This year Sara Grawbarger Kuefler exhibits two new pieces from her ‘Ghost Project’ as well as images from her ‘Nature and History’ series, in her third consecutive year of participation in the Exposure Photography Festival.
She has enjoyed photography from a young age, recalling her first camera to be a purple and turquoise McDonalds kids camera, eventually progressing to a SLR towards the end of high school. In 2004 Sara graduated from the University of Calgary with a degree in English and a minor in Fine Art.
The prints from her ongoing ‘Ghost Project’ are limited edition dark room prints on fibre based paper, made from black and white 35mm negatives. The double exposures are achieved in-camera with her Canon Rebel G 35mm SLR, sitting very still on a tripod.
This collection is analogue from start to finish, expressing that she enjoys the effect, and the challenge of working with the aperture and light meter to achieve the correct exposure, as well as the partially unpredictable nature of what her final image will look like. “I feel that I know this (Canon Rebel) camera quite well, and I love the control I have using the manual setting. I also wanted the lighting to look natural and to give the images an older feel. There is no flash used, so some of the exposures tend to be a bit longer.”, she admits it has been a learning curb though.
In addition, Sara is also exhibiting images from her ‘Nature and History’ series. This is a larger and more generalized body of work that features her interest in architecture and artifacts. Some of these images have been captured using film and some via digital photography.
She loves the challenge of capturing something that strikes her interest and evokes an emotional reaction when the framing, depth of field, exposure, and perspective all come into play in creating an image that is much more specific than what your eye alone can see. She describes this moment as the magic of the camera “…you look through the viewfinder and a whole new world can unveil itself.”
She admits she held out in regard to buying a digital SLR because of her love of film but since becoming a mom the digital option has become convenient, and the immediacy of being able to see images right away, plus the control the digital darkroom affords are definitely bonuses too.
“Digital of course is much more affordable, especially when you are taking many frames, and much easier to edit without having to use more than a computer and the proper software. Beautiful photographs can be made using either method, and there is a ton to learn using either method also, which is one thing I find fascinating about photography.”
Appreciating digital as much as analogue photography, she believes they both have their place. “Analogue is my first love and I don’t feel digital can ever fully replace the magic of many analogue processes. There is something more organic about analogue photography, and you can end up with some lovely surprises.”
Poetry In Green
Frog Amongst Autumn Leaves
Peacock Feathers 3
Peacock Feathers 2
Peacock Feathers 1
Certain photographers like Dorothea Lange and Yousuf Karsh stand out to her, and she finds George Webber’s perspective very interesting. She is also a fan of Kevin J. Mellis, whose work is very soulful. Sara likes documentary photography, so prefers not to alter her images too intensely. When she needs to edit her images she will stick to basic editing, such adjusting contrast levels and saturation; as a general rule of thumb the type of editing is that which you could do in a traditional dark room. Explaining “it is lovely to be able to take the perfect picture and not need to do any adjustments after the shutter closes, but oftentimes you can really enhance a photograph with a little post processing. It can be a really fun and rewarding aspect of photography.”
Happy when she’s accepted into a juried show, she keeps in mind that creative pursuits are very subjective. She has exhibited her work in nine art gallery shows, has had her work published in three print publications, a couple calendars and a couple more web media publications. This month you can find her work at Motion Gallery or by visiting her website http://cargocollective.com/greyhillsstudio or Instagram @greyhillsstudio
Written by Sandra Montgomery
Edited by Renee Laferriere