Exemple of 2 images, one simple scann, the other reworked…
2 others images, before and after…
Detail from the previous image…
Again, before and after…
"Algis Kemezys is a guy who can photograph anything , and isn't it wonderful to see a real artist at work! "
Mary Hardiman, The New York Times, 1999
" Kemezys is like a modern day Henri Cartier Bresson, only with multiple levels of perception."
Popular Photography Magazine, 1985
A natural-born photographer, Algis began his career as the only assistant of Berenice Abbott, the doyenne of photography, as she prepared for her final retrospective of a fifty-year span of work.
Algis has travelled the globe and created images both still and video, everywhere he has been from Maine, U.S.A. to Mumbai, India. He has had numerous one-man exhibitions internationally and has shown his prize-winning videos in film festivals, while working for many years as photo-journalist for various publications.
Nature is a great source of inspiration, and the Québec countryside, which mirrors the Maine landscape where he grew up, offers endless possibilities, such as these wildflowers.
These images of the wildflowers of Québec were created by using the scanner as a camera.
I spent two consecutive summers in the Laurentian town of Val Morin, whose most notable feature is a cascade of wildflowers that circles its lake and extends along the bike path that spokes away from the town for one hundred kilometers.
I would go out in the early morning and ask which flowers would like to be picked and enter the digital world as a new creation. Then I would pick the ones that were swaying most in the wind just to catch my eye. While picking them I would ask for a visual picture of how the flower would like to be arranged and then try to recreate that inspiration on the platen of the scanner.
Part of the difficulty of composing a picture in this fashion is that you are working with a reverse image and always on a full-frame (no cropping). The other is that the arrangement must be just so or it won't work. There is freedom and spontaneity in creating a photograph but one still has to follow strictly the rules of dynamic composition of the Pythagorean golden formula of 1: 1.618.
I called them PreRaphaelite because they follow the "rules" of those mid-nineteenth century poets and painters. They have unconventional compositions (unlike any flower arrangements I have ever seen in photos or paintings); there are pyramidal groupings (stacking); there is of necessity more light on one side of the image than the other, causing an unnatural depiction of the subjects; and there is absolutely a great emphasis on shadow and tone to let the colours fend for themselves and work within the structure of the image.
Originally I left the images un-retouched. However, the flowers (probably the originals that I had used) kept calling to me to somehow improve on my pictures and make them seem more surreal. Over the years I experimented with re-workings of them using Adobe Photo-Shop attempting to capture a visual interpretation of the auras and perfumes of the flowers with various cyber-techniques.
"Nature humbles the most insouciant among us with its frills and its ability to dazzle. Artists, who by definition enjoy above-average sensibilities and powers of observation, have in nature a fount of endless inspiration. In this portfolio of skillfully reinvented wildflowers, Algis lets his imagination run wild to present for our consumption a feast of irresistibly visual portals into a world of his own making. These are no longer merely beautiful flowers that most of us usually look at for fleeting moments during a walk in the countryside. These are works of art that tell stories and that linger in the mind long after we have looked at them. He has taken these fleeting wonders of springtime and made them eternal with attention to detail, with whimsy, with bold use of color and composition, with awe for their fragile and ephemeral airiness, with enormous talent. And an intellect that can particularize the universal truths of seemingly ordinary miracles of nature, enhancing their meaning and exponentially expanding our appreciation. I could happily surround myself with these images to look at them daily, to marvel at their simple complexity, to begin to understand myself."