sets Wassmann's photography apart is not only the spectacular locations
that he chooses to shoot but his keen eye for using composition and
color to lure the viewer into the scene. Years of studying painting
have given him a different perspective on the photographic process.
"Talk about f-stops and shutter speeds make my eyes glaze over,
says the artist. I'm only interested in the final image as seen by
the viewer. I use only the most basic techniques to create my images."
This attitude is not surprising when you learn that his training was
as a painter, not a photographer, when in school at the Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. "It was my search for spectacular
compositions for my paintings that led me to learn photography". While his technique may
be basic, the camera he uses for most of his images is anything
but. One thing viewers comment on the most is the extraordinary
clarity of his pictures, even when enlarged to mural size. This
is the result of shooting with a "View Camera" that uses
a film size of 4x5 or 8x10 inches, many times the size of the standard
35mm film that most people use. The large film size allows
even minute areas of a scene to be recorded in perfect detail. This
comes at a price however in time and money. It takes Wassmann at
least 15-20 minutes to set up the camera and each sheet of the film
needs to be individually processed unlike regular roles of film.
His images of Easter Island and Antarctica, places where most won't
go to the trouble to take the bulky view camera, are astonishing
in the depth of color and detail. There are moments so fleeting,
however, that there isn't time to set up the 4X5. In these cases
Wassmann relies on the Canon A2 35mm camera. This camera has been
the portal for some of his most famous images such as surfing dolphins,
rainbows and spectacular lightning strikes over the Pacific ocean.
34145 Pacific Coast Hwy. Suite #127
Dana Point, Ca 92629
All images © Cliff Wassmann