At a young age of 16, I took my first photography class and became hooked instantly. Photography gives me a sense of peace and harmony within myself. I am a very big daydreamer and ideas run threw my head all day long like a marathon. I gaze up at the sky constantly throughout the day asking myself if that would be an interesting backdrop for a picture. Lighting to me is 60 percent of decision in taking a picture. Bottom line, if the lighting isn’t right, I won’t take the picture.
The cameras I use most are a medium format 6x6 Bronica made in 1961 and a large format 4x5 camera custom made in Asia. I also have used digital on and off but the traditional film cameras to me are more fun. They give me sense of accomplishment because with a film camera unlike digital, you don’t get to see your results. So this has to be done with precision. There is a series of steps that you have to go through in order to take one picture that can take quite some time to set up. If one step is miss calculated your image won’t turn out. So working with film cameras makes me think very hard about all aspects of each shot I take.
From certain techniques I learned over the years, many of my pictures have been mistaken for paintings. This is a technique I use a lot and seem to compose my work in this manner. Some will say there is no way that I could have done this and must have used Photoshop or some creative software. I take this type of conversations a compliment and mission accomplished.
I also very much love, PAINTING WITH LIGHT. It is an old technique that combines very long exposures in the dark of the night. This is a technique that I use to paint a picture back in with different types of flashlights with colored gels as my paintbrush. I usually wait for a full moon on a very cloudy night for my background and my exposure time would be from twenty minutes to many hours.
My website is surrealimaging.com
I am doing Chicago Photo Tours in the city now and available. I teach new and experienced day or night photography, and show them the best places to shoot in the city.
Kevin O'Connell, 312-404-3519