An Arts Guide for San Francisco's Dogpatch District
I am addicted. There is something still so magical to me about pointing a little box at the world and then taking that carefully chosen slice of life home and recreating it in two dimensions. The first time I remember doing this was when I was 9 or 10 and I “brought home” the Hoover Dam after a family vacation. I certainly have more input into the final result these days, given all our modern digital tools, (the drug store did the magic back then) but the joy at the final result is still as great, as I tweak and mold that captured representation into my feeling of what I had seen.
I am often asked when viewers engage some of my work, “Is that real? Are those the true colors?” I usually respond by saying that when I was young I wanted to be able to paint. I loved the few art and painting classes I attended as a young boy. I ended up following a different career path, but the desire to interpret the world as I saw it never went away. My camera and my photographic explorations have helped me express things in a way that I was unable to in those early years. I try to use the camera to convey what I feel at the various locations I visit. Sometimes, mere rusted scratches on an old door will convey the feeling of the most expressive calligraphy. Time exposure can be used to transform the shape of waves into a sense of the energy they carry. Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone reminded me of a certain style of Japanese painting and so I tried to bring that out in the image.
I try to be as faithful to the original scene as I can but not a slave to naturalism. Black and white photography is a perfect example of this tension between the “real” and the expressive. There is nothing more “unreal” than a black and white image, except perhaps to a creature with no color vision. And yet, the emotion, drama and energy that exist in the finest black and white images are undeniable. In this same vein I try to “capture” the natural world in a way that is not always perfectly recognizable but which hopefully has a lot to say nevertheless.
More of Craig’s work can be found at: