Around the turn of the century, Dean Hamer used the term "transcendence" in his book "The God Gene" to refer to the discovery that a certain transcendence can possibly be inherited. While I don't necessarily believe in that theory, I do believe that a slight few people in the population are gifted with transcendence. In everyday language, "transcendence" means "going beyond" -- while it also has dozens of other meanings, in various genre, this word seems fitting for the visions you're about to see from ...
It's always a pleasure to visit DTG readers and their portfolios -- and sometimes, maybe one out of every so many hundreds of entries, along comes one with true vision. When Tracy's entry came in, it was filtered into the bin with all the others. Her submission looked like all the rest, but when we went to her photographic web portfolio we were then frozen to the moment.
Tracy's skill and sensitivity to light and dark -- shape and form -- is so absorbing we couldn't look away. In terms of light and value, I was instantly reminded of the works of Ansel Adams. Once you see some of her majestic landscapes, you'll probably agree. More importantly though is her capacity to capture and interpret form, shape and the human condition.
Tracy tells us: "I enjoy street shooting because I can capture natural, honest expressions of everyday people even though they can sometimes be hard to look at."
That must be Tracy's modesty speaking because these images are just the opposite. In fact, her images are so sensitive, so beautiful -- so striking -- it is difficult to look away!
Although this was not one of Tracy's picks, we felt it truly speaks volumes. You realize its not just about tone, texture, light and dark -- it provides the viewer with a compelling story. We don't just see those hands... we are visually drawn to the beautiful act of child discovery. We don't just see the baby... we feel. And the chain becomes an object of wonder and at the same time both a chain of captivity and a link between generations. This is truly masterful photography. (Open the image)
Here Tracy introduces us to a young couple totally immersed in themselves -- yet telling us a story. The play of tonality and repetition of shape in this shot are almost uncanny in the fact that they were actually captured at that exact moment. The ribs in the piping above visually fall into the slanted shape, bringing our eye into the railing which forms a frame. And we don't realize his hand until the thick post in the fence forms a pointer to what's going on. It forces us to look. Like voyeurs, savoring this tender moment in time. Pure, visual storytelling. (Open the image) Squint at the photo and see how the light carries our eye to the subject again and again.
The "Weight" takes us in the other direction. This was a moment in time, but Tracy has framed and cropped it to force our oppression. Yes, it's heavy, very heavy. Those shapes of light formed by the pews are pounding in the background. The hand seems to be protection from the pounding -- yet the face is almost serene, as if reading lifts the weight from the mind. (Open the image)
"I like to lighten up my work by capturing images of the natural beauty that surrounds us everyday and try to put in my own unique spin. Depending on my mood, the time of day or the weather, they get processed in photoshop accordingly. Some images I have passed over in favor of others until months later I rediscover a hidden gem and wonder what was in my mind that made me overlook it then."
Above is "Ocean at Dusk."
On last month's DTG cover we talked about "sand" and showed a picture. When Tracy photographs sand she adds a feather. Now it becomes a visual, tactile symphony where you can see, feel and hear the sandy grit.
All through the experience I keep thinking about Diane Arbus, and how her masterful photography set the benchmark for cultural comment. And, I'm thinking that although I'll be gone, in another fifty years, art critics and editors of graphic design magazines may just be talking about Tracy Martin in the same way. Tracy is truly a gifted photographer, with what it takes to achieve greatness.
That's all I'm going to show. What else can I say? Except to send you to Tracy's www.photo-sage.com where you can browse an incredible collection of truly wonderful photographs! Clicking on a thumbnail opens a gallery, then click the photos to advance. Some of our favorites are: Icecream, Dance, and this alluring Dark Path. But explore on your own. I'm sure you'll find some stunning images that you like best!
Tracy Martin is a Canadian transplant now living and practicing in Pacifica, California as a freelance graphic designer and advanced amateur photographer. She captures these luscious images on her Canon 40D, then uses a MacBook Pro along with Adobe Creative Suite 3 for finishing.
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