Stefanie Timmerman

Born in Germany, where she received her Doctorate in Science from Cologne University, Stefanie moved to Swampscott in 2006 and has recently returned from a trip to accept the Excellence Award at the International Photographic Competition at the "Open Shutter Gallery" in Durango, CO.

Stefanie approaches photography with unique artistic vision and an open inquisitive mind, and applies her technical skills to push her work in ever new and unexpected directions. Her photography is defined by the use of atmospheric light, innovative flash techniques and creative points of view. She prints all her images herself, exclusively using archival giclee printing techniques.

You have a background in science. How did you come to photography?

I always had an interest in the visual arts and started taking classes in painting, drawing, and photography during my time in Paris, where I lived for eight years. I came to photography when digital cameras were still a novelty, but the opportunity of merging artistic expression with the technical complexity possible with a digital camera struck a chord with me, and I have been hooked ever since.

Your work shows that you are not afraid of trying something new. How do you decide what to try next?

I belong to several online photographic communities and am a moderator for one of these groups, which is very active and assigns a new challenge to its members every two weeks. Thinking about a specific theme will conjure up images in my mind that I may not yet be able to execute, and I will deconstruct such images to find a way around the technical limitations. This stretching of my abilities is actually the most fun part of the challenges for me!

For example, one of last year’s projects was ‘depth of field’. I had read that pinhole images have incredibly high depth of field, and therefore started exploring pinhole photography. I retrofitted my camera with a pinhole lens and used some of the town’s historic buildings as my subjects. This is an old technique but on a modern camera body, and I printed the resulting images in sepia tones which reinforces the illusion of stepping back in time.

Usually, though, I get the best results when I decide on the artistic idea first, figuring out where I am going with it visually and then constructing the image technically. You can see the result in ‘The big migration’: Reading about carrier pigeons, an image suddenly popped into my mind of a swarm of airborne fish floating through the forest. All that was necessary now was to figure out how to make this image in my brain become a photographic reality.

What is it like for you being an artist in Swampscott?

I find our town’s natural setting inspiring, from our beaches to our buildings and open spaces. I do get creative support, feedback, and constructive criticism from my online community, but it is limited and I would very much like to have more face-to-face conversations and creative feedback. What is lacking in our town is a place for artists to meet and support each other, a place to invite speakers, stage exhibitions, or hold meetings. We artists want to grow and exchange ideas, and have such conversations in a place that promotes creative energy.

Stefanie's latest photos on flickr:

Stefanie's Swampscott photos:

Stefanie's photo blog with tips and tricks of the trade:


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