Linda Brown: What it is and What Else it Is

 Fountain Street Fine Art Gallery is happy to Introduce our new core member Linda Brown. Linda shares some background, ideas and process below. You can see her work and all core members work in the members show "Yellow" in the new Gallery Space at 460C Harrison Ave in August!

I grew up in Hudson MA, graduated high school in 1967, married my high school sweetheart in 1971 and moved to Berkeley CA for a year, then Chicago IL for a year, then to Ann Arbor MI until my return to MA in 2013 after my retirement and the death of my husband. 

While in MI, I attended Eastern Michigan University and earned my Bachelor of Fine Art, concentrating in photography and anthropology.  I started my artwork in painting and drawing but soon began using my husband’s Nikon F camera.  I developed a love of black and white and of working in my dark room.   My main focus was images showing vulnerability and solitude.    I then began postgraduate work in photography, but I was working at a behavioral health organization at that time and a promotion was offered on the condition I take a few courses in public administration.  Those courses so excited me that I switched to the Public Administration Department and completed my MPA.   I was soon promoted to Chief Finance and Operations Officer.  All during this time, though, I continued photographing.  It was always my plan to return to photography when I retired.

My husband and I traveled often and I always had the camera around my neck.  Places we visited included Canada, Colorado, Grand Canyon, Charleston SC, the Outer Banks of NC, Little Saint Simon Island of GA, Savannah, Smokey Mountains TN, Ashville NC, and various places in ME, NH, VT, and MA.  Our trips always included oceans, mountains, and cities; and my photography reflects these fascinations—nature and street photography.  

I have two main areas of interest:  nature and street photography.  Regardless of the genre, my guiding principle is a statement from Minor White that we photograph what it is and what else it is.  Another guiding principle is to see the light and photograph what is in it.  

A major influence on my work with nature is from the impressionist painters, especially Monet and Renoir.   I am developing a style based on the interplay of light and the blurring of edges.  I am using various filters and brushes to create a painterly effect that elicits thoughts and memories.  I rely heavily on reflections and the glow of light on objects to produce an ethereal presence.

I am also working on a project of underwater art where the camera is pointed down toward the floor of a body of water.  It is looking underwater from above.   Light reflecting off the water creates a rhythm of patterns and things on the floor create abstract images.  This imagery reminds me of ancient cave drawings.   

Much of my street photography reflects my interest in glances, gestures, and interactions that reveal some human condition and provoke deep inner feelings.  Like my work in nature, I want the viewer to become an active participant in creating their own world of thoughts, memories, or fantasies.  I do not restrict my street photography to cities, though.   Anywhere people are is fodder for this body of work.

I usually shoot handheld, but at times I will use a tripod.  My equipment is Nikon:  the D700 camera;  my preferred lens is the 70-200 but also use 24-70, 16-35, and a 100 close up prime.  

I use three post-processing packages to create my photographs:  Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, and NIK.  I will create what I call a “straight” photograph first—that is one that is adjusted by the usual darkroom techniques such as extending darks and lights, color corrections, cropping, etc.  I then work on a copy using various filters in NIK and Photoshop as well as Photoshop’s brushes to create the desired final image.  The final image may be a painterly application, a conversion to black and white, or both.