Sondra Wampler | visual art

All Images © Sondra Wampler

Santa Fe NM

Still Life is a photographic body of work that I began in the mid 1990’s, inspired by my love of gardens and the intricate design found in nature. The simple beauty of watching the transformation from seed to magnificent flower or life sustaining plant never ceases to amaze me.

I am looking at plant life on a daily basis. Being interested in the design found in nature I explore the architecture of plant detail from simple weeds to complex flowers and leaves. I find it important to display things commonly overlooked in a way that exposes the viewer to the amazing textures and shapes in my subjects. By bringing plant species into a setting usually reserved for portraits elevates their importance and significance.

Photographing with large format black and white film allows me to reveal the structure and form of the plant beneath the often distracting features of color. After traditional processing of the black and white film I transition from analog to digital by scanning the negative. Using my own large scale digital printers to apply carbon pigment to cotton rag archival art paper allows me to save precious natural resources and avoid the contamination of wet print chemistry into the environment.

I appreciate those photographers before me that explored and established the art: Imogene Cunningham, Edward Weston and Joseph Sudek to name a few. In creating the complex still life compositions I studied the European master painters of the seventeenth century Still Life genre.  This proved inspirational and helped greatly with the complexity of the compositions and the use of natural light and how it affects change in form and texture.   These images have been photographed in a way to enhance the rich textures and subtle nuances found in the subjects. By working alone and styling my own arrangements I have formed a deep connection with my subjects, which I wish to convey to the viewer.  Many of the botanicals found in these images were grown in my garden and capturing them on film has enabled me to forever preserve their transitory existence and delicate beauty.