Coastal Photography: An intimate composition

A work of art, regardless of genre is a personal extension of the creator of the piece.  Many art enthusiasts understand this concept in sculptural and canvas mediums.  However in our digital age where Instagram, Facebook, and others capture the public mindset, we sometimes forget the very intimate and personal relationship photographers have with their viewers.  As both amateur and professional photographer pump out quantities of images, there still remains photographers with a true calling who capture a single theme and emotion and forward their intimate experience to viewers.

Mike Basher is a photographer based in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Many of his clients include top Fortune 500 companies for whom he does commercial shoots.  Life on the Outer Banks has it’s perks; fly fishing being one, and photography being another.  

Being near the coast, Basher has developed a very unique and distinct style of photography.  His images convey a tranquil simplicity, mixed in with busy abstraction, and even a bit of surrealism that leaves the viewer seeing a beautifully simple photograph with complex composition.  Light, shadow, texture, and subject matter are delicately weaved together to offer the viewer a tranquil understanding of what Basher is experiencing when he takes a photograph.  “Elementally, I like to keep things simple.  Even if I’m composing a photograph with a great deal of texture, like a sand flat at low tide, I try to make order... of all the contrast in a sea of sand ripples to draw the viewer’s eye through the frame.  I do my best to make sense of it all for the viewer”, says Basher.

Shackleford II

Shackleford II

From a technical standpoint Basher is a purist, preferring to make limited exposures to capture the perfect scene.  Through minute adjustments Basher is able to convey the raw emotion of a piece to viewers.  “For example, Mesquite Flat I, one of my favorite photographs I’ve made is simple and elegant yet dynamic at the same time.  That image is from a trip to Death Valley in 2011 and I recall nudging my tripod fractions of an inch several times before I was happy with the composition.  Then I made only one exposure of it.” says Basher.  He continues, “Even minute adjustments while composing an image gives the final photograph a completely different feel.  I don’t ever crop and I don’t use window mats with my print finishing.  I want the viewer to experience the entirety of what I chose to include on the original exposure.  Comparing his limited exposure purism to large batch photographers Basher says “...it isn’t uncommon for many photographers to shoot dozens of images of a scene, varying each one slightly, without stopping to think, look, and become part of the scene.  Photographers will shoot a great deal, and pick the best frame when they get back to their computer.  I think in order to have my true self show in my work, I have to be working in the moment and with the moment, not fishing for a moment in a batch of images.”  

 

Beaufort Inlet I

Beaufort Inlet I

Basher seeks to create pieces that convey his emotional connection to the experience of shooting each piece.  “My photographs are a direct extension of who I am. While composing, my mood, senses and aesthetics are all at work. I try to make my own interpretation of what I’m experiencing, and pass that on to the viewer.  Each moment is meticulously crafted, carefully exposed and completely individual as I pour myself into them.  They are my best offering.”  Intimate, emotional, and raw.  Basher’s photography allows the viewer to feel what Basher is feeling at the moment of shutter.
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Mike Basher is a photographer located in Morehead City, NC.  View his work at www.mikebasher.com.

Read the full interview with Mike Basher and more information about this article on www.artguidemag.com/mikebasher