Lee Edward Carpenter:
alternative process fine art photographs

I just love Lee Carpenter's work.  For me it's soothing and relaxing art.  Viewing Lee's artwork reminds me of my carefree childhood days, staring out a bedroom window on a misty sunday morning just dreaming the time away.  I love the way Lee frames his subjects and then adds feeling and texture to his images.  It's almost a shame to call his work "photos", not even calling them "Fine Art Photos" can do them justice.  What a great relief to find this artist that does more than shock the system but rather finds beauty in the world around him and captures that moment to share it with us.

I make no pretentious claims about the photographs that I make, they are the visual documentation of my experiences and emotions.  They are my moments of revelation, those brief instances when the real world merges with the one I imagine.  I have chosen the alternative processes I work in because they allow me to take control of every aspect of the work, infinite variables in paper texture, tone, color and contrast.  The Platinum/Palladium and Polaroid Transfers yield the most accurate representation of my vision.

I began my career as a photographer in naval intelligence.  In the early 1980's I began working as an architectural photographer in historic preservation , working mainly on projects for the Historic American Building Survey and private renovations in the Historic  District of Savannah, Georgia.  I began actively showing my artwork in galleries and exhibitions 1990.  I still accept commercial commissions but my current focus is on my personal work.

My prints are the same size as the negatives, the Platinum/Palladium materials are only sensitive to light with high UV, the emulsions are too slow to be projection printed. Rarely a print will be smaller than the negative unless it was necessary to remove something unavoidable in the photograph, with the 8x10 and vintage lenses I use, it is sometimes the only way to avoid distracting elements.

It is my belief that far too much attention is paid to the technical aspect of art, especially where photography is concerned.  In my opinion photographic art or any art for that matter is like a child riding a bike.  Once you have learned how to control the bike it becomes second nature, only then can you begin to explore and imagine all the possibilities.  Art should be like that!

I believe the most important knowledge we can share with fellow artists is not technical (that is easily attained).  If from our experience we can share something that helps another artist open themselves to the possibilities of their own creativity, then we have given the most valuable knowledge we could hope to share.

The technical aspects of creating the Platinum/Palladium photographs are far too lengthy to go into in any detail. Beyond the basics of materials and coating the emulsion, most photographers have no genuine understanding of the process.  There are so many variables in the way different metals respond to each other, light, humidity, even an impending cold front will change the way the materials respond to light.

Lee Carpenter
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