Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interview With Cheryl Medow

Cheryl Medow 
Great Egrets of the World, Ed of 5 
Digital Pigment Print, Deckled Edge 29 ¼ x 24”

Of all the animals and birds you photograph, do you have a favorite?

The birds are the most difficult to shoot and I love a challenge.  When they are in full mating colors it's the best.  Their feather, beaks and eyes can be unbelievable.  The cats are amazing as well.  I have to travel a far distance to see them in the wild.  Where they live is as spectacular as how they dress.  The leopard is the most beautiful with his coloring and incredible eyes.  When I am eye to eye with these cats, I stop breathing. And I have to remember to press the shutter.

I know you often travel to search out birds and animals to photograph. Where are some of the places that your work has taken to you in the past year or two?  

For the birds, they live everywhere.  I have been shooting them in Kenya, Botswana, and the Pantanal in Brazil and as close as the Malibu Lagoon.

Have you noticed any changes to the conservation areas that you visit, or in the numbers and/or varieties of animals?  

The numbers of animals depends on drought and of course loss of habitat.  The oil spill in the gulf certainly disturbed the ecosystem there.  Malibu is in the process of wanted to change the lagoon.  I for one have been against this so as not to disturb the habitat and as well, keep the lagoon in the wonderful state it is with great wooden bridges going thru the marsh, rather than only have a walkway around it.

Cheryl Medow 
Elusive Leopard, Ed of 5 
Digital Pigment Print, Deckled Edge 29 ¼ x 38”

What are some of the challenges you face in your work? (Technical, scheduling or time constraints, distances, weather, etc)  

Technically, the challenge is to be able to carry all my camera gear whether it be 1 mile or taking it on board a flight.  The gear is heavy.  My camera and 600mm lens weighs approx. 20-25 lbs.  Kenya and the continent are not close to Los Angeles but the Malibu Lagoon is.   Unfortunately I can't find the big cats in the wild in Malibu.  So making arrangement to fly across the world almost once a year for the past 15 years has been exciting and challenging.  

Is there a particular season, or time of day that you find better for finding your subject matter?  

I try not to go places in the rain.  Certainly not good for camera gear.  Early morning and late afternoon light are the moments that photographers relish.  The light is incredible when the sun is out of course.  The lions (morning light), the leopard (afternoon light) and the Great Blue Heron Of The World (morning light) are examples of the nature of light.

There is a new quality to your latest images, a texture. Have you learned any new techniques? If so, can you share them?  

My newest work began as field notes and postcards. I wanted to tell people about my travels so I incorporated an envelope pattern on the photographer's canvas. The envelope I used was one I found amongst my father-in-laws love letters to my mother-in-law from December 1930.  And here we are 81 years on. Life has texture and maps show us where we are.  In other words, the textures explore the fabric of life.  The maps are another means of travel and worldliness.  The images are placed in their world as a snapshot of time.  

Cheryl Medow's exhibition begins November 1.

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