Week No. 1, Down an Road Less Traveled


2016_01w01aA New Direction

For five years I’ve published a daily blog of my photography under the heading “Jay M. Ressler Imaging 365: A daily log of my artistic journey,” which was linked to my personal Facebook page.  Beginning with this posting, I’m publishing the blog under a different moniker, “Jay M. Ressler 52 Weeks: Sights and Insights.”

During the first year of my 365 blog, 2011, I posted 663 pictures beginning in early April. Starting January 1, 2012, I organized it around one photograph a day.

In may respects the 365 project has been beneficial. It’s demanding and good discipline. On the downside, however, more than a fair number of pedestrian photographs ended up being published, while some real gems got overlooked. But isn’t that in the nature of the beast?

With this posting, marking the beginning of the second half of the second decade, I am changing direction with this blog. This will no longer be a daily blog, nor will it be strictly a venue for posting my own photographs. In addition, to my own photography, I hope with a more leisurely schedule to be able to examine the history of photography, the work of other photographers, questions of theory and practice in the medium.

This won’t be a “how to” blog (for my “how to” column refer to the bimonthly newsletter of the Berks Art Alliance, The Pallette). I hope to make this more project-centered—a halfway step between what appears on the blog and what I actually show in the real world. I also hope to include occasional video.

Part of the reason for making this change is to allocate more of my time to showing work on paper and to marketing.

This is new territory for me; we’ll see how it goes. My goal is to post once a week, on Thursday mornings.

In the process of preparing to make some needed changes on both my main we site and this blog, I introduced a fatal corruption to blog’s database. For that reason, I’ve had to start from scratch without the planned archives. A fresh start may prove to be a good thing, perhaps some archival pages can be partially reconstructed.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography, Encaustic Art, and Oil Painting He is an outstanding location photographer and painter, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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