Matt Tilghman Member Since July 2011 Artist Statement How long does it take until you can say you truly know someone? There are rare cases where bonds are forged instantly, but more often than not, it takes a significant amount of shared experience before two people can comfortably consider themselves friends. I approach landscapes in a similar way. I never feel like I have conquered a certain location after a single visit, even if I manage to obtain some great photographs. Instead, I often return to the same places month after month, year after year – so much so that my friends and peers often chastise me for it. After time, the landscape becomes my friend.
With each and every visit, more of the landscape’s personality begins to show itself to me. I begin to see things I have never seen before, or to see them in different ways. At the same time, with each visit I get more comfortable with the landscape, and things become more rote. This in turn subconsciously allows more of my own personality to show through in my photographs, too. Only then do I begin to consistently create the artwork I strive for: artwork which resides the intersection of both my personality and the landscape’s personality.
As you browse my work, you may indeed notice that pieces from different locations often have a distinctly different feel to them. I believe this is because different locations have different personalities, and thus overlap with different portions of my own personality. Some places bring out the intimate side of me, encouraging attention to the smaller scenes. Some have just the opposite effect, turning my eye to more grandiose vistas. Some places calm my soul, while others turn me into a ball of anxiety, both of which come through in my work.
Another consequence of this artistic vision of mine is that you may not find as many pieces in my gallery of the stereotypical scenes which often draw landscape photographers from far away. Indeed, I am often off-put by scenes of such replication. I strive to capture my own unique response to the scene before me, and transform it into a photograph. If that results in the same photograph as that of my colleagues, then it was not unique, and I don’t even present it. Towards this end, I spend the vast majority of my time exploring lesser-photographed places. This gives me freedom to concentrate on my own emotional response, rather than being preoccupied with being unique.
In the creation of my work, I use any and all tools at my disposal, which certainly includes Photoshop. My take on Photoshop is that it simply increases my control over the final image. Why allow my camera to make white balance, contrast, saturation, and sharpening decisions (which it will), when I, the artist, could be making them instead? My goal is to capture the intersection of my own personality with that of the landscape. There is no room in that equation for the personality of my camera, or my lens. They are simply tools, and Photoshop is only another tool.
I hope you enjoy your look around, and I hope that through my work, the landscape reaches out to you the way it reached out to me. Please feel free to contact me with any questions!