The place where reality crosses into the surreal has always been the focus of my interest in making photographs. It is where light, shadow, movement and subject join for a moment in time to form a perfect combination of visual ingredients that make up more than the simple sum of their individual parts. It is where reality exits to some other place which can be captured and displayed in a fixed state to visit and reflect on time and time again.
Most of the work displayed here has never been exhibited till now. It has lain dormant since my interests in photography as a fine art were put on the shelf over 25 years ago by a change of address from city to country.
In 1983 when we left Chicago for life in the New England countryside, the visual world that hitherto had inspired me and the opportunities to photograph it were left behind. My new bucolic surroundings proved uninspiring. Moreover, we were now living in a home that depended on a well with limited output, which made conventional wet darkroom work all but impossible. I carefully packed away my negative and color slide files and went on to other things.
Now, all these years later because of the nature of the business my wife and I operate together, suddenly I found myself with the equipment and computer skills needed to begin converting my archive of negatives and color slides to digital files which can be output on high end fine arts ink-jet printers.
At this same time, the world of photography has undergone huge changes due to digital cameras and the support industry that came along with them. With this came recognition of this new medium as a legitimate art form.
During the time since my Chicago days and now, my interests in photography stayed with me. I continued to make photographs sporadically, mostly while traveling on vacation or business trips. My first digital camera was a Nikon 990, purchased to copy my wife's art and provide media for her web site. This opened up a whole new world to me.
Digitizing my film negatives and color slides has allowed me to enhance and improve the work I created over 25 years ago in ways that were completely impossible at the time. The verb photoshopped was generated by an industry and designers that first used it as a crutch instead of the new creative tool it truly represented. I can honestly say that it has changed photography for me in a way I never imagined just ten years ago. This new world has now been so completely embraced by the art world that Yale University threw out all of their conventional wet darkroom equipment at their summer campus here in Norfolk two summers ago.
The dates on many of my pictures may be years in the past, but they are all recent work as far as the real world is concerned. The work to put these images on paper with the new tools available to me has been both enormously satisfying and completely gratifying. I'm just glad to have lived long enough to see technology catch up with ways that are so perfectly synchronized to the visions I had in my head when the photographs were taken. It was worth the wait.
Mahlon F. Craft, Norfolk, CT February 23, 2009