This is the gallery for BVAA member Mike Zeis.
Even though I keep my eye out for a pretty scene or a subject that inspires a clean composition, and even though I have taken shots of rainbows and lighthouses, what drives much of my photography is an interest in how the things we make reflect who we are.
My interest in documenting self-expression is manifested in three principal ways. First, signs and buildings mirror the era in which they were put in place. The current era is not as defined in my mind as earlier ones, so the artifacts I shoot have been there a while. In other words, I photograph old buildings and signs. Second, our personalities show in our own creations, and who we are can be poignantly or painfully obvious in homemade signs, another favorite subject. Finally, who we are rubs off on the places we call home, particularly when it comes to decorating our yards. A yard with two flamingoes hardly gets a glance. But populate the front yard with a half dozen, and I hit the brakes and get out the camera.
I photograph nature, too, loading up my tripod and lights and heading to the woods, adding to my collection of wildflower photos. I am interested in applying distortion that renders a wildflower more “flower-like.” For instance, I use a vintage Argus C3 35 mm film camera with lens modifications that add distortions. Other flower photos are enhanced by special printing techniques: depending on the photo, I use an ink-jet transfer process or create a rice-paper decoupage assembly. Although both printing processes have an effect on saturation and sharpness, the real benefit is that the final prints have a tactile character that is just right for subjects such as flowers.
Michael Zeis, October 2, 2015