Thomas Weems Fine Art Photography



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Thomas Weems
I picked up a digital camera for the first time in late 2006. Quickly I came to realize that this business of taking pictures was an extraordinary journey of self-discovery. The photograph is much more than simply a moment frozen in time. It is first of all a statement about what one stands for. What we choose to capture in the lens is that with which we most identify. It is inherently a value statement. In a certain sense, the photograph is a reflection of how we see ourselves. It mirrors our personal landscape by focusing in on the bits and pieces of everyday life which have the most intimate meaning to us. As this photographic journey unfolds, we accumulate the symbols of who and what we are, gradually charting a map of our own spiritual geography.

As a native of Richmond, Virginia, I was fortunate to have around me a city rich in historic and cultural value. It was not hard to find subjects waiting to be captured. But the camera taught me to see them in a new way. This is the real joy of photography... the discovery that beneath the surface appearances of what we see there is a voice and a meaning to be drawn forth by various tools of interpretation. By relationships. By light and shadow. By clarity and ambiguity. By manipulations of color and texture and tone. As with any other creative process, photography is a kind of alchemy by which the subject is evolved to a higher spiritual plane. One in which it's inner truth is set free and realized.

Over the course of my work, I've come to gravitate towards two parallel styles. One is a Photoshop technique that smooths out the textures of an image, giving it the appearance of an illustration. This is my preferred method for dealing with color photos. It has a certain way of idealizing the subject matter that sets it apart from the everyday and makes it more pure, much like an impressionist painting would do. The other preferred style is black and white, often with a slight sepia or copper toning. This time-honoured medium has the virtue of accentuating the physicality of a scene. It is most appreciated in those images where form and depth and texture are dominant. In all of my images, I try to animate the subject with a sense of purpose and self-knowledge, as if to tell us that this thing, this person, this place, knows who it is and why it is in the grand tapestry of the world.

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