A. Cemal Ekin

Photography is the remains of light entering the lens and hitting the light-sensitive surface. I visualize this as follows: by photographing something, I “keep some light”; my photography is the result of the light kept in the camera, thus the name of my photography site and the blog, Kept Light. (www.keptlight.com)

I retired from Providence College on July 1, 2012 as Professor Emeritus after 36 years of teaching. Teaching has been a great experience professionally and affected my photography, and how I share what little I know with others. That, in turn has helped me to learn more about photography, my photography, the art of photography.

I am a photographer, and prefer not to be pigeon-holed into a category based on some of my work. I have been to different places and documented the faces and places I have seen, photographed the objects that surrounded me. These do not make me a landscape or a documentary photographer, but just an interested observer, seer, photographer. I do not have formal training in photography or art, and am fully self-taught through practice, experimentation, failures, and lots of reading and looking at photographs. I enjoy reading about photography as much as practicing it, and try to write about photography to sharpen my understanding of it. On my Web site you will find posts on various topics related to photography. I hope that you take a look at them and share your thoughts either as comments at the end of the post or via an e-mail to me.

In the early 90s I started to move in the direction of digital photography and never looked back. Although I have done much darkroom work, the digital domain with its unique benefits has been a fertile ground. I taught myself the tools of this new world, mainly Photoshop and later Lightroom to be totally comfortable in them. I have also shared what I have learned with others in presentations, workshops, and individual interaction.

I also believe that every medium has its advantages and shortcomings and am willing to live within those limits instead of imitating other forms of art, mainly painting. So, to me it is not a compliment when someone says that my work “looks like a painting” or “how painterly” my photographs are.

In a finished photograph, I try to present what I saw rather than what the camera recorded. Some call this “manipulation” and I have written about the nonsensical nature of this argument since all photographs are manipulated, bar none. I want my prints to convey my creative vision, which the camera lacks, and my visual system which is orders of magnitude better than any camera can be today. So, I am not a purist who believes “once the shutter is released the photograph is done”. In fact, once the shutter is released the work has just begun. Despite the fact that I keep a very open mind about making all necessary adjustments to my photographs to convey what I saw, I strive to produce work that is free from processing artifacts and that look “effortlessly done.”

I have exhibited my photographs in different venues, on different subjects. Additionally I have issued limited edition folios, many open edition ones, published photo books and magazines that feature collections of my work.

I am honored that the Festival Ballet Providence commissioned an original ballet piece inspired by and featuring a collection of my photographs of dried orchids. The piece titled Orchis was performed on March 8-10, 2013 in Providence and will be performed again on March 14, 15, 16, 2014.


Orchis: Dance of the Orchids

These are orchid flowers that fell and allowed to dry on their own to assume the dynamic forms that appear to be dancing. Photographs in this collection has been the inspiration for a new ballet commissioned by the Festival Ballet Providence that will have its world gala performance on March 8-10, 2013 in Providence.

Read more about Orchis at:
<a href="http://www.keptlight.com/2012/02/photographing-dance/">Conception of the idea</a>
<a href="http://www.keptlight.com/2012/07/orchis/">Orchis the Ballet Announcement</a>

Great Salt Lake: The Glow Collection

This is one of the eight folios presenting photographs I took from a helicopter above the Great Salt Lake. The opening text of the folio is as follows:

The Glow Collection

Below me was a reddish orange view with white sprays on it; surface depth, and bottom were hard to distinguish from each other. A mysterious glow emanated from the bottom and delineated shapes, of what I did not understand.

More at: <a href="http://www.keptlight.com/galleries/great-salt-lake-collection/">Great Salt lake Folios</a>

Infrared Earthscapes

This collection presents photographs taken from the window of commercial airlines between Providence and Salt lake City over the course of four years. About 80 photographs from this series were published as a collection in LensWork Extended Edition November-December 2011. This is a subset of that collection. I call them “Earthscapes” as they are too grand to be landscapes. The IR spectrum sensitivity cuts through much of haze and responds to the light below in unexpected ways. Results are at once awe inspiring and yet abstract, amazing in detail yet anonymous. They can be screaming and be meditative at the same time. They invite close inspection as every minute detail we see may be as large as a farm field in reality.

More at: <a href="http://www.keptlight.com/galleries/infrared-earthscapes/">IR Earthscapes Portfolio</a>