Having an extensive background as an artist, Henry Rowland, a Denver-based photographer, creates painterly abstract photographs. His earlier oil and acrylic paintings are very much abstract and viewers can easily follow the connections between his photographs and painting works. By allowing the camera to “record” the created light movement, he produces beautiful colorful traces of light. He calls these photographs “photo-light-paintings.”
The original translation of the word “photography” means “drawing with light,” and this is exactly what Rowland’s doing. He creates intriguing compositions of light, full of depth and movement. The picture itself is done in-camera with physical light sources, not in Photoshop. The photographer achieves this look by moving different strobes and lights in different directions, so that the camera captures the movement of the light. The process is nearly the same as painting with paint and brushes. Although some of the photographs look almost scientific, like the studies of light physics, there is a very poetic quality to his works. It may be so because of the plain beauty of the strokes created by light in these photographs. Some people may also find the works appealing to individual emotional feeling, as in the case with a group of abstract expressionists. However, Rowland says that it is the result of “the fourth dimension,” time that is very much depicted in these long-exposure photographs.
It is not surprising that Rowland took on these explorations. From early on in his artistic career, he was inspired by the Chilean abstract surrealist Roberto Matta. Matta used layers and layers of paint, which ultimately allows for different figures and objects to come forward spontaneously. A similar approach is evident in Rowland’s works.
Rowland expresses big hopes and plans for these works. He is excited to exhibit them in different places around the world. But as of right now, you can enjoy them here in Denver, so don’t miss your chance. His work is on display at the Denver Photo Art Gallery on Santa Fe. His abstract photographs catch the eye and stand out among mostly representational artworks at the DPA. The photos are printed on paper, canvas and metal. When printed on metal, the pigments are infused into the metal surface, preserving high quality of images and making them resistant to wear. Plus, colors become further enhanced and luminous. Large luminous abstract photographs capture the viewer. Full of movement, they make people examine and wonder about details and the image as a whole. They give viewers the freedom to find their own meaning, whether that’s time, physical world, or emotions.