I have always been fascinated by deserts. Where others see barren ground, I see a land teeming with life. Lack of water creates a world which values it. Water and wind sculpt the land into graceful forms and unusual shapes. The desert is not drab; it is filled with color, some delicate, some intense. Ironically, the marvelous subtlety of eastern landscape makes that an even greater challenge.
Beauty without purpose is mere window dressing. Through my photography I hope to instill in the viewer a greater appreciation of nature and an understanding of the need to preserve these fragile resources.
The most important part of the “big picture” is in the detail. Large format photography is the ideal medium to control perspective and capture that detail. Even while photographing the great icons of our American landscape I seek out fresh new images by concentrating on less published, but no less beautiful aspects of a locale.
The digital darkroom provides a level of control in color photography which has always existed in the black & white darkroom. Dodging, burning, and other printing corrections can be performed on the computer with greater accuracy and consistency than in the optical darkroom. This enables me to create images as I saw the scene without the limitations of equipment and film while maintaining artistic integrity.
Although most of my work is with color, there are some scenes where the lines and shapes are so strong that color is a distraction. Those images are printed in black & white or a toned process. All materials are of museum grade archival quality which, with proper care, will outlive the buyer.
In the early 1980s Tom started using light, compact cameras on trips to the arctic, whitewater boating, and hiking in the desert southwest. By 1993 he had become more serious about his photography, graduating from 35mm to a Mamiya 6x7cm medium format camera and always used a tripod. Finally, being frustrated with the inability to fully control perspective, image geometry, and plane of focus, he began using a 4x5 large format view camera in 1998. The use of medium and large format cameras, slow fine grain film, and the patience to pay attention to details are the ingredients for producing his sharp vivid landscape images. For some work Tom is now using a Canon EOS-5DsR digital camera with a variety of lenses including several TS-E lenses which mimic the movements of a view camera, an integral part of his vision.
Tom has studied nature and landscape photography with Gary Ladd, Jerry Sieve, Jack Dykinga, and the legendary David Muench as well as Royal Photographic Society Fellow Joe Cornish. While all scenic locations interest him, Tom is most prolific and creative in a desert environment, particularly the American southwest. As one who likes variety, Tom also photographs extensively in coastal New England, Michigan, Nova Scotia, and Scotland.
Tom utilizes some of the finest photo labs in the country for printing. Since 2001 he has been using high resolution drum scans of his film to personally prepare images for digital printing on various media including laser print, metal prints, and giclée on canvas. This hands-on approach helps to produce the “look” of the final print.
Tom may be contacted through galleries which represent his work, his web site Tom Daniel Photography, by e-mail, or phone at (203)847-5959.