Description Among the Bamana peoples of Mali, oral traditions credit a mythical being named Ci Wara, a divine being half mortal and half animal, with the introduction of agriculture to the Bamana. Bamana society is primarily an agricultural one; even today the majority of Bamana peoples are subsistence farmers. These headdresses, also called ci wara, are carved to honor that original mythical being. Under Ci Wara's guidance, humans first learned to cultivate the land and became prosperous and able farmers. When humans gradually became careless and wasteful, however, Ci Wara is said to have buried himself in the earth. To honor Ci Wara's memory, the Bamana created a boli, a power object in which his spirit could reside, and carved headdresses such as these to represent him. Ci wara headdresses combine antelope features with those of other animals that are significant within Bamana culture, such as the earth-digging aardvark or the armored pangolin. The animals are observed in nature to excel in actions that are also critical to the success of the farming effort and, therefore, Bamana life. The elegant and tapered heads of the sculptures, along with the neck, ears, and horns, are modeled on antelope forms. The lower part of the sculpture refers to the aardvark. These headdresses are also characterized by decoration with pierced openwork designs, which create an interplay between positive and negative space, and finely incised geometric patterns, which add to their texture.
Peter A. Kopher, Warwick, NY Member Since December 2010 Artist Statement Statement
I rarely feel more fulfilled than when I capture a great picture. I tend to think, live and see outside the box, and I believe many of my photographs reflect that. My eye is attracted to tableaux that are already works of art; all I need to provide is the proper frame.
Photography is defined as "drawing with light". My preference as a photographer is to recognize these pre-existing drawings, and render them as aesthetically pleasing images. To achieve this I work strictly with digital cameras now, though I did cut my eye teeth shooting film, beginning over 30 years ago.
What I love most about shooting digitally is the nearly effortless way that many possibilites are available to me when editing my pictures. This ability to quickly try - and easily undo - corrections and enhancements expands my creative horizons. It allows me to achieve results that can range from a marginally improved photo to a completely different piece of art.
I am currently developing a series on bayhouses, located in the waters off Long Island's South Shore. Where once there were more than 300 of these primitive properties, only 28 remain today. They have neither water, sewer, electricity, gas nor phone connections. What they do offer is tranquility and 360 degree vistas of bay and marshland. But if they disappear - due to storms, arson, abandonment or neglect - then laws that protect public wetlands prohibit their replacement.
After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, N.Y., I embarked on a career in television production. While my profession for the last 30+ years has been primarily in TV, beginning as a lighting director, I've also been capturing high quality images for at least as long. I started with 35 mm film cameras, back in the late '70's, but for the last five years I've concentrated on working with digital photography.
During the many years I worked as a lighting director, I learned much about light and lighting. From color temperature to contrast ratios, how to control light and the qualities of different light sources, most - if not all - of what I've learned is applicable to still photography, as well. The literal definition of photography is, after all, to draw with light.
Working on a TV show, I'm one member of a large team of talented individuals, each with their own area of expertise, their own realm of responsibility to the final product. As a photographer, I am completely in control of the entire creation. From concept through final realization, it's all on me. I am the location scout, writer, director and executive producer as well as cameraman, gaffer, editor and everything in between; from concept through final realization, it’s all on me.
For the last four years I’ve been living on a large house barge, right on the Great South Bay in Seaford, New York – it’s as if I'm afloat amidst a large, ever-changing wildlife preserve. This daily exposure to the wonders of the natural world has greatly influenced my photographic endeavors lately, and in November I started a blog, where I post a “Picture of the Day” nearly every single day. The blog is titled “The Next Step” and is one of the steps I've been taking recently, as I work towards switching careers.
Earlier this month I had two photographs selected to participate in a juried photography show in Huntington, N.Y. I was immensely excited to receive an award in that show, the very first that I have ever entered. I also entered a juried exhibition in Poughkeepsie - my second - and I am extremely proud to have two images represented there. I have another photograph that will be appearing in an exhibit in Minneapolis, and I am currently awaiting notification from two other shows - including one in a Soho Gallery in New York City.