A lifelong fascination with nature inspired my exploration into digital photography. Although I had access to film cameras, it wasn’t until I started shooting digitally that it felt possible to thoroughly discover photography in ways that didn’t seem possible before. These new possibilities allowed me to fully experience nature as I did during my childhood adventures on Cape Cod—only now I could pursue the spoils of the day and capture what I found, bringing it back with me in my camera.
Looking back wistfully at those youthful experiences of wonder, its clear how they manifested themselves in my photography. Preferring to be outdoors climbing trees, picking berries, and hunting for minnows, my playground was a natural salt marsh and private beach surrounded by native plantings from a nearby abandoned estate. Each season brought its own treasures. Lilies of the valley shined brightly through mounds of dark green foliage in the Spring while the nearby creek, a breeding ground for lobsters, horseshoe crabs, and such, teemed with tiny offspring forging their way from the marsh to the bay. Summer boasted plump wild blackberries tempting their juicy succulence through prickered vines; and although autumn often scorned of red tides and summer’s end, the ocean yielded its bounty of scallops and other shellfish. Winter was often quiet, frozen, and still—uninhabited by tourists, yet somehow unappreciated in its peacefulness and solitude—exhibited in one of my earliest photographs, “Faded Memories”, of the boathouse overlooking the private beach.
In contrast with the peacefulness of this vintage film photograph, my early encounters with digital photography happened in the more wild, diverse, and untamed landscapes of Washington state and Oregon while exploring mountains, streams, waterfalls, and rugged Pacific coastline. From the epic terrain of the Northwest to the quiet, picturesque beaches dotting the coastline of the East coast, I devoured the diversity of flora, fauna, terra, and aqua with my camera. The landscape and shorelines of the lowcountry of South Carolina were, all at once, both familiar and strange to me—although I was frequently reminded of Cape Cod, the landscape was unlike any I had experienced—haunting, aged, and bounded in a fairytale-like beauty.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to share my adventures and reach a wide audience of people from all over the world with my photography. In 2010, I was accepted as a juried artist into the Charleston Farmer’s Market, one of the top farmer’s markets in the country. I’m honored and humbled that thousands of people from all over the world purchased my photographs and display them in their homes and businesses. Other events include Exhibiting (Juried) Member for the Charleston Artist Guild Gallery; Signature Art Exhibition 2015 for the (Charleston Artist Guild) CAG; Members Exhibition 2016 for the CAG; Inspiring Women Gala Benefit Silent Auction; Piccolo-Spoleto Festival Saturdays and Sundays for the CFM; Holiday Magic in Historic Charleston; Summerville Flower Festival 2012; and the Northwest Holiday Arts Gift Show.
Not only do I love shooting the photographs, but I enjoy printing and assembling them as well as designing them into their spaces. All of my photographs are hand-printed and assembled with archival materials and methods, and I am present throughout the entire process—from the time I take the photograph; to the digital darkroom processing; to the color profiling and printing; until the finished print is matted and/or framed. I hand print each photograph myself with wide format printers on the finest art papers and canvas, chosen both for their visual and textural qualities as well as their archivability. Each archival pigment print is then hand-signed, and limited editions come with a Certificate of Authenticity. Archival material as well as individual effort and spirit go into every photograph to create a lasting impression to be passed down from generation to generation. ~Susan DeTomi