Incubate your Passion

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Anyone can run around with a camera, snap pics and come up with some pretty good shots that document their world. But to make (not just take) truly good images, you have to start with an outcome in mind. Factors like composition, lighting, resolution, and software can take years to master. Never insult a good artist by saying they TAKE pictures when they MAKE photographs. Meet Tim Vollink, maker of hybrid imagery. We met up with Tim at work.

Please tell us about yourself.
I have been making pictures for a long time, thanks mostly to my dad who got me interested in photography at a young age. In the time of film we used to develop our own prints in a makeshift darkroom in our house. I owe a lot of my talents to him.

When I was shooting film it was hard for me to afford shooting a lot of pictures, so when the first Canon Rebel came out, it really jumpstarted my interest in photography again. With my degree in art at Southeast Missouri State University, I took many photography classes and several on digital artwork. This was eye-opening to what you can accomplish in creating an image.

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Tell us about your photography.
My images tend to border on the line between photography and digital art. I love texture and vintage images. With 2D art it is hard to get a 3D effect, so to solve this dilemma I started taking pictures of every interesting texture I saw. I have now created a large database of almost 5,000 textures and vintage backgrounds. I bring these textures into Photoshop and layer over my photography, sometimes up to 10-15 layers, to create the effect I want and my unique take on what I photographed.

I’m always looking at the possibilities of what I can do to bring across my vision of what I see. I still adhere strictly to the principles of a good photograph, because you cannot start with a bad photo and enhance it on the computer. Some images I don’t edit but most I do, and I know there are many that say this is not true photography. I don’t argue. I do bring to their attention the fact that, before the advent of digital technology, most photographers still edited their images in a darkroom to enhance their photographs.

When taking a photograph you are capturing a moment in time, the beauty you see, and your unique view of the world. I just tend to take mine a step further and bring in more elements of my active imagination.

Tell us about your shows.
I currently have a show in Poplar Bluff, through the month of February, at the Margaret Harwell Art Museum. I had a show last year at Yoga East in Cape Girardeau and have had many in downtown Cape when I was in college. These days I mostly take pictures for my own personal enjoyment because it is what I love to do. It is hard with my full time job to take time to promote my work.

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What is the most important thing with regards to making a great image?
So many things factor into making a great image. It all starts with the camera. It is good to know your camera inside and out, know its limitations, and realize it is just a tool for capturing light. There are many guidelines that you can follow, probably too many to get into here. Remember they are only guidelines. It is good to learn them first because at times they need to be broken. There are no restrictions on what you can imagine or dream, which makes the possibilities endless. Take thousands of pictures and learn from your mistakes (which are not really mistakes if they make you a better photographer). Most of all, photography and art should be fun. Do what you love and love what you do.

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