In the Artist’s Own Words

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - PROFILE - BY ROBERT HEIER

When­ever I travel abroad, I am sim­ply cap­ti­vated and in awe. I am truly in won­der­land. My pho­to­graphic im­ages, done in both tra­di­tional as well as vastly dif­fer­ent con­tem­po­rary modes, are merely an at­tempt to re­call, re­cap­ture and re­con­struct the joy I have had while trav­el­ing.

Over the past 25 years or so, these trav­els have con­sisted mainly of ex­plor­ing and haunt­ing the haunted and ob­scure back­streets of small towns and vil­lages through­out West­ern Europe and Latin Amer­ica, in search of what I call “fallen an­gels.” These once-proud and beau­ti­ful build­ings and streets, now for­got­ten and for­lorn,

oc­cupy what is to me an un­for­get­table obliv­ion.

Their clas­sic and ma­jes­tic lines from the glorious past, in com­bi­na­tion with the peel­ing stucco and weath­ered paint of a grim present, cre­ate a spe­cial magic. De­spite the rav­ages of time, these “fallen an­gels” re­tain their age­less dig­nity and con­tinue to ra­di­ate an en­gag­ing mys­tery, seren­ity and spir­i­tu­al­ity.

In an ef­fort to cap­ture the won­der of these sub­jects, I pr ocess my pho­tos dig­i­tally us­ing the lat­est com­puter tech­niques and equip­ment. My en­hance­ments are then done in one of two ways. One way is tra­di­tional, in ef­fect a ro­man­ti­cized

por­trayal of the orig­i­nal sub­ject mat­ter. The other ap­proach is def­i­nitely ab­stract or con­tem­po­rary … [many of ] the orig­i­nal sub­jects are vir­tu­ally un­rec­og­niz­able, re­placed by im­ages per­haps even more thought-pro­vok­ing and time­less than the ac­tual sub­jects.

In ei­ther case, the process of en­hance­ment and im­age con­ver­sion can take up to sev­eral days per im­age. The re­sults are then printed us­ing spe­cial archival paper and pig­mented inks in a way de­signed to con­vey the time­less grace of the orig­i­nal scenes in ei­ther a ro­man­tic or con­tem­po­rary way.

Just this year, I was quite hum­bled to be given a four-page spread in In­ter­na­tional

Masters of Pho­tog­ra­phy, a cof­fee-ta­ble com­pen­dium by prac­ti­tion­ers from more than 50 coun­tries. And re­cently I was hon­ored to be in­vited by Ar­chi­tec­tural Digest mag­a­zine to par­tic­i­pate in its ex­clu­sive Home De­sign Show, held an­nu­ally at Pier 94 in New York City.

I have ap­peared with my work on TV and have been fea­tured in a num­ber of publi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing élan mag­a­zine and SPA­CES mag­a­zine as part of an award­win­ning de­sign by Sa­vant De­sign Group.

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