Artist Shelley Benjamin presents an intriguing collection of digital photography rich in color and atmosphere. Visit her website to see more of her portfolio.
Visual art has always been an important part of my life. As a young child, I would stare at a landscape painting on the wall at my grandparents’ home. I always wanted to jump into that image.
As I got older, I became an avid museum-goer. My favorite excursion was to wander the museums in New York City and discover paintings I hadn’t seen before. In college, my advisor said my eyes lit up when I discussed my textile creations. It was obvious that art was my passion.
I started as a textile designer, and explored textiles as an artistic medium. My professional career changed directions, but I continued to explore my creativity after hours, working in mixed media, collage, painting, drawing and photography.
As a result of one cold May morning in particular while I was taking pictures at an iris garden (my favorite flower), I became hooked on photography. I had taken some lessons, and armed with my new knowledge, a rented lens and a perfect day, I came home to discover that I had many exciting photos. This was my turning point.
My art blends photography and digital technology. The initial photo is altered, enhancing the image to fit my vision. Online classes have given me the tools to push my work further and allow me to create pieces that have a strong impact or tell a story.
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A piece usually starts with a photo I have taken. From that point on, I build upon the original, using layers in photoshop or other apps. A finished print usually has forty or more layers.
The changes include adding additional imagery, textures and painting with a pressure sensitive pen on the image. The colors, tones, lighting and other areas are adjusted until the finished image has the impact I am seeking.
I am inspired by the world around me—nature, architecture, shadows, light and reflections. Additionally, I love fairy tales and myths, and am drawn to the colors and light in 20th century children’s book illustrations. I alternate between painterly landscapes and florals and storytelling images.
My goal is draw the viewer in—to look at my images and derive peace from them; to look at my storytelling pieces and want to know more. I want there to be a dialog between my art and the viewer.
A customer recently told me that he moved my image to another location so he could look at it more often. That is what I hope to achieve.
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