Where The Sky Meets The Sea; The Photography Of Alison Shaw Page 2

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Her square seascapes are among her latest works. Though not shot with a square format, Shaw has cropped them to achieve the symmetry to position her horizon lines. Purple seas and orange sunsets are typical of this part of New England and Shaw has documented them with all the romance of their surroundings.

Provincetown 2005

Last October Shaw received an artist residency in Provincetown on Cape Cod where she lived in an old dune shack far out on the National Seashore. The vast space and the roar of the ocean inspired yet more of a minimalist and abstract approach to her work and the photographs created the clarity and beautiful sense of that world of pure sea and sky.

A popular workshop instructor, Shaw finds that most of her students come aboard as pretty conservative, many stuck in their ways. Shaw urges them to break the rules, experiment and push themselves to a new way of seeing.

Rock Harbor, Orleans 2003

"I am trying always to inspire my students to find their own esthetic and their own style and I want them to recognize these things, think thematically and stylistically and pursue what they are drawn to. I talk a lot about color temperature and the Kelvin scale to them," she says. "Once you understand that, it's a tool--that warm and cool light and what it does on film.

"I encourage all of my students to learn composition in an art form outside of photography because within there is a tendency to apply it too often as rules. It is the same with perspective. In learning this way, by the time these things get translated back into your photography they are not rules but become more a general sense of what looks right and feels right. A composition must be a feeling thing, not something that is analyzed."

Lagoon 2003

When we look at Shaw's work over the years we think first of color, not only the superficial color but the integral color of the place where she is working whether it be Ireland, Tuscany, Provence, New Zealand, or Cape Cod and the Islands. There is an intrinsic joy in them all, the joy of a photographer who takes pleasure in every minute of her work. As Shaw says, "I'm still doing what I love like it's a hobby.

It has not lost its luster and I can't think of a better job."

Paul's Point 1990

Shaw's recent achievements include three books. The first, Vineyard Harvest, a book of recipes from Martha's Vineyard and written by Tina Miller, is illustrated with a series of brilliantly colored food shots. Her newest venture is a tribute to the craft of a Vineyard stonemason, Lew French. Stone by Design is a coffee-table book for which Shaw has brought her exotic touch to the many hues of stone and architecture. Also available is Finding Martha's Vineyard authored by Jill Nelson, a series of black and white photographs narrated by the large population of African Americans who reside there.

Lucy Vincent Beach 1999

To learn more about Shaw and view her extensive collection of photographs, visit her website at Alisonshaw.com.

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