Dwayne Daehler

About my Photography

I could tell you about the how of my photography - the process by which I create photos. But instead I want to say something of the why of my photography.

When I take a photo, I do so because the subject matter I am photographing stirs an emotional response in me. Then as I download and review photos on my computer, I check for that emotional response. The images I post-process in my digital darkroom are the ones that stir an emotional response in me and touch my own heart, the ones that connect to my own lived experience. I print only these for exhibition or sale. I believe that if a photo does not stir an emotional response in me or touch my heart, I cannot expect it do so with a viewer.

Take the photo titled “Solitary Wanderer.” I created this photo out of my own experience of being an occasional solitary wanderer - both being solitary and being a wanderer. So, while the subject matter of the photo is a solitary wandering bison, at a deeper level the subject of the photo pertains to the human experience of being a solitary wanderer and the feelings that go with that. Presumably there are viewers who can relate to that.

Take the composite photo “Imagination Road.” In my youth growing up on a farm in northwest Illinois, I’d occasionally see the rolling-hills road to our farm vanish into the early morning fog, and I’d imagine that hidden in the distance in that fog was the iconic Swiss mountain, The Matterhorn, which I fantasized climbing someday. To this day I am still drawn to country roads diminishing into fog. I treasure the sense of mystery they stir in me and imagine what might be concealed down the road.

Or take the photo of five boats in Cinque Terre, Italy. Seeing their color and beauty in the late afternoon sunlight, I said “Wow!” in amazement and delight. My vision for the photo was to capture and process it in such a way that the viewer might experience a similar response.

Or take the photo titled “The Open Window.” I was initially drawn to the numerous rectangular shapes on the wall (I count at least 16) and particularly to the open window with the curtain drawn aside. The open window aroused my curiosity - what might I see if I peered inside? It is similar curiosity that I hope is aroused in the viewer.

My photographic vision is to stir an emotional response in the viewers of my photos, to touch the viewer’s heart through my photography. Not that everyone will have an emotional response to all my photos or the same response I do. That varies from person to person according to their lived experiences. It is this emotional response connected to people’s lived human experiences that I intend to be the subject of my photos expressed in and through the subject matter - the visible image.

All the technical stuff - camera and lenses, Photoshop, techniques, etc. - are for the service of striving to fulfill the vision I have for my photos. If you want to read about the technicalities, a sheet is available in my file at Artists’ Own explaining the technical side of my work.