About Me - Curt Pradelt

About

I bought my first camera while in military service in Viet Nam and immediately began photographing the people and landscape.  My subsequent career was in industrial psychology and counseling.

I think of myself as a photographer of opportunity and photograph a wide range of subjects.  I produce work in both B&W and color but have an orientation to B&W because of its emphasis on texture, shape, tonal contrast and light.  I believe this lends a timelessness to the image and allows for a more personal interpretation of its effect on the viewer.

In the mid 1990’s I began to take a critical look at my work over the years and to ask myself why I continued to have an attachment to some images while others, technically just as good, did not seem to have the same appeal. I realized that early interests and personal experiences had created an emotional attachment.

An interest in the history of early cultures and the objects and remains that humans had left  behind draws me to objects that make a physical connection to the past. 

The significance that both early and contemporary cultures have placed on the physical objects they made, as well as the special landscape features in their environment, were symbolic and supported the emotional attachment of their beliefs.  Symbols of things not actually seen but felt by people just the same.

Photographic images provide a powerful form of communication that can represent or symbolize something to the viewer that is not necessarily depicted directly. Things unseen but implied in a photographic image can connect to this emotional knowledge and resonate with the viewer.  

The composition of my work has been influenced by surrealism, minimalism, abstract expressionists, pop art, and Japanese prints from the 18th an 19th centuries.  I find myself using similar  perspective, graphic simplicity and design while striving for a contemplative mood, a sense of mystery, or ambiguity. While I focus on landscapes, abstracts and found still-life,  the subject is less important than composition and  conceptual or connections.  By being attentive to the unexpected and not pre-visualizing subjects, it may not be evident to me until later what connections there are, what the image is about, what I see in the image.  Sometimes I see the image and then take the photograph; sometimes I take the photograph and then see the image.