" 'Three' appeared in my imagination," Trudee Siemann says. "All I had to do was find the fingers. My cousin's hand proved to be perfect. Most viewers see bamboo while others see trees. Few see fingers. When people realize what they are viewing, most put their fingers together, compare and are amused."
Big Island artist Trudee Siemann sees pictures in her head, then tries to figure out how to turn them into photographs
So often, what wows an audience of photography is drama: the landscape of a faraway, exotic place; the captured moment of a history-making event; or a shot taken from an adventurous spot -- the precipice of a cliff or in the midst of a battlefield. The interesting aspect of Trudee Siemann's work is that its the result of a vibrant inner life, germinating from her own imagination. Some of those works are included in an exhibit at Canon Photo Gallery, titled "Pinholes and Pictures from Within," on display through May 30.
"I work from visions in my head. I wait to find the right subject, and then the technical challenge is how to make a picture from my vision and put it all together in my dining room studio," Siemann says.
Siemann, who runs a cabinetmaking shop with her husband in Hilo, is in the process of completing her own darkroom.
"Right now, I print Sunday morning from midnight to 5 a.m. or whenever the sun comes up. Then I spend the next four days catching up on my sleep so I can do it all again the next Sunday.
"I built the darkroom because I want to control everything from taking the picture to processing it, then cropping it in an interesting way."
"Separation" was "a photogram experiment that became a photographic gift," Siemann says. She exposed the eggshell negative while placing a raw egg onto photographic paper.
A pinhole photograph offers an interesting perspective of an Orange 'N Cream soda bottle.
SIEMANN ventured into photography 11 years ago. She was an oil painter then, and she took photographs of her subjects before she painted them. After showing her shots to someone "who knew," she was told she had a good eye for photography. So she quit oils and picked up the camera. After working in color for a few years, Siemann switched to black and white.
"I like the simplicity," she says.
Siemann is skilled at conveying the power of a minimalized image. The goal, she says, is to evoke an emotional response from her audience. That she does, in such pieces as "Empty Nest," a shot of a broken eggshell, and "My Auntie's Hands," a picture of her dying relative's upturned palms.
"I want to create photographs that are visually stimulating. I want to show what people will not see on their own," she says, to allow people "to see the world differently."
Canon Photo Gallery is located at 210 Ward Ave., Suite 200. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Call 522-5930.
"My Auntie's Hands." Siemann has this to say: "Knowing these are the last days of my auntie's life, I asked to take a picture of her hands. While she lay on her back, I placed her hands on a black shawl and asked she position her palms up. Logistically this was a challenging picture to make. There wasn't much room to maneuver my 4x5 Linhof on tripod, very little available light, and my auntie was unable to hold her breath. I took six pictures and was so very blessed with this image."
"Empty Nest," a pinhole shot, depicts the loneliness of parents whose children have left home.
"Passage" is a favorite of Siemann's. "The image is minimal and simple; nevertheless, it evokes a positive feeling of wonder, curiosity and inquiry."