Charles Cramer

Charles Cramer is a photographer who revels in exploration and craftsmanship. A masterful artist, his career broadly parallels that of Ansel Adams: an early focus on music, finding inspiration in Yosemite National Park, and exploring the developing medium of photography. Charles still works with dye-transfers, a pains-taking and precise process. He was also one of the earliest landscape photographers to work with the "digital darkroom", recognizing the computer as an unparalleled means to control color and realize his artistic interpretation of the scene.
 "I studied piano for 25 years, ending up with a degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. This conservatory was endowed by George Eastman, who also founded the Eastman Kodak Company. This connection between music and photography can be seen in the lives of many photographers.

I gradually made the switch to full-time photography by 1980.My musical training has instilled in me great respect for the final photographic print. I expect to spend many hours (and sometimes days) in the darkroom, exploring the best way to "fine-tune" an image. Countless decisions are made concerning cropping, color balance, density, and overall mood to best convey my feelings through an image.

When venturing out into the field, I try to start with no preconceived ideas of what to photograph.

I try to listen more to my feeling than to my head-hoping to find something that gives a visceral response. I am especially drawn to photograph by the "light." I search for that special kind of light that can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. This brings me out at seemingly odd times-sunrise, sunset, during storms. The weather can be miserable. But when everything comes together for a photograph, all of that is quickly forgotten. Many of my recent photographs are from the Southwest. The light here is unique, especially when bouncing off canyon walls, enveloping a scene in glowing, warm light. Another favorite canyon is Yosemite Valley, where I was selected by the National Park service to be an Artist-in-Residence in 1987.
Many of my images are available as dye transfer prints. This complicated process, with its startling depth and brilliance, has long been considered about the finest method of making color prints. Since it is also one of the most time-consuming and costly methods, it is rarely seen today. I have spent the large part of the last sixteen years refining my skills as a dye transfer printer. Since Eastman Kodak stopped manufacturing dye transfer materials in 1994, and my supply is limited, new images are being printed with the Evercolor Luminage process. This is a digital process which involves scanning the image, using Adobe Photoshop as a digital darkroom, and writing the final image to chromogenic photographic paper at very high resolution with red, green, and blue lasers. I am very excited about these prints and the possibilities the new technology presents." ~Charles Cramer

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