Combined Shadows
I believe the process of realizing art extends from the artist’s experience certainly, but is matched by that of the viewer. The combine is necessary. Art requires both. The power of art comes from the juncture of experience, artist and observer.  —Charles Haynes

Artists are those who say they are. Art is the work they do. While a schooled observer can place value on a work, no one can deny the stated intent. Over time an artist’s work can be thought of as “good” or “important” but no one has the right to dismiss any work out of hand. So many of our greatest had that dismissal to overcome yet, fortunately, prevailed.

Photography is printmaking, like etching, engraving, woodblock, lithography. A finished work is two-dimensional, pigment on a surface.

There is no greater statement of reality from photographic imagery when compared to any other medium. Our perceived world exists in three visual dimensions. By form, a paper bound photographic image, the image, can’t possess that characteristic. In the minds of some, photography grants us a slice of reality… something it cannot do. Somewhere between our fantasies and our learning we have a disconnect, a place into which photography neatly fits, gleefully pretending.

The influence of other forms of artistic expression, painting, music, can happily extend into the photographic experience affecting decisions of color, texture, shape, light and dark, introducing further delight to the process. With concentration over time the work process becomes less intrusive, less about the delivery method. At some point, the creative outcome is based solely on an emotional connection to our perceived world, a continuum from the familiar; revealed surprise.

Who’s it for? To deny that viewing by others is necessary to the overall effort is silly. Certainly the process itself has personal rewards for the artist but art is about hopeful communication. The actual influences of viewing by others on an artist’s continuing work may vary, but reticence to place one’s work before other eyes subverts the process.

Ultimately it’s about the images summoning connection. The more engaged the viewer becomes with an image, the more successful the work.

Or something like that.

Combined Arcs
Combined Arcs


I don’t know when, exactly, but there was a time when I became fascinated with the prospect of seeing something interesting to me and having it to see later as well. All I needed was a camera, film and a drug store.

Eventually I became an absolute devotee of the form, photography, as art. Art is validated solely by intent and I intend to make art with photography. I am one of many.

Now all the little decisions, the results of which collect into a finished piece, are part of a natural process I know well. I love doing it. I see the finished piece from sight through the machines to the paper before I release the shutter.

I think about the coffee cups that were drained in talk about ”the great ones,” the first print I made that dragged a level of emotion from me that made me cry alone in the darkroom. I recall the criticism that hurt but the resolve it produced and the satisfaction that came from later acceptance.

I minored in art in college, worked for a master’s degree in photography but learned what I know from looking and listening and working. I like some of what I’ve made and I’ll never stop.



Charles Allen Haynes