The shared thoughts and artwork of Jack Welch.
Jack is a local artist from Melrose. His work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.
Q. What prompt your interest in photography?
As a child, I was fortunate that my parents both came from large families. I had a lot of aunts and uncles and loved to travel. I always had my bags packed, so to speak.
One of my aunts gave me a Kodak Brownie camera. I always took it with me wherever I went. That aunt gave me other cameras as Christmas gifts as I got older, and my interest increased as my equipment improved and the quality of my work improved.
I had another uncle that was a very good photographer, and on visits to his house, I would read his photography magazines. I began to realize what could really be accomplished with a camera.
Q. What inspires you to take a photograph?
It is all about the subject to me. When I see a subject that calls to me, I have to photograph it. I do not always do it the first time, that I see it. I will sometimes return to the same subject several times, looking for better light.
Q. How would you describe the collective style of your work?
My style is not terribly well defined. I started out doing landscape photography, and photographing architecture as a child. I did not even realize why I was drawn to those subjects.
Reflecting on that as an adult, I realize that it came from having the opportunity to travel as a child and wanting to keep those memories. Many of my “Brownie” photos were buildings in New York City, and Canada and my earliest landscape shots were in taken the rural beauty of Canada.
I have always had a strong interest in transportation related subjects, and my current work reflects this. A large portion of my current work attempts to reflect the beauty of the automobile, especially vintage cars. I am drawn to the era when automobiles were designed by individual designers and not by committees. I feel that many cars in the days gone by are rolling objects of art in their own right. I try to capture those features in my work
Q. How did you develop your talent in photography? What habit was key in its development?
I have talked to other photographers whose work I really like and tried to learn form them. I have also taken workshops by accomplished professional photographers. You can learn a great deal about photography from a small well-run workshop. You end up learning as much from your fellow students as you do from the course if you allow yourself to be fully immersed and be open to criticism.
When I am traveling in a new area, I try and find a photographer or guide that will spend time taking me to locations, that I may not have had the time to scout on my own.
The real key to getting me to the point were I am now is the digital camera. I shoot all my photos in raw format and “develop” them in Adobe Light Room. The use of a good digital processing program is key to making a good photo, a great photo.
Q. Many of your landscape photographs display a consistent focus to the beauty of mist and water. What is your connection to these locations?
I was privileged to have the opportunity spend a lot of time in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire as a child, and as we had breakfast on the porch, overlooking the lake every morning, I was taken by the fact that it never looked the same on any one day. On a cool morning in the summer, you could see the mist rising off the lake.
I also had an aunt that took me to the ocean very often, and I was fascinated by the mist or fog in some cases, coming off the ocean waters.
Q. A great deal of my photography today features water in the scene in some manner.
As a young adult, I traveled to the west and discovered the great vistas of the west. The photographs that you mention are a combination of the beauty of Colorado and weather conditions that produce these dramatic scenes. I actually very seldom shoot in the middle of the day, on a sunny day, unless I have no other choice. For any photographer, it is always about the light, and I try to use that to the best possible advantage.
Q. How has your photography developed who you are as an individual?
It has made me slow down and really look at my surroundings wherever I am and what ever I am doing. It has also helped me make a lot of new friends who have a common interest.
Q. What role did art play in your life as a child?
It was sort of the other way around, the events of my childhood allowed me to discover art.
Q. What advice can you give to other emerging photographers?
I would tell them to look at the work of other photographers and see what you like or do not like about their work. I would also say that some sort of formal training or workshop would give you a great amount of knowledge in a very short amount of time. Most importantly don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to work outside your comfort zone.