Bio
About Me
I am a fine art photographer who specializes in the hand-made photograph. Born and raised in California with a background in music and geology, I strive to combine a contemporary eye with 19th century processes to produce work that is uniquely my own. Influenced by the pictorialists of the early 20th century, I often use diffused focus lenses to explore obscure, little-known places and make images that can be at once calm and unsettling. I often photograph in fog or very low light, giving many of my images the ethereal quality that I am after.

Processes
I've been utilizing the platinum/palladium process and the combined gum-platinum process for my work since the early 1990's. I have taught workshops in these processes since 1997, both in my home studio and at various locations around the US, Canada and the UK. In 2004 I learned the wet plate collodion process from Will Dunniway and it has become an integral part of my current work. I began teaching wet plate collodion in 2006.

I have found that the subtle qualities of platinum/palladium prints convey the feeling I am after in my work. Platinum prints are created by hand-coating fine rag paper with a sensitizer solution containing the platinum and palladium metals. In the summer of 2001 I began adding layers of gum bichromate over the platinum/palladium image which lends amazing depth and an endless array of image color possibilities to the platinum process. Wet plate collodion has introduced a completely new facet to my work. This medium has led me to working more with still life and portrait images and less with the landscape. These images are presented both as original one-of-a-kind pieces and are reproduced as archival inkjet prints.

Gear
For most of my work, I use view cameras that range from 8"x10" up to 14"x17". Much of my work between 1992 and 1999 was done in the panoramic format using an 80-year-old Korona 7"x17" banquet camera that was originally intended to photograph large groups of people. I also worked for a few years with a modern Lotus 12"x20" camera, which was the finest camera I've ever owned. During 1998 and 1999 I made a series of round images with my 8"x10" view camera as well as a specialized camera that I built myself. In 2000 I began photographing with a 14"x17" Anthony and Scovill camera dating from about 1905. I've pared my choices down to 14"x17" for film and 8"x10", 11"x14" and 14"x17" for my wet plate collodion work. Having been interested in optics since I was very young, I have managed to accumulate a large variety of lenses, most of which are much older than I am. I have a particular fondness for old portrait and soft-focus lenses which impart a sense of atmosphere and dreaminess that I like for certain images. Because it's not always practical to use view cameras, I also shoot digitally using a Canon 5D. From these images I generate digital negatives then print them in platinum/palladium or gum over platinum.

Gallery Representation
My work is represented by Watermark Fine Art Photographs in Houston, Studio 391 Fine Photography in Gualala, California, the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park and The Photographer's Gallery in Los Angeles. Please inquire if you would like to view original prints in these locations. My images have been included in over 40 juried, group and individual exhibits over the past few years. My prints are held in private and corporate collections in North America and Europe as well as the Museum of Fine Art, Houston and the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, Newcastle, Pennsylvania.

Since launching this website over eleven years ago, I have found it difficult to keep it as current as I would like to. But, please stop by occasionally and your questions and comments are encouraged, so please feel free to write to me.

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Updated 1-20-08
© 2010 Kerik Kouklis - All Rights Reserved.