Meet the Artist: Dwight Vasel
"Imagination is more powerful even than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
Dwight finds his inspiration through many sources and he values places of solitude to be in the moment, quiet his mind, listen and be present with nature around him.
“It’s all about light. Constantly being aware of light, shadows, highlights, shape and form that appear all around us at anytime, anywhere, everyday. Watching light unfold on a landscape is so important and not to be underestimated.”
As a 14 time Emmy Award winner during his years in television production, being behind a camera was nothing new to Dwight. Though moving from video to stills and people to wildlife has been a welcome adventure. His creativity and imagination naturally transferred from his Emmy winning career to his photography. Dwight has spent a lot of his life in major metropolitan areas capturing imagery of “wild humans” in their natural “urban habitat,” which translated nicely into developing his skills as a wildlife photographer. His first trip to the Jackson area and Grand Teton National Park was to prepare for a photography workshop that he was leading. After two years of leading workshops he became a guide for Gallery Wild's partner company Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris.
“Grand Teton National Park was sensory overload for me when I arrived and I was hooked. This place was, and still is, magical! This was a place I had to be. And now my works are hanging in Gallery Wild and I couldn’t be happier.”
Dwight seeks to create an emotion with his work, and through that emotion, bring people to an awareness of the importance of preserving our lands, our wildlife and our resources.
“Our world is changing. It’s naturally evolving just as it has over millions and millions of years from the great seas of water to the great sheets of ice...and back. Change is a reality, no matter our opinion of the cause or what label we want to put on it. Bottom line, we must be good stewards of our planet and all its resources. We must do whatever we can, with whatever we have, wherever we are...to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt.”
Dwight strives to achieve bold emotion with his striking imagery. An image that makes someone stop in their tracks to take a look, to study, to admire. His work combines landscape with wildlife and wildlife with landscape.
His work at Gallery Wild is printed on metal, an exciting new art medium in the photography world. Dyes are infused directly into specially coated aluminum sheets. Because the image is infused into the surface and not on it, colors are vibrant, the luminescence is breathtaking and detail and resolution are extraordinary. The type of metal used creates work that is waterproof, weatherproof, scratch resistant and can be displayed outside in the direct sunlight for years. You are no longer limited to displaying photography inside your home!
Dwight is a self-taught photographer who has spent years utilizing professional photography publications ranging from books to journals to magazines. He studied the works of iconic photographers such as Ansel Adams, and read about them and their photography techniques. His photography exploration continues even today studying new techniques and keeping up with the latest technology.
“My world exists through the lens of my camera. That is where I feel the wildlife. That is where I feel the landscape. Through the lens is like no other world and it’s home to me.”
His artistic process starts with a drive, a hike or a walk to look, observe and be in the moment. Sometimes he will bring camera gear, but sometimes not.
“I’m looking for areas that offer elements for my imagery. Those elements could be big or small, textures, patterns, flora or fauna, but they all need the right light. Narrowing ones focus is so important and so I ask myself what and why? What is it about this landscape or subject that is calling me? Why do I like what I see?”
His work can take on many different attributes like the fast and furious motion in wildlife or a fleeting moment of light on a landscape. It could be a waiting game for the right elements to appear at the right moment or slow and methodical where the elements of the scene are stationary.
The darkroom is where the real creativity happens and has always been an integral part of photography. This is where the photographer becomes the artist, creating their interpretation of the image captured in camera. Dwight fondly recalls the experience of seeing a photograph appear on a piece of photographic paper in the darkroom and believes it's an incredible experience every photographer should witness. Today’s darkroom is now one’s computer.
“Being a darkroom artist is essential to my works, it is where I put my interpretation to my vision. So when I go to my “darkroom” to create my works, I start by putting on a pair of headphones with my favorite music streaming, open that first image and I am lost in my world of creativity and imagination for hours.”