Print And Process
The medium and techniques that I work with are chosen to strengthen the drama in each photograph. I have a natural inclination toward black and white photography as its inherent qualities of abstraction give it the power to intensify the emotional impact of a subject while leaving space for mystery. I believe that the authenticity of the finished work should not be based on how loyal it is to reality but how well it conveys its message.
The earlier photographs in this collection were created using medium format equipment and the later using digital SLR cameras. Regardless of the tools and materials employed, every step in the process is carefully chosen for the highest quality results possible. My initial captures are most often in colour, allowing for more post processing options, and contain the widest achievable range of tones. I use a high quality tripod or monopod. When using digital cameras I always shoot RAW. The initial capture constitutes less than half of the work required in a finished piece as I utilize a lot of image processing to achieve my desired look.
There is no exacting workflow that I follow once I get the image into the computer because each image demands its own process in order for it to develop fully. There is a lot of trial and error required to find the optimal tools and techniques to use in the conversion to black and white; they vary depending on the initial capture, the needs of the material and the creative vision that I see for it. The majority of work is spent selectively pushing and pulling, dodging and burning the tones to achieve a balance that maximizes the drama, conveys a believable story, and produces an aesthetically compelling artifact, all without degrading the image quality.
Fine art prints are made using archival pigment inks on museum grade photo rag paper. The inks are renowned for their archival permanence, black and white neutrality and wide tonal range. The paper and ink combination result in beautiful prints with rich tonal quality, sharpness, presence and depth. They are stable, waterproof and exhibit no colour shifting in changing light. All photographs are signed and numbered in pencil on the photo paper below the image or on the back. Every print is designed to give you years of viewing pleasure.
All photographs are available for purchase through my website at www.bretculp.com and at select exhibitions and events (see my exhibitions page for more information).