In 2021, many of our NPPE Alumni created expression-filled photography that attracted the attention of art professionals and collectors. The NPPE staff decided to shout out their achievements with several retrospective groups to inspire other National Park Photography Expedition Alumni, future Alumni, and creative photographers everywhere. Without their personal aesthetics, their computers and cameras would be mindless machines producing effects without substance, forms minus relevance, and narration without meaning. For all of them, their art photography fills a large part of their lives and the lives of those who appreciate their work.
James Russell Lowe, an American Romantic Poet, said, “Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.” This quote is the essence of the art photography process practiced by NPPE alumni. Most of us capture our work from natural things using cameras, and the wild things in front of our lenses occur from the singularities of light, atmospherics, subject, and composition choices. Making these natural elements into fine art photographers with an emotional range beyond the work of our photographic machines is the artist’s task because art is the product of the human mind. Therefore, the photographic artist’s mission is to find a way to relate the capture of natural things in a balanced and meaningful way using the tools of capture and post-production techniques.
Art Photographer Lynn Beeler—
Lynn Beeler has attended nearly all the NPPE Masterclass workshops and has extended her visual voice through consistent involvement and dedication to Advanced Postproduction Art Photography Training. Her work from the Grand Tetons was published in Westways magazine, which generated additional collector sales. Her floral interpretations are in the final jury review process for the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters in Laguna, CA. Lynn pursues work with attention to detail and a concept of reality far more nuanced than in figurative contexts.
“My first interest in photography was photographing my children and grandchildren, and I still do. However, along the way, I could see and feel the potential of photography as an art medium and work within the NPPE masterclasses taught and encouraged me to extend my aesthetic reach. Keyword exercises helped me understand my motivations, and while I continue to work in the landscape genre, I’m also working with textures and blending techniques and spacing for a floral project.
Art Photographer Dr. Marcia Levetown—
One might wonder why one would want to venture into intentional camera movement (such as Martha Hernandez) or photographic impressionism (such as Marcia Levetown) when cameras are great devices for presenting scenes in exceptional detail. An image of a flower-filled meadow with soft sunlight will undoubtedly elicit deep comments of appreciation when first introduced to viewers. Still, over time it will not challenge the viewer to explore their sense of expression or to feel the scene at a natural intuitive level. An impressionistic work delivers enough details to tell the viewer what they see, but the unfinished sketch-like appearance of subject matter in the field is a contemporary step forward that extends the viewer’s emotional range.
Marcia began her art photography journey in a Grand Staircase Masterclass with no experience in post-production or advanced camera techniques. Since then, she has attended four masterclasses, invested in advanced post-production training and is on her second major commission exhibition project. Like the impressionist painters of the 1880’s she uses the features of her camera and post-production tools to depict contemporary landscape subjects with bright colors, bold pixel strokes, short dabs, and the rebellious spirit of the French impressionist era!
“Bob Killen and Mike Titus have enabled my growth as an artist and have encouraged me to follow my instincts and passions. Their encouragement cannot be overstated as an impetus to mature and refine my photographic journey.
Themes that resonate in my images include overlooked beauty in our everyday experiences; the conflicts between nature and man, with the former, often winning; overcoming adversity; interesting geometric forms; seeing things differently, using the techniques of intentional camera movement and multiple exposures; and, perhaps most importantly, the essential and elemental beauty of the sun, as expressed through backlit forms.
I was fortunate to be commissioned to create an installation of nearly 30 images in a medical office. Each team member selected images that spoke to them for their particular workstations. They and their patients have benefitted from being surrounded by the serenity of nature as they weathered the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.
For 2022, I will create increasingly impressionistic images, emphasizing light, color, and emotional impact. I aspire to launch a website featuring my photography and improve my photo editing skills. It will be my privilege to further my capabilities under the tutelage of Bob and Mike in 2 upcoming workshops.”