Michael Bryant will be at the 23rd Annual Hyde Park village Art Fair, according to his website Michael Bryant is an award-winning, creative and internationally collected artist whose main medium of expression is photography. As an accomplished artist his work includes Polaroid Transfers and sepia images captured with a Holga, a toy camera. His most recent creations combine his photography with Photoshop. The result is a meditative form of digital art.
He is an artist whose creations are consistently cited by notable arts organizations, are featured in respected publications and earn him entry into highly competitive juried art shows.
A native Southerner, Michael lived for a brief time in Kent in southeastern England. While living in Europe he was exposed to the rich history of art which inspired him to pick up a camera. He continues to experience this inspiration during his frequent travels to the great galleries, museums and other history rich sites in Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Mexico and Canada.
Michael grew up in Albany, Georgia where he attended Albany State College. He later moved to Atlanta and graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta. After spending almost half of his life in the capital of the New South, Michael considers himself a native of Atlanta – a city that has the best of everything he loves.
As an artist Michael’s goal is to create work that affects him and others. “When I look at a finished piece and for a split second, time stops and I hear my heart beating – I am unable to breathe and I am aware only of the piece and how it makes me feel. Then, I know that I succeeded.”
I shoot 120 black & white film using a Holga camera (creating negatives slightly larger than 2-1/4 inch square). The Holga is an all-plastic camera of poor quality first produced in China in 1982 when 120mm film was the most common format. It was intended to introduce cameras to the masses. Soon the Holga was overtaken by the dominance of 35mm film cameras.
Each Holga is different and its imperfections affect the film in an individual way. Light leaks are common, although I wrap my camera in Velcro to minimize them. The film spools are often loose, creating out of focus images because the film doesn’t lie flat on the focus plane. Since the lens is plastic, the image edges are distorted and sometimes a double “ghost image” is seen near the outer edges. Light falloff from the plastic lens causes a darkening of the edges in most images.
The Holga is not a single lens reflex (SLR) camera (SLR means that when you look through the viewfinder, you are seeing through the lens). The Holga’s viewfinder is simply a hole near the top of the camera that doesn’t line up with the lens. This causes an image shift that varies depending on how close the camera is focusing. There is no built-in light meter, so good exposures depend on my knowledge of light and film.
I often shoot multiple exposures on a single negative. The film does not automatically advance — it must be done manually by turning a knob on the top of the camera. The shutter is operated by a simple spring that exposes the negative as many times as I trip it. Only the lighting conditions and film speed limit how many exposures the negative will withstand, before becoming too overexposed to print. I experiment with rotating or moving the camera position or location between exposures. Mostly the experiments fail, but occasionally they result in an incredibly unique image that can be almost abstract.
I scan my negatives in a negative carrier that has been filed out to show the whole image, with the film code and image numbers sometimes visible. I do not do any manipulation in the computer that I couldn’t do in a wet darkroom. I print my work on cotton rag fine art paper using an Epson 7800. The resulting Archival Pigment Images are acid-free and rated to last at least 100 years. Archival Pigment Images are now accepted as the future of photographic printing and are collected by museums, galleries and corporate collections the world over.
The overall effect of my technique is a dark, bronze colored, moody image that doesn’t quite record what was really there. Instead it is my own personal version of the truth. The more you engage with the piece, the more you find in it. That seems to me to be the very essence of truth.