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10 Questions with Imaging USA Speaker, Thom Rouse, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, F-ASP. - PPA Today

10 Questions with Imaging USA Speaker, Thom Rouse, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP, F-ASP.

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By: Lauren Walters

           

Thom Rouse began his career in 1994. He now splits his time as a portrait and commercial photographer. With two diverse sides to his career, Thom has mastered the art of photography. In the following interview, he tells us about himself as an artist.

 

What is your definition of "fine art"?

 

I wouldn't dare try to define art! My thought is that if you have a personal experience with literature, music, a painting or a photograph, then it must be art. We don't really need to define it, agree on it, or consult a critic to decide what it means. If we have an experience with it, positive or negative, I think it must be art.

 

Who are some of the artists who inspire you?

 

There are many artists who inspire me and the list changes daily. Among those near the top of my list are Salvador Dali, Gustave Klimt and Tintoretto. Among photographers, I'd include Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gordon Parks and Irving Penn. As soon as I start a list, I can think of 30 more I should have added.

 

Why do you teach classes for other photographers?

 

        It sounds trite, but I like to teach because I learn so much from it. It pushes me to think and evaluate the things I think I know about my process and my craft. While teaching, I often have some self-revelation about my own image making and I always learn from other photographers, usually from the newest newbie in the room.

 

You've had over 50 images go Loan - what do you enjoy most about photographic competitions?

 

        My reasons for entering competition have changed over time. When I started, I was solely trying to make the judges happy and earn merits towards a degree. Once I earned my degrees, I tried to make and enter images that I liked the most and were unique to me. At that point, I stopped looking for what I thought would achieve the highest scores. If we're not learning from competition, I see no reason to compete. We all need to present our work and receive feedback; it's a part of our ongoing creative process. No matter where we are in our careers, photographic competitions guarantee to make us better image makers. The more we enter competition, the more we have to work at stretching ourselves. It pushes us to take chances and do work that advances our vision; not just entering images that will earn more merits.

 

What makes photography such a versatile medium of expression?

 

        It's great to be a photographer: a time when the medium has become more versatile than ever! I started later in life at 40 years old, but the 20 year span of my career has encompassed the transition from film to digital capture. As much as I loved the traditional darkroom, I came alive with digital post production. During that time it has become an entirely new medium that encompasses painting, compositing and extensive possibilities for post-capture manipulation. The technology has created endless opportunities, yet we have to remind ourselves that we still create images with our eyes, hearts and minds. That's what makes photography truly versatile.

 

Do you pursue any other creative endeavors?

 

        Sadly, I do not. I gave up music 30 plus years ago; although, I'm greatly inspired by other media. I fantasize projects in other media, but I've never acted on it.

 

What is your favorite image you've captured?

 

        I have several favorites because they were influenced by very personal experiences that captured, expressed and expanded those experiences. I think the best and most impactful work is done when it's grounded in your personal experience.

 

Who should take your class at Imaging USA?

 

I think that photographers in any genre and at any experience level will find something of value in my program. I'll be making the case for spending time on fine art and how fine art will translate into added success in commercial and portrait work. Creating and displaying fine art expands your reputation as an artist, and will contribute to both your image making skills and to your bottom line.

 

What are the top 3 things people should take away from your class?

 

1. Pursuing personal fine art will keep you fresh, alive and vibrant as an image maker.

2. These days everyone is a photographer - being recognized as an artist elevates your status and recognition in the market.

3. Fine Art translates into skills and styles that let you create work like no one else in your market.

 

Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Jack White?

This is trick question that should be answered with "all of the above". I know that Elvis and Johnny Cash have influenced nearly everyone that's followed, but my first choice for listening right now would be Jack White!

This must be a based on Nashville connections; otherwise I'd be voting "none of the above" and writing in Miles Davis!

Come listen to Thom speak at Imaging USA in Nashville, TN. He will conduct a course called "The Case for Fine Art" on February 1, 2015. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on January 14, 2015 5:20 PM.

9 Questions with Imaging USA Speaker JulieAnne Jonker, M.Photog.Cr., CPP was the previous entry in this blog.

Critique: Kiss Me Sweetly is the next entry in this blog.

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