Artist Spotlight: Paul Roark

In Article, Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector, Photographer on February 16, 2010 at 5:18 pm

The Granary, Tumacacory, AZ,

It is always of interest to see how an artist evolves in his work. Often times that includes his “day job” as well as his art. In the case of Paul Roark he was an attorney.

I decided to split my working life into
two segments—one “practical” (money-making) and one
where I could pursue photography as an art and not have
to worry about starving.

Paul is a printer as well as photographer with a sensitivity to digital technology and high tech (and sometimes low tech) inks. He focused early on Black and White prints due to an interesting turn of fate.

My first big break was a one-man show at
the Solvang Gallery in 1981 that turned into a traveling
show around Southern California. It convinced me that
black-and-white fine art landscape display prints would
be my main target, although people also responded well
to the color work I was doing. I suppose the strongest
feedback was at a show in downtown Los Angeles where
all the black-and-white prints were stolen but none of the
color ones.

Primarily working in film and digital scan techniques, he has a great touch for local contrast enhancement in Photoshop while still keeping a unique natural feel to his images. His personal insight into what makes a great image is shared in his workshops.

I go through a two-step analysis.First, the image must have impact. With color, a bright red or other color might do it. With no color to do the job, the image should have what I call a ‘macro pattern’ that catches the viewer’s attention. We don’t notice things we don’t ‘attend’ to.
Second, once drawn to the photo, the image must keep the viewer’s interest as long as possible. I sometimes call this the‘micro pattern.’ Here, using relative lightness
and lots of other tools, I try to keep the eye in the picture and flowing from one interesting part to another.

His work can be seen at: Paul Roark Photography

For his interview by Arthur H. Bleich: Rangefinder, January 2010

  1. Great articles & Nice a site….

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