The collective work of Michael and Patricia Kimak is as much an exhibit of appealing commercial photography as it is an interesting study of two photographers approaching the same subject. The Kimaks have been shooting images together for 30 years throughout Europe, northern Africa and the American Southwest. Their most recent collection, A Collection of Images: Traditional and Transformed, on exhibit at OpticalReverb Gallery in a benefit show for Lutheran Services, presents a wide spectrum of their combined work.
Michael and Patricia frequently work from the same subject. Michael's tendency is direct, capturing large patterns, stark architecture or stunning landscapes. Patricia, on the other hand, approaches the subject more cautiously, searching for an unconventional angle. Such is the case with the couple's treatment of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Charleston, S.C. Michael approached the facade forthright, presenting the strong archway, vibrant crimson door and patterned blue tile floor without further interpretation. Patricia, working in black and white, chose an angled composition giving equal emphasis to the wall in the foreground and the church door farther back in the scene.
The bread and butter of the Kimaks' commercial success rests in the scenic images of many regional attractions such as Maroon Bells, Estes Park and Garden of the Gods. This is their traditional work.
The transformed half of the show finds the Kimaks testing the waters of greater artistic freedom, using computer manipulation. According to Michael, transforming an image achieves two goals: it changes the mood of the subject and also changes the aesthetic. Many of these images are softened with a digital filter giving the look of a painting or watercolor. Others are selectively tinted. Working from a striking photo of Maroon Bells, Michael changed the photograph to black and white and then replaced the original blue sky. It will be interesting to see if the Kimaks' transformed work is as commercially viable as the traditional.