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Work Samples

Night Road with Trees.jpg

Night Road...
Night Road with Trees is one of many fog inspired photographs I have made and continue to study in Middle River where I live. Night Road… I found compelling because of the impact of the fog on the curvature of the road and the light from the street lamps, but then there is the subtle presence of trees on the left side of the road.

Parked Truck.JPG

Parked Truck
Parked Truck is another example of the subtlety with which I approach much of my photography. It is simply a truck parked on the curve of a winding road. Even before it is documented as a truck found on a foggy evening, it is the light from the street lamps that create light and dark areas and shadows that altogether make for a compelling black and white photograph. Here I have added a Sepia effect to make the photograph even more interesting. This illustrates how light and its capture and use can take an ordinary photography and make it to some, extraordinary.

Emergency Call.JPG

Emergency Call
Emergency Call is another study of a particular road in Middle River that is interesting as a scene due to its winding curves, the street lights that dot it and accompanying land forms and in this case a couple of vehicles that reminded this artist of an emergency vehicle come to help a stranded motorist. This is likely not the case but it is in the imagination, which very often drives the crafting of or discovering a photographic subject.

Nice Moon.JPG

Nice Moon
Nice Moon is a photograph that is more landscape oriented than fog initiated. As the fog ebbs and flows and indeed “rolls” in and out, the Moon revealed itself just before setting behind the trees.

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About Llewellyn

Llewellyn Berry was a teacher in DC Public Schools for more than 35 years. He taught photography in The Literary Arts Program. While teaching Creative Photography, he founded The Urban Journalism Workshop with a grant from the Hattie M. Strong Foundation. This became the Media component to the Literary Arts and Media Program. The program moved from a rented three-story townhouse at 1310 Vermont Ave NW in downtown Washington, DC to the Lemuel Penn Career Development Center at 1709 3rd St. NW, then to... more

Abstract Interpretation of Alexander Calder Sculpture, Two Disks

From 2009 through 2012, I made photographic studies of the Alexander Calder sculpture Two Disks that sits outside the Hirshhorn Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. I produced a new portfolio of images from these studies. What was most apparent to me was that the images are reminiscent of the Cubist and Expressionist stylistic era of Georges Braques, Pablo Picasso and Romare Bearden - artists whose work I greatly admire.
Intrigued by such a compelling stabile and location, I interpreted the sculpture and its setting by including the museum's facade and the crystalline blue sky above, each time I made photographs. I was drawn repeatedly to the shape of the disks and its internal structure, the texture of the museum walls and the gray, tonal palette of the sky. I made photographs of every possible angle, element and skylight. The juxtaposition of those elements in black and white brought me back to the Hirschhorn's courtyard time and time again during those three years.
My Calder study has evolved in 3 phases: There was the initial black and white study that lasted 3 years and formed the basis for subsequent interpretations. Second, there was an addition of a slight golden color mixed with the black of the black and white image.
It was during this phase that I discovered a very prominent "pyramidic" presence in the sculpture. They were first seen as triangles, but upon closer scrutiny and certainly indicative of intended extrapolation, if not my imagination, they became pyramids. And I found them throughout the sculpture; in many of my captures.
The pyramidic nuance, while seemingly far-fetched is actually spot-on when it comes to the artistic-aesthetic spirit. Where else do we, as artists, find artistic influences and inspiration, but in the assumed and the imagined. The artistic eye looks at something sometimes for hours, envisioning, imagining and contemplating that which might be and then we begins to execute commensurate with our chosen medium.
With Two Disks, I saw shape and the intrusion of light and adjacent textural facades and illuminating Sun. I honestly felt like I was in an active symbiotic interplay with the sculpture. There was a "siren song" drawing me to the sculpture time and time again, and that draw became almost humorously intense.
After each session, I felt "done" for that day, but I continued to play with the images in my mind on my way home, and throughout daily life. It wasn't until much later when I actually had a demonstrable sense that it was over – completed – that I felt finished for the day.
I would begin to plan the next session with my siren.

Abstract Expressionists Calder Influence Study

The third phase of my Calder study occurred when I began to layer the various images I had captured of the sculpture and craft them in Photoshop and Microsoft Picture Manager.
I took an image and layered what I considered to be a complementary image over it in Photoshop. I moved the new layered image into Microsoft Picture Manager and began to change Hue, Saturation and Amount. Each technique has a sliding scale and I could watch how my new image was progressing. At this point I would add another image or more, rotating the image from horizontal to vertical or vice versa. I would add contrast or remove it. The manipulations were limitless.
This burst of colorful expression freed me to develop increasingly abstracted images for my layered photographic series. I was energized with the crafting of each new image.
Very often something in the image sparked an idea and a unique title came to mind. I spent time revisiting my artistic influences (i.e., Classicism, Romanticism, Cubism, and Expressionism) for inspiration and guidance, and exploring digital image manipulation. Once I discovered the satisfaction of layering images, I burst through my self-imposed monochrome (black and white) wall and embraced a new colorful spectrum.
As I moved forward with this new inspiration, I spent just over a year crafting these images, which reflected respect and admiration for Cubist and Expressionist traditions. In my mind the fresh aspect was that they were photographic images, crafted and printed with results that have a traditional painting integrity, but continue to validate the photographic medium as a vibrant and significant artistic expression.

Black and White Gelatin Prints

When I began to explore photography as a possible professional artistic career, it was black and white photography that was the most compelling and challenging form of expression. As I looked around, I realized that everything I saw was already in color and if I was going to make a significant photographic statement, a color photograph was too familiar and I wanted to say something extraordinary.
Black and white images, however, required more of an aesthetic consideration in execution. I had to transcend the ordinary visual surroundings and think in terms of blacks and whites and all the grays in between. It was Pre-visualization and the Zone System of Ansel Adams and Minor White that were my guides.
Not only was I developing a system and process for making artistic statements I was forming a lexicon by which I could teach photography, as well as produce it.
My process was to capture light from where it touched on scenes and objects in order to elevate an ordinary image to extraordinary.
Light is the key to a strong aesthetic in photography, especially black and white photography.
This project is a representative portfolio of my original black and white photography, which I began pursuing in 1970. It represents my fundamental interest in what light does and how important it is in transforming the familiar into a new and exciting image.
When teaching photography, I start with the idea of pre-visualization and have students look at lots of black and white work of the Masters: Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier Bresson, Imogen Cunningham Robert Doisneau, Gordon Parks, Roy DeCarava, and others. They set the standard, which means detail in the shadows, as well as in the highlight area. However, the range of tonal values should be specific to the subject and how the photograph is crafted. If you are photographing a scene in a foggy environment, you might not need a complete range of tonal values of 0 - 9. You may only need a shortened range, say between 0 - 6 because the overall effect you want to capture is the gray-ness of the scene.
After an in-depth look at the standard, students must now begin to "pre-visualize" scenes they want to capture, with a definite context developing as they consider what they shoot and why.
That which I teach is that which I practice. Each time I make a photograph, I am always pre-visualizing what it will look like as a print and then a step further, to what it will look like matted, framed and on a gallery wall.
I look at the most mundane of scenes and objects and how the available light is touching. Then I am looking and crafting what I see through the viewfinder by going from horizontal to vertical or getting close or moving back. I am also fine tuning my exposure with the Exposure Bias to add more contrast in order to increase a dramatic effect. It is an ongoing process.
Along with this process, it is also important for the photographer to begin an aesthetic context of what kind of visual statement is to be made. In each of my projects, especially the black and white gelatin and the Calder interpretation, I was keenly aware of the statement that was evolving as I photographed and crafted the images I ultimately chose for prints and to show.
Context, mechanics and overall visual literacy is paramount in a portfolio study. This is ultimately my goal and the goal I want my students to have as well.

Addendum to Calder Abstract Expressionist Studies

An addendum to my Calder-Abstract-portfolio was a series of images created when I decided I wanted to add a human to the mix. I searched for just the right face and body. The first one I chose did not work out because the face was too round, but then one day at the library I saw a woman and I immediately found what I was looking for. She had the head shape for the silhouette I needed and she was thin enough to have the lines that were consistent with my other layered Calder images.
I produced a series of Black History Month images with titles that suggested idioms relevant to the African American cultural experience.

Middle River Moors.

Every morning I am up before dawn in order to see what delights the sun and moon will bring to the day. The sun rising; the Moon setting. This continuity of motion plays itself out amidst a pastoral setting and idyllic "Gymnopedie" every morning and I stand waiting to see what the light will do and how it will look in the rising sun or the setting moon.
On a particular morning, a mix of cold and moderately warm temperatures the day and night before made for a very foggy morning.
My apartment in Middle River, MD is nestled in among a wide expanse of forest woodlands. Across the road at Crossroads Circle just off White Marsh Blvd is an enormous field. As open as it is, there are mounds and berms and dunes set against a wide background of tall saplings. I call it "Middle River Moor"s.
I pre-visualized it initially in black and white mostly because of the fog that morning, so I began shooting in black and white mode. I was walking around it looking at the dry marsh area of stones in a shallow gully that rises and how it was picturesque against the line of saplings. Then there was the fog that settled, in front of the saplings and drifted in an ever-evolving sway, in slow motion. I envisioned a print which was wide and captured the expanse of the fog against the trees.
I moved on across the "Moors" and captured the rustic, seemingly impromptu and unpaved roads that are winding paths leading to the horizon created by the saplings in the distance. Along that path there are gullies and single, leafless trees that are silhouetted against the line of trees in the distance and the sky above. There are shrubs and still colorful grasses even in Winter, that rise and fall with the land and a fence that seems to exist as some sort of marker perhaps for an upcoming construction project. That gave me a sense of urgency in that the land may not exist for long in its present condition.
After dozens of shots in black and white. I switched to color and began shooting the colorful grasses that rose and fell in dune-like compositions and noticed that even with the color of the grasses, they still fell against that line of saplings in the distance that maintained their grayness.
When I was finished, and after editing down to a precious dozen or so, the photographs were added to my "Middle River Portfolio".

Floral Photography

Mother Nature is at once simplistic and complex in the attention paid to the design of flowers. She seemingly does not try very hard yet achieves extraordinary results. Every year, one can depend extraordinary species emerging to delight and astound the observer. A close look at flowers from the moment they begin to poke their little heads out of delicately stretched stalks (peduncles) reveals a uniqueness that is stunningly colorful and intricate.
The fascination with flowers is primal, grabbing your attention, provoking oohs and ahhs of appreciation. The ability to capture their beauty and singularity is more than mechanical. The challenge is to above all else record the colors accurately and then to translate those colors into blacks and whites and the range of grays in between, in order to evoke feeling or some memory of the familiar.
Let's be clear there can be extraordinary black and white flower photography. That beauty can lie in shape, texture, tonal quality and delicacy. Black and white photographs of orchids can at once send shivers of joy and astonishment to the beholder. One can almost inhale the lilting bouquet of a violet Cataleya and the Lady Slipper with its myriad colors, and its unique construction and design is most fascinating and will capture one’s attention.

Fog and Landscape

These photographs are inspired by the landscape of the Middle River area of Baltimore County where I live. In particular, the fog rolls in and out frequently and provides excitingly moody and provocative scenes I have captured in color and in black and white. The black and white photographs are the most compelling and strike moods that are contemplative as well as artistically interesting and engaging.
In addition to fog inspired photographs, there is a pristine presence in the landscape of the immediate Middle River area, where much of the area is undeveloped, although development is quickly on the rise, with more rental properties, shopping malls, and a hotel are being planned and whose construction in many cases has already begun.
My intention is to capture as much of the landscape documenting in exact locations areas that have original integrity before the inevitable commercial development overcomes it.
These photographs involved cold early mornings in many instances. There were excursions in the twilight evening hours; walking to find where street lights or even Moonlight would touch an area or object or scene. Therein would create a simply illuminated subject for capture in the context in which I love to shoot the majority of my work.
I find these photographs of placid water and land features, contemplative areas, which provoke thought and mood and do much to invigorate the human spirit. These areas are rapidly disappearing in all parts of the state and even though much land has been set aside and even protected by government decree, access to those areas shrink and can have just as disturbing an impact as though they were just as vulnerable as commercial zones.

  • Foggy Light Spray.JPG

    Foggy Light Spray
    Foggy Light Spray is a photograph that captures the simplicity in which light has made a seemingly ordinary scene a lot more than its apparent ordinary quality. The capacity to see the umbrella-like spread of the glow from the street lamp envelopes this truck and the simplicity of elements: the lamp, the truck and the light elevate this photograph with a new dimension of meaning.
  • Three Lights Three Trees.jpg

    Three Lights
    Three Lights; Three Trees is just that; three street lamps in the fog and accompanied by three distinct trees that are dotted along the road in a haphazard manner but it is the random nature of the trees as well as the street lamps and their inherent glow that give this photograph its panache.
  • Along the Gunpowder Shore.JPG

    Along the Gunpowder Shore
    Along the Gunpowder Shore, for me is an exercise in composition as well as an inclusion in the narrative of land and seascape. The position of the Sun behind a thin veneer of clouds juxtaposed over a jutting peninsula of shoreline and grove of trees makes for a simply stated expression of land and water features again accentuating the presence of nature in its pristine environment.
  • Morning Moon.JPG

    Morning Moon moonset
    Morning Moon is a photograph of existing landscape with compositional elements of land-shape and the dotting of street lamps along with the juxtaposition of the an early morning Moonset. The curved lines and open field areas add multiple dimensions to this quiet composition of an evening after a light snowfall.
  • Rocks in a Gully on the Plains.jpg

    Rocks in a Gully on the Plains
    Rocks in a Gully on the Plains, is one of those photographs from undeveloped acreage in Middle River where the landscape begins with a swale and leads onto sagebrush with multiple layers of tones and textures. In the distance and a background to my photographs of this area, are rows of saplings and a foggy, cloudy sky.
  • Traffic stops in Fog.JPG

    Traffic lights in Fog
    Careful crafting of this photograph meant catching the traffic lights as they held for a second or so in red. Again, it's always about the light in order to make a visual statement especially in classic photography, which is a see and capture situation. Composition is critical as well as the symmetry of the parallel lines of the street lamp along side the frame of the camera's viewfinder.
  • Truck n Boat in the Fog.JPG

    Truck and Boat in the Fog
    In addition to capturing a foggy mood within the backdrop of the landscape of this acreage, it is also important to add elements that give context as well as enliven the visual appeal of the moment. The simplicity of the truck and the boat serve only as elements centered by the walkway and set in a conversation of the Fog.
  • Half Moon Mimicked in the Fog.JPG

    Half Moon Mimicked
    Looking around for elements to incorporate in the photograph is essential. When first one encounters a scene or subject he wants to capture, that photograph is made but then the artist must look around at what else is there to further enhance the scene or subject to make an even stronger visual statement. In this case there was the half-moon captured still within the mood of the Fog.
  • Fog Tonal Study #1.JPG

    Landscape tonal range studies
    One of the most intriguing and compelling aspects of black and white photography has always been its tonal ranges, which can be found especially in landscape. In this photograph, the fog, with its inherent tonal range of grays is accentuated in a very subtle manner from sky to ground encompassing all the gray tones in between. The line of saplings adds further context to the visual statement.
  • FogTonal Study #2.JPG

    Tonal Range study
    I think it a natural inclination for a photographic artist to, having once found a scene or subject in which he is convinced will make a striking photograph, to take more "shots" of that subject. Thus my "Tonal Range Studies".

Abstract Impressionist Humanism

Abstract Expressionist Humanism is an attempt at defining or codifying humankind's efforts at understanding the intersecting of dimensions and boundaries not just physical or spiritual but of thought and understanding.
I added a human figure to my abstract in order to illuminate the human search for reason and being. Inasmuch as we live in a multiverse of dimensions that cross boundaries and intersect at moments and places of understanding, the search for knowledge and understanding is ongoing.
Within the abstract lies concrete images; within those concrete images lies elements of mystery and multiversal dimensions where knowledge exists. Humans coexist with the abstract physically as well as aesthetically, thus the layering of photographic images becomes a metaphor for understanding the universality or the multiversality of knowledge.
The unknown exists waiting to be discovered on different planes. Each plane has multi-dimensional planes where life exists either in the abstract or in some kind of concrete form.
Humankind's search is never-ending.

  • Flight by Half Moon.jpg

    Flight by Half Moon
    A layering of a human profile along with the half moon symbolic of half a journey of a spirit a night at all costs.
  • I Crossed Relentless Boundaries in the Fog.jpg

    Crossing boundaries
    Crossing boundaries or dimensions in the Multiverse.
  • Land Multiverse Zonal 2 3 copy.jpg

    Multiversal Zonal
    The Multiverse previously known as the Universe is where countless dimensions intersect and cross as rivers of knowledge and wisdom.
  • Princess Approaches the Flatlands Surface on Holiday.jpg

    Princess Visits Flatlands
    Royalty in the form of a princess traverses Flatlands in dimensions that know no royalty and not in traditional terms. Royalty is status determined by wisdom and is self contained and self actualized.
  • Thoughts of a Life.jpg

    Thoughts on a Life
    Socrates said that, "The unexamined life is not worth living." And so it goes that wisdom is the overarching concept in multiversal cognition.
  • The Passage Through All Things.jpg

    Passage through all things
    The female of the species is the conduit the spirit that moves life. All things exist due to a passage through the female.
  • Prayerfully Before Sun with Pyramids.jpg

    Prayerfully Before Sun
    Prayerfully before the Sun a constant in all dimensions - giver of life and fertility. The mystic spiritualism of the pyramid also present in all dimensions pursued but not understood by inhabitants or travellers.
  • Illusory.jpg

    Illusory
    Time and space can be illusory...phantoms of understanding and the concrete awareness of being. It is not always abstract yet proponents of a certain darkness often proclaim the abstract as concrete and vice versa.
  • We Wear Masks.jpg

    We wear Masks
    Masks are illusions worn and understood as un-knowledge a concept of illusory factors. They who wear masks have something to hide as well as something to protect. Not all thought is ready for revealing. It often must percolate in the privacy of one's thoughts but one must travel dimensions in order to gain more wisdom.
  • Jewels of Africa.jpg

    Jewels of Africa
    Jewels of Africa. Africa land of human origin; land of the pyramids and thought and original civilization is a constant in the multiverse. An embodiment of all hues of the spectrum, inspired by the sun and propelled by thought and energy, Africa known by many names throughout the multiverse is multidimensional.