Harold Ross: The States Project: Pennsylvania
I found Harold Ross’ work a few years ago when I was looking for inspiration for one of my own projects. On the hunt for imagery that created mood and atmosphere in the dark, I came across his series Nighttime in an article on the New York Times Lens Blog. All of Ross’ work uses the technique of light painting. By using this approach to capturing detail at night, he shows us a different side of the evening and the landscape. Within each location, he selects what he wants to show us and what remains in the shadows in between. What is revealed or sculpted gives us a new way to look at the world he sees and imagines through the lens. One that is quiet, magical, and inviting. If you are interested in learning more about this technique, there are several tutorials and workshop dates on Ross’ Blog Site, which you can get to through his contact page.
Harold Ross (b 1956), is an American fine-art photographer who lives and works in southern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Since 1979, Harold has been creating distinctive work in the studio as well as in the night landscape. For 27 years, he has specialized in light painting, a technique involving “painting” the light over a long time exposure. Harold refers to his process as “sculpting with light”. He also teaches workshops in his methods and regularly gives lectures on his work.
Born into a military family in 1956, Harold grew up in New Mexico and Germany. His parents were adventurous, and took the family on outings almost every weekend… hiking in the desert, horseback riding and camping in the mountains, exploring castles and old gardens in Germany and camping in Italy. These outings, of course, left many lasting impressions.
He earned a B.F.A from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), after which he produced fine art and taught photography at the college level for several years.
His large-scale color work has been exhibited, published and collected in the U.S. and internationally. Publications include Photo China Magazine, the Italian magazine Progresso Fotografico and the Ukrainian magazine Ukraine Photographer, among others. Here at home, his work has been featured in LensWork #93 and #121, The New York Times LENS blog, and Professional Photographer Magazine, and others.
In 2011, Harold was invited to participate in an exhibition of landscape photography in Inner Mongolia, China along with ten other American and 20 Chinese photographers. He was also chosen as one of four photographers to exhibit in the inaugural FRESH 2011, at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.
My passion for photography started early, while standing next to my father in the darkroom. I felt a sense of wonder while watching his images magically appear in the developing tray. That is what I feel, even today, whenever I take the time to really see what surrounds me. These feelings are part of what I hope to convey to viewers of my work.
Photography, by its very nature, is born of and lives in the technical realm, and the use and control of light is at the very core of my work. Like many photographers, I make images by adding light to darkness – but I do it differently.
The process I use is commonly known as “painting with light”; I think of it more as “sculpting with light.” It’s a technique I’ve mastered over the last twenty five or so years, and involves “painting” the light onto the subject during a lengthy time exposure.
In my process, the camera is stationary and I’m in motion, applying the light, choosing what to highlight and what to obscure. I’m shaping the scene in a way that takes it beyond the limits of our everyday vision, for what you see in my photographs cannot exist in nature nor in one moment in time. Instead, it’s the result of a merging or gathering of light.
The images in the series ”Night” are, in one sense, a furthering of the “opposites are one” concept explored by Photographer Wynn Bullock, whose work is a real inspiration to me. Bullock used scale and tonality to advance the notion that “opposites” can enhance and magnify each other, and in fact are often harmonious.
In my work, these opposite elements are more nebulous, and they exist on several levels. An undeniably existent scene, combined with the illusory nature of the lighting, sets up a kind of resonance in the interaction between the real and the unreal.
I think that I make these images as a way of dealing with my childhood fear of being out in nature in the dark. When I was young, I often went camping in the mountains of southern New Mexico, where I grew up. I remember being terrified by whatever lay outside the light created by our campfire. It didn’t help that my older brother told me horrible ghost stories just before bedtime! I feel that somehow by spending hours in these dark environments, I’m challenging this fear that I felt as a child.
For me, the NIGHT photographs possess a spirited glow, yet at the same time, they seem to have a sense of stillness and a quietness which I find evocative.
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Nadine Rovner: The States Project: PennsylvaniaApril 24th, 2016
Marty Desilets: The States Project: PennsylvaniaApril 23rd, 2016
Harold Ross: The States Project: PennsylvaniaApril 22nd, 2016
Florence Rodale: The States Project: PennsylvaniaApril 21st, 2016
Ed Panar: The States Project: PennsylvaniaApril 20th, 2016