Growing with the times

I’ve been interested in photography ever since I was gifted a camera as a child. Back then, you used this thing called 35 mm photographic film. One had to be careful and keep the film away from sunlight. The film came in canisters that you loaded into your camera. You pressed the shutter button; the shutter opened, light shone onto the film, and the shutter closed; and the film (hopefully) advanced to give you a new blank bit of it.

You couldn’t see what had been imprinted on the film until you developed it in a darkroom. The film itself took a negative image. The image that your eyes saw only truly came to life when you 1) shone light through the film onto photographic paper with an enlarger and then 2) developed that paper in a special developing bath in the darkroom. Only then would you learn if you successfully captured what you saw through the viewfinder.

Some of you remember this technology. I developed my own black and white film and created photographs in the darkroom as a university student. It was fascinating. I felt like a skilled magician, dodging and burning to bring out the best in a print. (Dodging: less light exposure, lighter image. Burning: more exposure, darker image).

One of my favourite images from my first foray into the darkroom, taken at a car show in Wisconsin in 2003

It’s taken many years of trial & error, bravery, and experimentation to grow as a photographer. I learned the basic rules and how to bend them. I’ve taken professional photographs of people, houses, gardens, and natural landscapes around the world. I also learned the artistry behind interior and landscape architecture, marketing, branding, and graphic design.

I learned that I enjoy creating images that present their subjects in a new light.

This year has placed many things in a new perspective. I looked through the viewfinder at myself as an artist, and I saw that my skills as photographer are fully developed. Many people move into a mentor or teacher role once they’ve reached this point, but that direction doesn’t appeal to me.

It’s time to do some dodging and burning to bring out the best in my deep skillset.

Drawing and designing has been in my veins longer than my love of photography. My skills and background help me present complex ideas in a way that makes them easy to understand. I’m going to share knowledge through beautiful figures, illustration, and logos.

I’m pivoting to graphic design for science communication.

I want to make science an interesting topic of discussion with your friends, your colleagues, your elected officials. I think everyone can be a scientist and share knowledge for a socially inclusive and responsible future. Won’t you join me?

(Check out more of my whimsical designs in my Change2Neutral collection.)

Published by Outspoken Images by Marie Warner Preston

Creating illustrations for sustainability, stewardship, and science communication.

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