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Ted Orland

Ted Orland's Bio · Ted Orland's CV

  It all seems so long ago now. When I first picked up a camera in the mid-1960's, photography galleries did not yet exist, photographs themselves were priced like pottery, and it was entirely possible to know everyone in the then-tiny photographic community. My own entry into that world took the easy path of a summer workshop: two weeks photographing in Yosemite Valley with Ansel Adams.

That workshop also made Ansel my first and only formal photography teacher - and not surprisingly, straight large-format B&W landscapes quickly became my definition of fine art photography. It took me years to realize that I don't actually lead a fine-grained life - certainly not one that stands still long enough to take a dozen meter readings and wait for everything to settle into Zone System perfection. More often than not, I think, life was whooshing right past me while I was trying to set up my tripod. I still love the images I made in those early years, but where Ansel's world was monumental and sharply defined, my world has become increasingly quirky - and decidedly fuzzy around the edges. Today I'm more often aware of the incongruities of an uncertain world that catch my eye en passant, as I drive down a crowded freeway or walk along a deserted beach.

My ability to capture that world took a great leap forward around 1990 when I discovered a little plastic camera called the Holga. The Holga comes complete with one aperture (f/8), one shutter speed (1/60th), and a single-element plastic lens that filters out excessive sharpness so that realism doesn't get mistaken for reality. Simply put, it sees the world the way I do. And so I hang the camera around my neck, carry it with me most everywhere, and then photograph whatever crosses my path. Easy.

But while the Holga holds a special place in my heart, I'm not a Luddite - I also use a digital camera, and all my images pass through the computer on their way to becoming pigment prints from my printer. The real bottom line - and my overall theory about artmaking - is that if you lead an interesting life, you're on track to make interesting art. How could it be otherwise?

Pictures of Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity
Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity

Danae Anderson | Salma Arastu | Noma Bliss | Garik Karapetyan | Quang-Tuan Luong
Ray McSavaney | Michael Olson | Ted Orland | Julia Pinkham | Alan Tarbell
Dai Truong

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