Week No. 5. In the Light of Day and Artwork Titles

Recent infrared photographs. The bottom two are from before the recent snow storm. The reflected infrared from the snow on the trees and the bright white outhouse was so intense the sky appears black because of the fast shutter speed required to capture details in the small building.

This week on his Red Dot Blog, Jason Horejs of the Xanadu Gallery posted an item entitled “Collective Wisdon: Creating Titles for Your Artwork” addressed a question dear to my heart. Anyone who as followed my work knows that I title all my photographs. To my way of thinking artists who exhibit artworks as “Untitled” send a message that they are interested in process but not in ideas, in telling a story, or in explaining their motivation.

Horejs makes a good case that not titling work is a bad business practice, but I think titling work is as much a part of doing art as process.

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography and Encaustic Art He is an outstanding location photographer, 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. But 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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