View Artist Statement
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Gallery Direct Interview with GLENN MACKINNON|
Glen McKinnon uses light and form to produce photographic images that are not only sensual but portray themselves to the viewer in a unique way. His detailed artistic interpretation of reality is revealed in his creation of memorable and aesthetically pleasing images.
How and when did you decide that you wanted to become a photographer?
As a young boy was interested in photography, but never knew or understood you could make a living as a photographer. I was in my mid fourties when I started to learn the art of photography. For the most part I am self taught. I would read evrything I could get my hands on regarding photography and pick the brains of those who knew about photography and print making.
Tell us a little about your educational background and how you developed your knowledge of photography.
I have a Masters in Education but I am self taught in photography. I monitored photography courses and through much trial and error I started to become more proficient. It took me years before I felt confident enought to show people my work. All of my work was done in black and white.
During your career as a photographer, what individual or event has inspired you the most?
I would have to say no one person inspired me more than another. I love a good black and white prints. I guess I am inspired by a great photograph, not the by person who made it. I love the whole process. First visualizing the photo, taking the photo, printing it, and seeing something come to life that you created from concept to the finished image.
You shoot a wide range of subjects. What subject do you enjoy shooting the most and why is that subject your favorite?
That's a hard question for me to answer. At times I think it is nature, then later I think it's the human form. I enjoy taking portraits. I think for me, it is the challenge of making an interesting and sometimes thought provoking image. A photograph someone would think enough of to purchase and hang in their home. An image that creates a response from the viewer.
What format cameras do you own and which do you use most often and why?
I began shooting with a medium format camera, later using both medium and 35mm cameras. I am currently working with a digital camera as well a film cameras.
The darkroom is an important part of the photographic process whether it’s a “wet” or “digital” darkroom. Could you tell us which you use and how it impacts your final image?
I worked exclusively in the darkroom until two years ago. Then I started to learn digital photography. I now own two epson printers and I use photoshop and other editing programs. It is as though I have started all over again. I do find that having experience working in a wet darkroom has made it much easier for me to learn to use a digital darkroom. Understanding the wet process has helped me with the digital process. I find I am using the same techniques I learned in the wet darkroom with photoshop editing.
What would you say are the advantages/disadvantages of using a digital camera versus film?
I don't believe the digital print is up to par with the darkroom print.at this time. Although, it is getting closer every day with the new inks and papers. I still prefer black and whte photography and I am working to duplicate a wet print with a digital print. I think I am close to obtaining the fine details in a digital print as I did with a darkroom print. I am shooting more color photos now, but black and white prints still remain my favorite
I see from your work that you shoot both in the studio, with controlled light, and outdoors, with natural light. Tell us how you handle each of these lighting situations and which you find the most rewarding and challenging?
I shoot mostly with natural light, even in the studio. I prefer natural light. There are times I will use strobes for lighting but only when neccessary. Sometimes when I am photographing portraits or art work I will use studio lighting.
You do both “Commercial” and “Fine Art Photography” each being at opposite ends of the photography spectrum. Could you tell us how you feel these types of photography differ on an emotional and artistic level and how you approach them as a photographer?
I try and limit myself to " Fine Art Photography" now. The reason I started photographing in the first place was to product fine art photographs for exhibiting. I began doing commerical photography to support my need for cameras and material. As I become more proficient as a commerical photographer I recieved more assignments. I try and approch my commerical work the same way I do the fine art photos. It is true I don't find the same emotional satisfaction with commerical as I do my fine art work but I approch the process in the same way. That is say, I try to produce the best possible image I am capable of producing. I put in the same amount of time and effort. Sometimes even more.
You have done many figure studies. When you photograph people, how do you gain their trust and get them to relax prior to the shoot.
I always make it a practice of meeting with the models before the shoot in a public setting. I show them my work and explain what I am looking for from them. If they haven't seen my web site I encourage them to view it. I want them to know me and know I am and that I'm not trying to explote them. We discuss what we will be shooting and why. I try to make sure they feel confortable with me and if they wish to bring a friend with them on the shoot I encourage it. I never apply pressure and hope my work speaks for itself. I seldom use professional models, which I find brings a freshness to the work.
What has been the biggest challenge you have been confronted with during your career as a photographer?
Getting my work shown. Many galleries don't show photos. They seldom show someone unknown to them. Now with digital photography everyone thinks they are photographers. Gallery owners tell me they hear people saying I can do that. I believe it takes a trained eye and knowledge of photography to understand what truely makes a good quaility photograph.
Thinking back on the experiences you have had over the years, what advice would you give an aspiring photographer?
Don't give up. If your work is of a good quality it will stand out. Take pictures and more pictures, never get discouraged. Find your own style.
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