"Hymn to Adversity" The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, CA

"Hymn to Adversity" The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, CA, medium format negative film, 16" x 20", 1997

Michael McAreavy was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and educated at the University of Northern Iowa.  He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Oakland, California.  Enamored by natural light nearly his entire life, McAreavy has been photographing landscapes across the American West for nearly twenty years.  Inspired by the renowned works of Ansel Adams, a 35mm camera gifted to him by a former girlfriend launched him forward into a "photographic odyssey" that has ultimately defined his life's purpose.

In McAreavy's words:

When light, line, and shadow form a perfect union, my spirit comes alive.  To this day, I still prefer to work my landscape compositions with a slow manual medium format film camera.  You may ask--- Why?  Considering photograph in Greek means "light write," I interpret camera bodies, lenses, digital sensors, film, etc. as merely tools of the trade.  You could say that working with film on the front end of the photographic process ('front end' meaning composition creation in the field) fits my "writing style."  I simply have a greater appreciation for film's recordation tendencies than I do for the digital camera's quest to make it "110% perfect."  How film "sees what's in front of it" has long been half the joy for me---- flaws, inabilities, idiosyncrasies and all.  This by no means should be interpreted as an argument against digital technology.  Quite the contrary!  Modern day advancements are incredible!  However, in my case, I prefer to marvel over "digital capacity" only after reaching the print preparation stage.  Contrast control and the ability to preserve detail within the shadows are other-worldly.  In a sense, I am both old and new school.  And all things considered, light is life.

Michael McAreavy's website

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on December 04, 2012

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