Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Gaining Information From Photography


My busy week in Penticton continues with two days of teaching “Twisting the Landscape” and an evening lecture tomorrow night. That means I will delve into the list of questions provided by several readers at the end of March.

Bonnie C. commented: I enjoy your photos and would like to see how you use them in your work.

Thank you, Bonnie. I wish I could just send you (and the other readers with the same question) to one section on my website gallery to show you how I use the photos in the art I create. In the past I have drawn from my photographic images to create landscape based work. “Compelled” had primarily realistic landscape works based on our trip across Canada. You can find images here as you scroll to the lower half of the 2009 Gallery. In 2012 I created another complete body of work (23 pieces) titled “Polar Embrace.”

Both of these collections are more or less realistic reproductions of what I captured with the help of the sensor in my camera. You will most likely say, “What about all the other images, the countless flowers, plants, the wildlife and architectural photos?” My answer is not as black and white when it comes to the rest of the images I have accumulated. My camera is a tool, it helps me gain distance and perspective when it comes to capturing color, the interplay of light and shadow, textures, line and shapes. I enjoy and embrace the moment when I use the camera – I NEVER project into the future what might become of the image I am composing through the viewfinder. In a way I am using photography as a way to meditate.

I am sure many of you will agree that when you explore nature, surround yourself with birdsong, wind rustling through the grass and trees you are able to forget the pressures of every day life and work. My photographic excursions are a balancing act to help me cope with the ongoing demands of creating, exhibiting, and teaching.

Time to turn it over to the readers: Do you use your camera to collect visual information for your art practice? How to you incorporate this practice? Are you working from photos, do you print them on fabric? Share and leave a comment below!

This entry was published on May 16, 2013 at 6:19 am. It’s filed under Art, Creativity Update, Design, Journaling, Landscape photography, Nature photography, Nature's Art and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

8 thoughts on “Gaining Information From Photography

  1. Hi Anna,

    Belatedly catching up on blog reading…and thought I wouldn’t have much to say about this subject as I am strictly a “point-and-click” person (I leave the more advanced photography to my skilled and talented daughter whose interest it is). However, on reflection — especially after transferring an extensive photo collection from my old PC to my new laptop so I can continue to access it easily) — I have to say that yes, I do use photos in my work — largely as inspiration. Some of my pieces are taken directly, and some are more compilations of ideas: light, landscape shapes, colour, detail. As I grow in my art I find that the ‘reading’ of my photos — finding what I want to take from them to translate into textiles — is sharpening, and the photos themselves are too. That is, I am getting better at capturing what I see and what I want to express.

    Thank you for your guidance in this area!


  2. Hennie on said:

    Wow Anna, your lecture last night at the Penticton Quilt Canada conference to a jam packed room of over 400 eager quilters was totally awesome. Your work is so tremendously creative and artistic. Thanks for sharing and wonderful seeing you again. Hennie


  3. acdc506Donna Cutler on said:

    Hi Anna: I use photos extensively in my artwork. I thread paint from my photos – sometimes a totally realistic interpretation and other times, not so realistic. One of my favorite tricks is to create an impression made up of component parts of different photos, ie. a hillside here, a group of flowers there, until I achieve a final rendering of something I would find interesting to stitch. I also frequently take a grouping of components, piece them together and take another photo of these, which can in turn be manipulated further. Lots of times, my end results don’t actually exist anywhere except on paper.

    Another favorite thing for me is to “collect” skies and water. I have a great many photos of wonderful storm clouds, roll clouds, whispy prairie clouds, etc. Almost always I change the sky of what I’m intending to stitch. It’s remarkable how a peaceful, sunny summer day can change when you add a very nasty black thunderhead. I often use photo transfer to this. I realize that there’s a company that will turn your photos, prints, etc. into yardage, but seldom do I use a photo more than once or twice, so this would be an option I would use only very occasionally.

    Well that’s a few of the ways that I use my photos. I’ve started travelling year round with a small camera in my car – you just never know where the next photo opportunity will present itself and they almost always appear at their best if I don’t have a camera with me!



  4. Marilyn Clulow on said:

    Couldn’t open up Polar Embrace on my IPad,loved Compelled,,very interesting how you interpret your phot images, much food for thought,,one does not need to be literal . Thank you as usual for your inspiration and teaching. I am learning a lot from you. Serafina


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