Art Maker: Robert Solosko, photographer

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    Photographer Bob Solosko of Easthampton is seen here in his studio. At left is one of his photographs from New York City, "Going South.”  GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

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    Photographer Bob Solosko of Easthampton, seen here in his studio. At left is one of his photographs from New York City, "Going South." GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

  • “A Gate on the path to Rhaeadr Cynfal Falls.” Image courtesy of Robert B. Solosko

  • “Llangollen, Wales.” Image courtesy of Robert B. Solosko

  • “Phoebe.” Image courtesy of Robert B. Solosko

  • “Sunrise on Long Pond.” Image courtesy of Robert B. Solosko

Published: 4/19/2018 3:48:09 PM

Robert Solosko started taking photographs years ago, but his work has picked up steam since he retired from an engineering job in 2009. Since then he’s exhibited his photos in many places in the area and in some private collections. He’s also an Adobe Lightroom Certified Expert, and he teaches photography, camera handling, and Lightroom and Photoshop.

Solosko, of Easthampton, likes to create carefully crafted photos, but he’s also partial to seizing the moment. “One of my favorite images is of a homeless person sitting on a street in Manhattan with his dog,” he says. “I was walking down the street, saw him when I turned around, snapped two quick pictures, put some money in his cup, and then walked on. When I later looked at the image, I thought ‘Wow, look at that!’ It was the epitome of what street photography is about.”

Hampshire Life: Talk about the work you’re currently doing. What does it involve, and what are you trying to achieve?

Robert Solosko: One current project is photo painting. A painter starts with a vision and using composition, color, light and texture, directs the viewer to what he or she wants the viewer to see and experience. As a photographer, I attempt to create images which allow viewers to experience both my vision of the scene and their own.

With digital photography and recently developed photographic software that simulates oil and watercolor painting techniques and styles, I create images that cross the boundary between painting and photography. These images are abstract and an expression of the mood and feeling that I want to convey. 

HL: What do you draw inspiration from? Do you ever have any “Eureka!” moments?

RS: Being a member of several photo groups, I’m often inspired by the different ways other photographers approach the same subjects. Eureka moments occur when I photograph something, later look at the image, and see more in it than I recognized or planned when I snapped the image, like the image I took in New York. 

HL: How do you know when your work is finished?

RS: Capturing the image in the camera is just the first step in creating the “finished” picture. In digital post-processing, I globally and locally adjust color, light, and contrast to create the vision that I have of the scene. A picture is “finished” when I feel that it expresses the story I want it to tell. However, later I may see other possibilities or discover new processing techniques, and I’ll re-visit the image.

HL: Name two artists you admire or who have influenced your work. What about their art appeals to you?

RS: Edward Weston and Jay Maisel. Edward Weston’s sensuous images of simple objects, such as peppers and other vegetables, have expanded my perspective of how ordinary objects can be photographically transformed. Jay Maisel is a world-famous photographer whose work covers street photography, everyday objects, landscapes — his philosophy is to keep things simple and to keep one’s eyes open to the light, color and gesture that’s all around us.

HL: If you weren’t an artist, what do you think you’d be?

RS: Being a woodworker and having made a number of musical instruments, I would probably be a luthier.

— Steve Pfarrer


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