Photography exhibit in Avon takes a close look at the natural world
Avon CO, Colorado
Name: Nathan Hadley
Medium: Digital Photography
How long have you lived in the valley: 2-and-a-half years
Date and time of show: Through Nov. 30
Location of Show: Loaded Joe’s in Avon
Name of show: Unusual Perspectives
Artist reception: Friday, 6 to 8 p.m.
Vail Daily: What does photography mean to you?
Nathan Hadley: Photography is an efficient medium for documenting and expressing what I choose to see. Not only does it encourage me to interact with new places, but it also pushes me to look at life from new vantage points. It’s basically a cure for the daily routine.
VD: When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?
NH: I began drawing when I was three and I haven’t stopped observing or creating since. I’ve been burned out and unmotivated before, but the need to create has always resurfaced in some shape or form. Having said this, I still wouldn’t define myself as an artist. Art is just something I do. It could be whatever I put my constructive energy into at the time.
VD: What inspires you to create? What kind of mood do you have to be in?
NH: I’ve recently been fueled by a fascination with lenses. Every so often I’ll buy one on Ebay and will want to try it out in different situations to see what it can do. I’m amazed how each one transmits light differently. I know these feelings are fleeting, so at some point I’ll need to find new reasons for shooting. But if the cup is overfilled, then why wish for more, right?
When I see good photography, I realize how much I don’t know, and it inspires me to be more flexible and to try things that I’m not comfortable with. I get bored with the places I frequent every day (as do most people), so that’s why I look forward to traveling. I took a three-week motorcycle tour of the west coast this summer, and it was a huge source of inspiration.
VD: Why did you choose the medium that you work with, or did it choose you?
NH: I took some film photography classes in high school and college, but at the time it didn’t really interest me as an art form. But now that digital photography is a lot more advanced, I can enjoy taking pictures without worrying about the price of film or developing. The image-capturing process can be either spontaneous or thoughtfully planned, and I love that flexibility. Meanwhile, I’m not having to find places to store canvasses or sculptures.
I’ve stopped painting for now, and I don’t think I was ever very passionate about it to begin with. I don’t enjoy sitting in one place trying to force an imagination that isn’t there. I’m a reactionary artist, a planner and a problem solver. I need a set of rules to work around. I can’t think of anything more boring than sitting in a room creating something from scratch. When I’m out taking pictures and dealing with a subject, I have to determine which angle to shoot from, what light source is best, how much I want in focus, etc. These rules are concrete, and it’s up to me to use them as I see fit.
VD: Describe your style.
NH: My ultimate goal in photography is to surprise myself. This involves making an effort to see something from a new perspective. An art professor once told me ‘As soon as you develop a style, you end up shooting yourself in the foot.’
I think it’s great advice, and I try to remind myself of this every now and then. But I’ve still got a lot to learn. For this show, I’ve been selective in order to present a theme. These photos take a closer look at the natural world. They’re an attempt to show ordinary things from strange perspectives or in unusual situations.
Some of the work you’ll see at Loaded Joe’s was made by “stacking” lenses in order to enhance magnification. This process involves attaching a long lens (135mm) to my camera, then reversing and attaching a shorter one (50mm) to the end of the 135mm so that they’re facing each other. The result is a magnification ratio of 2.7 times. I love this setup because I can see things that I can’t normally see with my naked eye, and I can print them out quite large. It’s also a rather inexpensive way to shoot because the lenses I use are old manual focus lenses from the ’70s that can be found for cheap. All I need is an adapter ring for my camera, which is also inexpensive.
VD: If you were to meet any artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
NH: I’m fascinated with musicians because they have talents that I don’t have. However, if I ever met the ones I like, then I’d probably be disappointed in everything else they created. I feel it would somehow ruin the art for me to see their limitations as people. There’s a lot to be said for not knowing.
VD: Do you own a favorite piece of art?
NH: I do have a few ceramic bowls which I love to use. Nothing really compares to that one bowl or cup that feels just right in my hands. I’d rather not accumulate unnecessary things (unless they’re cylindrical with glass on the inside!) because my interests are always changing, so I’d get bored with whatever I’ve got. I’m thankful for the library, Borders and the Internet.
VD: Where do you sell your art?
NH: I currently work at Beaver Framing in Avon and have a few things on display there. You can also check my art out online at http://www.pbase.com/thrifty05.