Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The legendary black-and-white imagery of Richard Garrod navigates a fine line between art and nature
Garrod’s talents haven’t come easily. He has practiced over many years so that he’s able to apply a complete understanding of all things photography to his work, from capture to final output and from the newest in technology to the latest in aesthetics. Once an apprentice of Ansel Adams, Garrod himself has taught workshops for more than 25 years on the varying processes and tools of the trade that are so important to such consistently impressive results. His academic and almost scientific manner to discovering the beauty in nature has yielded profoundly compelling imagery that explores the deeply metaphorical relationship between humanity and our environment.
“I am initially looking for an image, an image that conveys visual power, strong form and energy,” Garrod replies when asked what exactly he’s looking for in a subject. “These are ‘feeling’ issues I look for that go beyond just the ‘thing’ being photographed. Sometimes, these visual feelings are most strongly conveyed by an inherent pattern or repetition or texture or unique forms and shapes for which I feel an intuitive response. Often, in addition to the above, I see the ravages of time and three-dimensional space depicted in a way that helps to support or make the image.
Ironically, after so many years of growing as an artist alongside the evolution of photography, Garrod’s imagery rarely follows convention. As he has matured, his work has become increasingly abstract. Garrod often will choose to use a close-up in a landscape, for example, as opposed to the wide shots that are historically chosen to capture the scale and magnitude of expansive wilderness. In this way, he’s able to capture an image that 99 percent of photographers will overlook while they’re searching for the perfect shot.
Another frequent technique Garrod applies to his work is the use of natural patterns and strong graphic lines that will lead the eye through an image. Many photographers use these methods, but unlike most photographs, there isn’t always necessarily a specific subject that the eye is being brought to. Patterns and form will simply lead to other patterns and forms until the subject often becomes the image itself. In this way, Garrod blurs the definition of what exactly a “landscape” is.
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