Bentley artist and photographer Darmin Cameron won a Highly Commendable award in the 2016 Bentley Art Prize for his image Local Landscape #2.
The image, which caught judge Jacquelyn Wagner’s eye, is part of Darmin’s local landscape series that he has been working on for many years. In 2012, his image Local Landscape won first prize for Landscape Photography in the Bentley Art Prize.
Darmin said his process was heavily influenced by the work of the early photographers, ‘pioneers who had to make up the medium as they went along’.
‘I am particularly interested in the images that early photographers reproduced with equipment that would now be seen as primitive, compared to an I Phone camera,’ Darmin said.
‘Early photographers were limited by shutter speed, aperture, focus and just trying to keep the camera steady when needing long exposures, using slow film and available light.
‘Even with all these limitations they produced images with a high emotional impact, saying more than a direct representation could, a dreamlike, otherworldly appearance. They had the ability to transmit a non-ordinary experience.
‘Art has the ability to unlock parts of yourself you didn’t know you had. The Impressionist painters changed the face of painting; they transmitted emotion with broad brushstrokes.
‘I often wonder “who was influenced by who” or was it just a maelstrom of the bold ideas of the time, mixed with the exciting new medium of photography.
‘I was fortunate enough to see an exhibition in Rome, The Lens of Impressionism, it transformed my approach to photography. The exhibition program said “The influential and profound relationship between photographers and painters who lived and worked along the Normandy coast in France during the mid-19th century. The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850-1874 reveals how the convergence of social, technological and commercial forces within the region affected artistic production and dramatically transformed the course of photography, impressionism and modern painting. The exhibition will feature some 100 works, including vintage prints, paintings, pastels and watercolors, by artists and photographers including Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Gustave Le Gray, and Claude Monet. (http://artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=36376&int_modo=2#.V6b5rulVr8s)”.
‘The exhibition was an absolute onslaught from the artists and photographers of this time,’ Darmin said.
‘It started with early black and white photographs and ended with a large Monet in a room by itself.
‘I had one of those moments where art unlocked something inside me. As I walked alone down a ramp and turned the corner and saw a large perfectly lit “Water Lilies” by Monet I just teared up.
‘Luckily I was alone with Monet, Italians are trusting people. I just stood, stared and teared up some more. To this day I can’t explain why.
‘That is the power of art, it can reveal parts of ourselves and touch us in places we didn’t know we had. To feel something new, something unexplained, but ultimately cathartic. Thanks Monet!’