portrait_of_chrisChris Vest

Dolores Colorado

“I have a long history of taking pretty mediocre bird photos. With crummy lens and lack of patience, I’ve put together bird images from Israel to Alaska that are breathtakingly dull and out-of-focus. But I do have computer Photoshop skills, so my choice was either to cut my throat in photo envy and self-loathing, or breath new life into the bad photos with considerable “painting”, merging and touch-up; and so voila: part painting, part photography. I’ve been a photographer and illustrator for 30 years; unfortunately, it’s almost all been for employers that view art purely as commerce– it’s time that I demonstrate to the world (and to myself) the nature of my own personal vision. My newest work has attracted the attention of the American Bird Conservancy, for whom I am now commissioned to produce bird illustrations for an upcoming book.

I call myself a “Neo Photo-Secessionist”– humbly borrowing the term from the tradition of Alfred Stieglitz and his group.  I particularly identify with the etched surfaces and beautiful tonality of Heinrich Kuehn, Edward J. Steichen, and Gertrude Kasebier.  In a nutshell, these artists at the turn of the century (c. 1900) were trying to bridge fine art and photography to earn for photography (which was often dismissed  as merely a mechanical and documentary medium) the kind of artistic legitimacy that traditional painting had. They therefore manipulated their black and white images in the dark room to render them more “pictorial”.  These techniques foreshadowed much of what is done with today’s computer capabilities, for example: dodging and burning, image superimposing, and even etching upon the original negatives. That indeed is what I do, though I do it in vivid color– striving similarly to lend artistic endorsement to computer generated art.

Because my work is digital, it can be modified for printing at any size–in fact even compositional alterations are usually quite a simple matter. Contact us for information on customizing any image. All images are professionally printed with archival giclee’ inks, and both canvas and paper are available as a printing CLICK ON IMAGES FOR ENLARGEMENTS

To order or for more information call Mill House Gallery at (870)499-3295