Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Bob Egan's "In Search Of Color"

On Saturday night, I had the good fortune to attend friend and fellow photographer Bob Egan's exhibit of photographs entitled "In Search Of Color" at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA. It was a superbly executed show of 21 of Bob's images with a timely theme that fits the seasonal change from Winter to Spring.

I have written many times before about how difficult I find it to go out photographing in the Winter. Apparently, Bob has the same problem since the opening sentence in his artist's statement for the show is "I detest taking pictures in the winter!" Now, that clearly got my attention. After noting that he used to think that his main dislike was the cold weather itself, on further introspection he realized that "the actual challenge was the absence of color in the subject matter during this season " and that the greater issue was "How could I solve the problem of taking winter photographs without limiting my palette?". The concept and underlying theme for this exhibit was borne from the solution to his dilemma.

During the show, the viewer is taken progressively from several nearly monochromatic snowstorm images (see Frosted Featherwings, below) to those with bright and vibrant colors as Bob entertains various ways of expanding the color palette during the bland winter months. Bob's solutions include seeking color generated by dramatic light just before and after snowstorms, traveling to where there is little change in the color palette as the year progresses, photographing colorful subjects indoors, making abstracts of focal areas of color, and, finally, photographing in the Phipps Conservatory itself, where color always abounds (and where Bob teaches a series of courses on flower photography).

"Frosted Featherwings"
Copyright Bob Egan

The images were a delight to look at. I found myself spending time contemplating and enjoying each one.

One thing that I found very interesting, had never considered myself (but surely will in the future), and had the opportunity to discuss with Bob was the matting and framing. I have always double matted my color images with white and used gold or silver frames. Bob took an extremely effective alternative approach. The photographs were double matted with a rim of white mat showing around the image and a black overmat on top with simple black frames. The end result was that the black overmat and frame imparted a striking richness to the colors, much like looking at images against a black background on the internet. A very striking and extremely effective technique for a show that was about color.

"Painted Ladies On The Lake"
Copyright Bob Egan

So, if you live in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend a trip over to Phipps to check out "In Search Of Color"!