Shooting photography of emerging artists became an interest of mine, and as a result, I was invited to participate in the Napa Valley Meet the Makers photography exhibition during Fall of 2010. The exhibition featured three other photographers and over 65 portraits and was located at at Mumm Napa in Rutherford, California. The collection of photos were people whom we considered to be important, influential, master or emerging ‘makers’ in the Napa Valley community.
The best part of this opportunity, was being able to spend time with each of the artists in the process of their craft. My photojournalistic style focused on their emotion as opposed the technical aspects of photography. Capturing their joy while immersed in their art, was both a gift and challenge for me. After all, my life’s work and mission is capturing the best essence of people.
Book of Photography
Statement in the Book of Photography
Kristine Cummins, Photo Journalist
I’m a Napa Valley native, and never before have I witnessed a creative vibrancy develop in Napa as I have seen in recent years. My passion for photography ignited about a year ago by wanting to support and promote local emerging artists. Being able to capture this new “millennial” generation in photos—sharing their art and being active community-minded members of Napa Valley has been an absolute pleasure. I am seeing change like never before, and intrigued what Valley will be like in ten years.
Most of the 17 subjects in my “Meet the Makers” photography series are active members of Wandering Rose; an art advocacy group in Napa Valley, mostly comprised of college students promoting independent, experimental and pop art. Wandering Rose has been a great inspiration, both on a personal and community level; they are both like-minded friends with similar interests, and they embody the change I’d like to see for the community.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been dabbling in just about every visual art discipline, from painting to sculpture, with designing web pages as my profession. In the late ‘90’s I was handed a digital camera by a corporation that I worked for, to illustrate service and product-oriented web pages. Photography became the perk of my web design job, even though most of my subjects were inanimate. It became clear to me that visual and literary content have an important symbiotic role in marketing. When I turned the camera from taking photos of mostly objects—to human beings about a year ago– it quickly became a passion of mine, to capture the spirit of someone immersed in their artistic talent.
When I began to invest in quality photography equipment, my photo selection process became much easier- I could quickly identify photos that would not need any “touching up.” Achieving those “perfect shots” with no digital manipulation has become a game for me, and I often try and limit my use of photo editing software in my imagery. My preference for taking photos of people in non-staged environments, with poor lighting and cluttered rooms, however, has made me rely on editing software for this particular work. Editing the photos keeps the viewer focused on the key elements of the photographs.
I do not seek technical perfection in my photography, but instead rely on the imperfections to make my photography unique and beautiful. It’s really the spirit and action of the person that I like to capture, more so than the clarity or lighting of the subject. Having the opportunity to capture a moment when an artist is deep in their “art” through a photo and being recognized for my skill to do so is truly an honor. The invitation to join the Meet the Makers exhibition is an opportunity that I hold dearly, and will continue to through my photo journalism career.
Acknowledgements: Professional Printing by Kelly Dunn of Dunn Photography Services, Personal Biography Head Shot by Dana Lyon of Studio II Gallery, and Professional Framing by Doug Peacock of Wine Country Art & Frame. Special thanks to Kristina Young for the invitation to participate.