November 22, 2010

Artist Profile- Bruce Keyes

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:48 pm

In spite of the huge volume of background information available on Bruce, nothing can quite prepare you for talking to the man in person.  Animated, entertaining, energetic – none of those words can come close to describing the electric enthusiasm Bruce brings to his discussion of photography, art, digital printmaking, and even the Gulf Coast, Missisippi and the art community there that he calls home.

Bruce’s work hinges on his idea of the “Gestalt of the Lens” – his website bears the tag “Through the Lens Artistry” – the notion that the lens itself determines the vision, the organization of the work itself.  This philosophy extends through every tendril of the many types of work he does, from his book of documentary work for which he may be best known, Spirit of New Orleans, through his nude, abstract, experimental and extended documentary work.  Keyes follows his lens, wherever it takes him.

Keyes is completely involved in digital photography.  He finds it liberating, empowering, and, in fact, feels no need to burden students with all the baggage of learning traditional darkroom and film-based methods.  Instead, he encourages young photographers to experiment, relinquish control, see where a process leads them and their work using all of the tools at their disposal.  Embracing the potential this entirely new medium and remaining open to exploring and experimenting, Keyes could have been the original proponent of the “Let the Tools Set You Free” school of digital photography and imaging.

Interestingly, this is where his use of various media from Parrot comes into his process.  Keyes seldom, if never has a final vision of what media a photograph will ultimately be printed on when making the image.  His goal is to collect as much as he can, to make as rich a capture as he’s able to allow himself flexibility in the processing and printing of the photograph.  Once the image is ready to print, he’ll experiment with many of our papers, canvases and fabrics to allow the media to render the image as it does naturally: our canvas, Angelica cold and hot-press watercolor papers, our photo-base media, even our fabrics like linen and silk.  Rather than settling on one single paper or treatment, he may print the same image on a range of types and textures, and keep them all as different interpretations of the image.  Keyes relies us to do what we do best, to provide the highest quality media with the best performance, and in the broadest range of offerings, so he can do what he does best- create remarkable photography.

Take a look at the video of Bruce Keyes speaking about his work, his process and how Parrot media helps him create his remarkable images.  He follows the “Gestalt of the Lens”, but also the “Gestalt of the Paper”, and we’re proud to say we’re a part of that.

See more of his work at his site, as well as his book Spirit of New Orleans and other projects.

-Ted Dillard

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