Carol Erb | Three Questions

Carol Erb was the Co – Juror’s Award Winner for our exhibition “Water” along with Mark Hopkins.  S Gayle Stevens was the Juror for “Water.”

How did you come to photography?

My first experience with photography was a class in high school some 40 years ago. I continued with a few classes in college, but felt that traditional black and white film photography was just too limiting for the type of images I felt inspired to create, so I concentrated on drawing, painting and printmaking.
I left art school after two years to finish a degree in finance and subsequently worked in the corporate world for 15 years. After moving to California with my husband in 1999, I returned to drawing and painting as a hobby.
In 2012, I saw an exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles called “Digital Darkroom”, which showcased the work of several artists who were pushing the limits of digital photography. That exhibit made a huge impression on me. I immediately bought a digital SLR camera and taught myself Photoshop using online instructional videos. At first, I made images just for the fun of it. Last year I started to get serious about my imagery, entering juried shows and going to portfolio reviews.
Carol Erb / Adrift / Jurors Award

Can You tell us about your image?

Adrift was created especially for the “Water” show at the A. Smith Gallery. I really enjoy using call for entry themes to make new images. The background photograph was shot from a ship in Alaska on a day when I thought that the water had a surreal, dreamy quality to it. The image had been siting in a file for over a year, waiting for inspiration to strike. Next, I tried layering several different boat images onto the water, settling on this red one because of the color contrast to the water, the peeling paint, and the angle at which it was shot. After adding a shadow to the boat, I used the Photoshop paintbrush tool to add clouds. The title came to me after I made the image, and I think it pretty much sums up the mood of the piece. I believe this image works as a metaphor for what most everyone feels at some time in their life.

As an artist, how significant of a role does Photoshop play in your work?

Photoshop is essential to my image making. There are a lot of photographers out there that eschew digital manipulation, or only use it to fine tune an image. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for that type of work, and in fact I own many fine art photographs made using traditional methods.  My own approach to image making comes from my background as a painter. I want to create something that does not exist in the real world.

Postcript:  This is Kevin speaking, as a painter also I connect strongly with Carol’s approach to making pictures. Photography is many things, and, is a different, nuanced art form depending on which photographer one is talking to.  The making of compelling images is a goal that transcends disciplines and unites artists regardless of medium.  Amanda’s vision for the gallery and the exhibitions is encapsulated in her statement at the end of each call for entry — “Creativity is encouraged.”  Onward.


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