Born in the northeastern section of New Jersey, I spent my early childhood in the small town of Waldwick. By the mid 1950’s my family moved to England where we lived for a little less than a year.
Although very young at the time, my most vivid memory during our stay in England, was that of a street, my father and I had walked passed on the way to watch the new movie just out then, “Strategic Air Command”. The day was a traditionally grey and drizzly English one, and the street we past had not yet been rebuilt after a World War II bombing. Nothing but the broken, empty shells of bombed out brick and stone buildings, the full length of the street, remained. The sight made a powerful impression.
The image stays with me now, nearly 60 years later. I think that at that moment, when as a 4 year old boy, gazing in disbelief and incomprehension down that street, with all its destruction, my inner view of life was forever changed.
Today my art is still guided by the disturbing image of that bombed out street. As an artist, I look for the most natural beauty I can find to create my images. I try to tell a story with my images. It starts with the image. But that is only the beginning. My goal is to create an image that will evoke strong emotions from its audience. The images I create are from vistas I have seen that have had profound effects on me. I am not lucky enough to be a photographer who can see a shot, take it and move on. I see and take many shots of the same thing. I experiment with different aperture settings and shutter speeds. I use different white balance light temperature values and ISO settings. I use different lenses and may change my position. Even the orientation of the camera comes into play. All this is in an effort to find just the right combination of camera settings, vantage points and composition that will convey the feelings I experienced at the time of my first view. People perceive similar experiences differently, therefore, I don’t expect the viewer to get a specific message from my art. The message is of the audience’s making. That being said, I love our environment and hope that I can, in some small way, be one of its advocates.
© Thomas J. Kelly