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TRENDER: Natural Science Photographer Diana Brennan

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


An example of D.S. Brennan's fine art nature photography.

Diana Brennan, a talented photographer of natural science, sat down with GoLocal to talk about the most beautiful places in RI to photograph, the calm of nature, and RI’s art scene in general.. find out more below.

You studied environmental science and now are a skilled photographer of nature. How did you come to merge these two paths?

It happened pretty organically – my knowledge of and interest in the natural world was the obvious place to focus my photography (no pun intended). My interest in photography really started in high school, when I was first introduced to darkroom photography. While studying environmental science in college I was sure to take photography courses whenever I could.

What are the most beautiful areas of RI to photograph? The most inspiring?

It's hard to beat the coastline for beauty. I prefer the more out-of-the way locations that fewer people know about. The rocky shorelines along the bay have an infinite number of little treasures to discover. As to the most inspiring – that depends on the moment, the light, and the season!

You photograph "natural science". Can you explain this concept?

Natural science is the study of the natural world. It's a lot less straightforward than something like chemistry or physics – everything influences everything else in the natural ecosystem. I love that element of the unknown, the sheer scale of trying to understand nature in a scientific way. I think it lends itself well to blurring the lines between science and art.

What emotions surround your photographs?

I think each viewer has a different emotional interpretation, which is an important part of experiencing art. To me, I find a lot of peace, calm, and serenity in my work – when creating it and when viewing it.

How do you go about shooting your pictures? Developing?

For most of my images, I use my digital SLR camera and either the kit lens or my favorite “portrait” lens. I work almost exclusively with natural light, so timing and weather are important considerations. A tripod helps in low light situations. These images, being digital, can be worked with in the “digital darkroom” on my computer. When I do use film or instant film photography, I scan the negatives or the instant prints and finish the work on the computer. I miss working in a traditional darkroom, but working digitally is more affordable, takes up a lot less space, and is more eco-friendly as no darkroom chemicals are used. I typically edit my images in a pretty simple way – creating results that could have been achieved in the darkroom.

You make phone cases, prints, calendars... how many forms does your photography take?

The main options I offer are prints and cell phone cases. I have toyed around with many mediums over the years. I also mount prints on plywood, print photos on canvas, and as you say, produce a yearly calendar. I've recently been experimenting with photos printed directly on wood. New printing technologies are really opening up the possibilities in the past few years!

Where can people find your work?

I sell online through my website – http://dsbrennan.com – and my Etsy Shop – http://dsbrennan.etsy.com. I also exhibit at local art shows, folks can join my mailing list to get the news about the 2014 season - http://eepurl.com/Ab_qz. I occasionally participate in group exhibits at galleries all over the country, and have just wrapped up a solo show at CCRI's Lincoln Campus.


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