We are used to viewing photography as the visual truth — photography records facts. Despite the ability to change photographs by digital retouching techniques, most of us still face photographs as records of reality (unless there is obvious manipulation). This is the unique power of photography.
      I like to make photographs that are almost hard to believe, refining the reality towards an idealistic state, reaching towards a magical image that merges fantasy with reality. The viewer is faced with a dilemma: the image is a record of reality but it seems like a fantasy.
      I majored in Photography at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, and did graduate work in Photography and Art History at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque (where I also studied classical guitar). Becoming familiar with the work of the master photographers (Alfred Steiglitz, Edward Weston, Minor White, Ansel Adams, Elliot Porter, Margaret Burke-White and many others) has given me an understanding of the capabilities of the photographic medium and has influenced the images I like to create. I also have tremendous appreciation for Oriental art, especially Japanese woodblock prints (as did Van Gogh), and find the simplicity, balance and attention to detail inherent in these graphics especially inviting. I believe that studying as much of the History of Art, from Impressionistic paintings to Pre-Columbian Art to the works of Picasso and Henry Moore, can be invaluable for any artist. My love for music (I've recorded two CDs which have received very nice reviews) and architecture (my father was a very fine architect) has to be included in the list of influences on my photographic work. I find that many photographers who desire to be artists limit themselves to concentrating only on the photographic medium, sometimes forgetting the rest of history and art.
      Although photographic technique plays a major role in creating these images, I try to create a finished product that does not remind one of technique. The image is fine-tuned by controlling tones and/or colors through use of (and waiting for) proper lighting. The capture of light — this is what the science of photography is about. I use different cameras for different situations: 35mm (Nikon) for street portraits like those seen here, 6 x 7 cm (Mamiya) and 4 x 5 (Linhoff) for landscapes and still life work. And the Hasselblad (6 x 6 cm) is great for portraiture (if you have the time) and figure studies. I've tried a variety of films throughout the years and especially like Agfapan 25 ASA for black-and-white work (although I started out on Plus-X and also like Ilford's 50 ASA neg film) and Vericolor, Ektar, Kodachrome and Agfachrome for color work.
      I have been doing fine art and commercial photography for over twenty years and have sold many prints in galleries throughout the U.S. After school I became a production manager/photographer with a graphics firm/ad agency in Ann Arbor. We were one of the first in the area to go full-fledged into Desktop with Macs about the time Quark Xpress and Adobe Illustrator came out. There wasn't a good service bureau in Ann Arbor at the time, so we got a flatbed scanner and an imagesetter and became our own and started doing jobs for other early desktoppers. We eventually became a big color house as well as an ad agency/graphics/design firm with a photo studio and the best drum scanners and digital color output devices. Early on in our desktop days, a programming wiz came into our studio and said he wanted us to try his new photo-retouching/color separation software. His name was Tom Knoll — one of the principal authors of Photoshop. He taught me how to use it way before he sold it to Adobe, back when it was a beta version "b.89." Needless to say, I was astounded, and have been using Photoshop ever since. It offers the photographer the ability to achieve more control when making a print (or a scan) from a negative or transparency. In combination with high-resolution drum scans and the latest digital imaging equipment I can get more out of a negative than ever before. Visit my website (linked below) to view more of my photographs and for more information about scanning, digital imaging and Photoshop.
                      — Carl Volk

Note: The thumbnail images to the left were cropped from the original images and do not always represent the full composition.


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