Bigindicator

Tom Wheeler

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Green Curtain, 2015 Archival Pigment Print 20x30
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Desert Fun, 2015 Archival Pigment Print 24x36
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The Survivors 20x30
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Green Crack
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Departure
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Boulders Ruby Beach 4am
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Golden Chair
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Cube #1, 2016
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Snowman #3, 2016
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Desert Fun , 2015 Archival Print On Aluminum 30" X 41.4"
Quick Facts
Schools
Santa Monica College, 1999
Otis College of Art and Design
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Stanford University
Representing galleries
Tags
landscape, modern, photography, digital
Statement

    If you were to see me out in some wild and remote setting in the middle of the night, you might think I'm some crazy guy waving a flashlight around.  On further inspection, you might then just barely make out a camera and a tripod in the dark, and then be totally convinced I'm nuts.  Well, sort of.  This is the realm of night photography.  The images I produce are long exposures, averaging 3 to 30 minutes each, and are wholly hand-created at the time of exposure, between shutter open and shutter closed.  I do not add anything to the images in post processing, and only use Photoshop for digital noise reduction, contamination removal, and classical print manipulation like dodging and burning.    While traditional photography generally represents a frozen moment in time, capturing an existing image, my images are created within the fluid period of long-exposure. Like some sort of twisted sci-fi episode, I manipulate the world within a moment, not just reacting as a viewer of any particular scene.  I encourage movement, painting of subjects with light, and the addition of various elements to the photo with whatever light-tools or props come to mind. As long as they light up, or can be lit up. I am drawn to the dynamic contrast of scenes that comes with the intensity of light in the dark. Some of my images literally glow back as if powered by neon - those are my favorites - and they require exacting printing, paper, and ink to bring out the "amperage". 

      I've always been an outdoors person with a passion for landscape photography, but somewhere along the line, almost 25 years ago, I combined that passion with a developing interest in the somewhat avant-garde (at the time) realm of “painted-light photography”. The use of "man-made" manipulation within the natural environment is appealing to me.  One realm exists as a divine creation; from wherever, or however one believes the natural world presents itself to us, we are certainly in awe of the splendor we did not manufacture.   The other facet of my imagery represents the human side, especially regarding manipulation - a complete juxtaposition. Or is it ?  My work asks that question and will continue to do so.  How do we exist within nature ?  Enhancement or detraction ?    I am a huge fan of the minimalist style.  I didn't realize it or intend it - someone had to point it out to me -  that many of my landscapes are vast, wide-angle shots with a tiny, yet powerfully presented subject surrounded by a cathedral of open space.   I do not know what draws me to this style of composition, but it likely again has something to do with man and nature and their relative existence.