?) is mesmerizing and magical. Kudos to you for stretching your already broad talent. Keep having fun and thanks for sharing

  2. Mary Lou Halbach says:

    Very interesting technique, Mike. I once had an art professor who basically forced us to do sketches for two weeks using nothing but line and stipple in India ink. It taught us to explore the unknown and allowed us to become totally, intensely aware of the play of light, dark and space in our drawings. To this day this form intrigues me. I still have a couple of those drawings somewhere in all of the boxes of stuff we moved down. Hmmmm…. Great work! Love it.

    • mike says:

      Thank you! It is something similar to the way I learned – limitation is a powerful agent of innovation. I did it in this series too. I at one point, I sat down on a bench in front of the library and most of this series from that point of view. That sort of thing never fails to sharpen your eye.