Photographing wildlife is not only my primary hobby, but my passion. Nothing beats the thrill of finding an animal, the adrenaline of setting up a shot, and the reward of taking a successful picture. When I look at the collection of photographs I have taken, I am awestruck by the beauty and diversity of wildlife and, I must admit, my luck in capturing these images. But I like to believe there is more to my photography than being in the right place at the right time with the technical skills to capture a sharp, nicely exposed picture. I like to think that I am creating art.
Like other forms of photography, wildlife photography calls for good composition, light, balance, colour, and texture, and entails making decisions to create the most engaging and impactful images possible. However, the reception of my photographs often ignores these decisions. Rather than commenting on my use of light or my compositional choices, I am usually met with comments that highlight the beauty of the animals themselves, such as pointing out the sharp talons on a hawk or the detail in a snake’s eye. When I first started wildlife photography, these comments annoyed me, as I wished people would instead focus on the skill and meticulous aesthetic decisions needed to photograph these animals. However, when I receive these comments now, I am much more appreciative, because they highlight something it took me time to recognize—wildlife is already art.
Nature creates lines, shapes, and textures that are so breathtaking and powerful that they cannot escape the category of art. I often encounter this phenomenon when I am editing the images I capture. After correcting a few technical flaws, I find myself at a loss for what else to change. The contrast between a raccoon’s darkened eyes and its light fur is already so impactful, the seeming frailty of a bee’s wings so evocative, that additional editing is unnecessary to make these details more aesthetically poignant.
Today, when people comment on the natural beauty of wildlife that I am able to capture through my images, I am happy to draw their attention to this art form. Since we often encounter wildlife in small ways during our everyday life, it is easy to overlook their beauty. Wildlife photography is closely tied to conservation photography, which more directly invokes viewers to act in protecting wildlife. This medium has the ability to document the wonders of wildlife and can encourage the appreciation of these animals––a key motivation for my work.
However, the inherent artistic quality of wildlife does not make this form of photography any easier. Creating art from art is more complicated than it may seem. Making unsuccessful artistic choices can easily detract from natural beauty. While a telephoto lens can capture close-up, intricate details, it may also depict the animal as detached from its surrounding environment, failing to balance appearance with storytelling. Furthermore, in the case of a sudden sighting, it is easy to forget about composition in the frenzy of the moment, while fumbling for my lens cap and losing track of the focus ring. Wildlife photography is also very often an uncomfortable process, with bugs devouring my knuckles in summer and my hands becoming immobile under freezing metal lenses in winter. In the midst of these distractions, it is no easy task to ponder the benefits of a wider depth of field. Wildlife photography is an art of adaptation and circumstance, with no foolproof step-by-step guide to a successful picture.
Taking these challenges into consideration, if my artistic choices become invisible under the breathtaking beauty of the natural world, that means to me that my photography has been successful. If I have managed not to detract from, but to amplify these wonders, I can emerge from swampy waters with muddy boots and a feeling of accomplishment. The best wildlife images, and the kind I strive to create, manage to balance natural artistic wonder with intentional choices to create not simple documentary evidence, but powerful art.
White House on defensive over Hunter Biden art sales – FRANCE 24
Issued on: 24/07/2021 – 01:08
The White House assured Friday that necessary ethical precautions would be taken around any exhibitions and sale of artwork by President Joe Biden’s son, whose personal life and professional career have been peppered with controversy.
Asked by reporters about upcoming exhibitions of Hunter Biden’s artwork in New York’s Georges Berges Gallery, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president’s son would be “attending gallery events.”
The discussions about sales “will be happening with the gallerist” and not Hunter Biden, she said.
“That is different than meeting with prospective buyers.”
Psaki had announced July 9 that a system had been established allowing Hunter Biden to practice his profession “within appropriate safeguards,” including the confidentiality of any transactions and no contact with buyers.
At exhibits of Hunter’s work, “the selling of his art will all happen through the gallerist and the names and individuals will be kept confidential,” she said.
When pressed that a buyer could simply tell the artist that he or she is purchasing his work, Psaki stressed that a strict rules structure will be in place.
“He will not know, we will not know who purchases his art,” she said.
Contacted by AFP, the gallery did not immediately provide any comment or details.
The Biden administration, which seeks to present itself as ethically unblemished, has been repeatedly questioned about the artistic career of the 51-year-old lawyer and businessman-turned-painter.
US media point out the obvious risks of businessmen or others purchasing the artwork with the sole aim of winning access to or influence with the White House.
Press reports have said the paintings by Biden, who has had no formal training, could sell for up to half a million dollars.
Hunter Biden is one of former president Donald Trump’s favorite targets.
During the 2020 presidential campaign Trump and his supporters regularly criticized Hunter Biden for his economic interests in Ukraine and China when his father was vice president under Barack Obama.
Hunter is also the target of a federal investigation into possible tax crimes.
In a memoir published earlier this year, the president’s youngest son recounted his struggle with addiction to cocaine and alcohol.
© 2021 AFP
Art exhibits return to Callander’s Alex Dufresne gallery – BayToday.ca
After a long hiatus, art shows are returning to the Alex Dufresne Gallery at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum this Saturday.
The works of Carole Davidson and Sara Carlin-Ball are highlighted in an exhibit entitled “Journeys to a Conversation with Nature.”
In a release promoting the show, Davidson and Carlin-Ball explain the “works display a felt presence of our natural environment in unexpected materials and surprising subjects.”
Their goal in selecting the pieces for the exhibit is to capture “the luscious spectacular that is Nature, Muse, Essence,” and emphasize how these “inspire the audience to revision their place – their gratitude and responsibility – on this Earth.”
“It feels absolutely wonderful to have art back on the walls,” said Natasha Wiatr, the gallery’s curator.
The last show was this past April but did not last long before Covid regulations closed the event. Since then, “the walls have been empty.”
“We haven’t consistently had shows in what feels like so long,” she said, and is pleased to launch what will hopefully be a long stretch of exhibits.
Currently, the gallery is booked until 2023, “and we’ve added two more shows per year,” Wiatr explained.
“We see ourselves as a community-based gallery,” she said, and as such, strive to present as many local artists as possible.
The Museum and Art Gallery are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.
The gallery can hold 14 people at once, and walk-ins are welcome. Appointments can also be booked ahead of time at www.mycallander.ca/gallery.
Staff remind to you please wear a mask when you visit and maintain social distance.
Admission to the museum is $5 for seniors and students, $4.50 for kids 6-12, free for children under 6 and adults pay $5.50. Family rate for 4 is $15. Entrance to the gallery is by donation.
Callander museum reopens with art show – The North Bay Nugget
The art show Journeys to a Conversation with Nature will reopen the Callander Museum and Alex Dufresne Gallery Saturday.
The works of Carole Davidson and Sarah Carlin-Ball will remain on display to Aug. 20.
“There is an essential longing for life that erupts in a luscious spectacular that we call Nature,” the artists said in a statement.
“The human animal is a part of this longing for life that some might call a Muse – a Muse for artists of every passion and discipline. Artists are at the mercy of their muse and transcribe whatever is whispered to them about life, people, and the compelling natural environment they belong to.
“One may be a studied artist haphazardly trained while another may be an experimental soul, interpreting the ever-changing environment around her.”
Influenced by the gifts of their lives and the natural offerings around them, each artist interprets what touches her soul. Each piece of art tells a portion of her journey, calling to the viewer to look more closely at what life has to teach us.
Carlin-Ball’s muse slumbered as she was raising her children and working. As soon as she could make time, there was an explosion of experimentation driven by her mantra ‘What would happen if…?’
Mistakes happily romped with successes. Now, her careful, unique presentations interpret life and nature, and challenge one’s imagination.
As she learned of the melting of the muskeg and the possibility that Canada will soon lose that habitat and vibrant spring bloom, Carlin-Bell felt the compulsion to replicate that vital image with unexpected media: patinated and fired copper was punched and threaded through with fibre knotted to create the blooms and surface stems.
Eventually, the vibrant muskeg spring emerged.
For Davidson, nature was a refuge she quietly celebrated with natural and cultivated talent for art and writing. A busy and brief career in graphic design took over until disabling MS symptoms forced (or allowed) her to slow down.
She began a meditation practice to cope with symptoms and immediately began painting again.
Her creative work parallels her spiritual path and the subjects of her study get smaller and smaller as she has the opportunity to stop and notice. She finds joy in a yellow spider on a sunflower or a nest full of baby robins.
Together, their works display a felt presence of our natural environment in unexpected materials and surprising subjects.
The Museum and Art Gallery are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be booked ahead of time at www.mycallander.ca/gallery and the museum and gallery also welcome same-day walk-ins.
Those visiting are asked to wear a mask and social distance.
The museum and art gallery are located at 107 Lansdowne St. E., Callander.
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