EWW: I am curious to know what qualities of your work would others comment on first?
Tom: I tend to get a lot of comments about the lighting I use. As with all photography, the lighting either makes or breaks the image and I use light to focus the viewer’s attention to what I consider to be important aspects of an image.
EWW: What qualities of your work would you comment on first?
Tom: The play between light and dark. Most of my images tend to be a little darker overall and that allows me to enhance the contrast between light and dark. I feel it adds a little more interest to the image.
Tom Mc Nemar, Photographer, Ohio USA
Click on an image to enlarge it.
Rustic Table Setting Still Life
Orchid Sensuous Virtue
On The Seamy Side Of Town
Glade Creek Mill
Cowboys And Indians
Amber Waves Of Grain
EWW: What are your overall challenges in doing your work?
Tom: I am primarily a still life photographer, so the first challenge is in coming up with an idea. The second big challenge is choosing and finding the right props to complete the scene.
EWW: When doing a shoot, what are the challenges?
Tom: Speaking again as a still life photographer, it would have to be the selection and arrangement of the props and the lighting. I maintain a large prop closet and am always on the lookout for new and interesting items. As for the lighting, I use reflectors, flags, mirrors, etc. to try to get just the right amount of light in just the right places.
EWW: You have several galleries in your portfolio. Do you have a favorite? Why?
Tom: Although not as marketable, if I had to choose a favorite, I would say black and white. There is an honesty to black and white. When you strip away the color you remove distractions and the inherent beauty is revealed.
EWW: You have a gallery devoted to Black and White. For you, when is best in black & white versus color?
Tom: That’s a hard question to answer. I think black and white works well when there are fewer things to focus on in an image. Black and white works well when you have contrasting elements with texture and detail.
EWW: Excluding subject matter, are there themes that consistently run in all your work such as colors, perspective, lighting, movement, style, etc.?
Tom: I would have to say no. I suppose I’m all over the place in that regard. Not being a purest, the photo is often just the beginning; the canvas for further creativity. I use a variety of software and techniques to achieve the final image.
EWW: Do you think it is important for photographic artists to have their own website, in addition to another gallery they appear on? If so, why?
Tom: I do think that photographers should have their own personal website, but it takes time, effort, and diligence to drive the traffic to it. If you are not dedicated to it and don’t have a little knowledge of Search Engine Optimization, the site can languish with few if any hits.
It can be very useful as a portfolio to showcase your work in a style and format of your own choosing and as a place to direct interested parties and inquiries. I have done commissioned work and image licensing through visitors to my personal website.
EWW: Do you use social media platforms to market and promote your work? If you do use social media platform, which one(s) work the best for you?
Tom: I am not very good at marketing and do very little on social media. When I do use social media, I get my best results from using Twitter.
EWW: Do you have any advice for individuals just starting to explore photography?
Tom: The best advice I can give someone is to explore and experiment. Learn your camera and what it can do then explore everything to see what you can do. Experiment with all genres of photography and you will find your passion.
EWW: Just to wrap up this interview, do you have any final thoughts about you and your work that you think would be important for others to know about?
Tom: I consider myself to be a student of light. I am fascinated by the subtleties of light and shadow. I explore the many facets of photography and subject matter, but I always return to still life and fine art. A still life image is created using refined lighting techniques and compositional skills rather than relying on the discovery of a ready-made, found image. I have a keen appreciation for the work of the old masters and I find inspiration from the many fine photographers of today, but I really enjoy building an image from the ground up and making it totally my own.
Properly done, I believe an image can transport the viewer to another time, another place, or another emotion.