Thursday August 28, 2014

Finding art in landscapes

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Winnipeg landscape photographer/artist Hans Arnold signs a copy of his most recent book at an artist reception at the Godfrey Dean Gallery. “It's not really what came out of the camera. It's the end product.” — Hans Arnold

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It took years for Hans Arnold to focus his love of photography on capturing landscapes, but today his images have hung in many galleries, most recently a show currently at the Godfrey Dean Gallery in Yorkton.

Arnold, who was on hand Saturday at a reception at the Gallery, said he has been taking photographs since 1971, taking to a camera his father bought for him and his three brothers.

While the other brothers interest in taking pictures faded quickly, it did not for Hans, who recalls going around Winnipeg taking pictures as a youth.

"I got excited when I picked up film at the lab," he said.

In 1979 Arnold made a full time foray into photography, a partnership, where they did everything from weddings to birthday. The business lasted only two years, before turning back to a more traditional career,

"I still photographed casually," he said, adding he maintained "a major passion for photography."

It was during this time Arnold began to recognize landscapes were his love.

"Looking at the pictures I realized there was something here I really enjoyed doing," he said.

By the mid 1990s Arnold was nearly exclusively a landscape photographer, one who found his work was becoming recognized, which meant magazine work, gallery shows, workshops, and speaking engagements.

"It all just sort of fell on me," he said with a modest smile.

And of course Arnold remains an avid photographer, one who has recently released a new book of his work; Up North: Manitoba's Last Frontier.

Arnold said he does spend time working with each photograph on his computer.

"Yes I do," he said. "You can't help but do something with the photographs."

Arnold said when he takes a photograph the visual image in his 'mind's eye' has seen the landscape a certain way, and that visual has illicited a particular emotion for him. It is that emotional connection to a landscape he is trying to capture in his photographs.

However, the camera's image does not always match what Arnold saw as the photographer.

Through software manipulation of the raw camera image, Arnold said he brings it back to the vision and resulting emotion he felt when taking the shot.

"When I look at it on the computer the first time … it's just not there," he said.

So Arnold said he "fixes it up" so that the final image captures what he felt and saw, like the pieces in the Spectacles of Nature show at the GDG.

That said, Arnold said there are limits to what he will do with software.

"I don't add anything. I don't subtract anything," he said, adding it's more about sharpening an image, or adjusting colours to reflect what he saw to attract him to take the photograph.

It is a process to enhance the final image, he said.

Arnold said it is processing to create a final image which matters.

"It's not really what came out of the camera," he said. "It's the end product."

In that regard Arnold said, "photography is definitely an art form," adding the best photographers today are also the best at working the software to enhance images.

For Arnold the art of photography is all about the emotion, starting with his own as a photographer.

"I like to be in the mood when I take pictures," he told those attending the reception Saturday.

And it's emotion he hopes he brings out of viewers too.

"I want people to look at a painting and feel a mood, or a memory," he said.

Arnold related one of the viewers at the reception Saturday told him they felt as though "they could into" a particular pice and "feel the cold," of the winter scene.

"That is mission accomplished for me," he said.

Arnold's work will hang at the GDG until Feb. 15.

For more information on Arnold check

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