untitled (Cuba #661)

PhotographerJill Merriam
PrizePress / Travel/Tourism
Entry Description

building façade and tree, Havana, Cuba 2011

About Photographer

With my first foray into film photography – not all that many years ago – I found myself drawn to urban and architectural things, never any people! Teaching myself Photoshop, I began experimenting with digital manipulation of my scanned photographs. Photomontage became my muse and my signature style. (I still have people tell me that they like my “mixed up ones”!) This earlier work is enlivened with rich color palettes, textures, and montaged elements. Architectural, urban, and scenic photographs provide the base; then other elements such as handmade papers, maps, charts, sketches, and other photographs of trees, clouds, flowers, leaves, and textures are layered. Then about four years ago, I bought my first digital camera and found that I also enjoyed taking candid shots of people. Having an intense desire to resume travelling after a long hiatus, I journeyed to southwestern Provence, France, and Venice, Italy, and was introduced to street photography. I intentionally moved away from digital photomontage; and in these portfolios colors, contrast, and textures are only slightly enhanced, emphasizing the beauty and details of these regions. My next international adventure earlier this year took me to Cuba. This proved to be an indescribable experience and an emotional journey as well. I had recently heard the phrase “crumbling elegance” and found this to be an apt description of Cuba. Many of my interests – travel, architecture, urban, street, scenic - could be captured there photographically and provide a glimpse into the strength, beauty, grace, and dignity of the Cuban people. From local urban views, to the Mediterranean and beautiful villages of Provence, to Venice and Burano, and most recently to Cuba, my work has evolved into an eclectic mix of art and documentary photography. I love to “catch the vibe” in new locations, capturing images spontaneously. Back in my studio, imagery then becomes an artistic rendering of city/land/streetscapes, architectural details, textures, entropy, patina, and “street” portraits. Each photograph is processed individually, uniquely. All are natural light, documentary-style, captured moments (not “staged”)—reality with a twist.