SwampDreams Photography and Graphic Arts*

Photopaintings by Ken Wells


*Trademark applied for; all images copyright Ken Wells/SwampDreams Photography

 Web Display SwampDreams Photography by Ken Wells

SwampDream #21


     I've long been an avid photographer and among my favorite subjects are the wetlands, landscapes and flora and fauna of my native South Louisiana. We sit astride of an estuary that is by some estimates the seventh largest on earth and holds within its folds the Great Atchafalaya Swamp--the largest contiguous hardwood swamp in North America. I grew up on the banks of Bayou Black, La., with one foot in that swamp, mostly fishing and exploring with my dad and five brothers. It left an indelible impression on me and as a journalist fortunate to  have traveled much of America and the world--all but one of the 50 states, Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East--I found myself constantly drawing comparisons to the often spectacular landscapes I saw in other places. Everglades National Park? We have a bigger and more photogenic swamp. The Congo River? Its rainforest banks are lush and wonderous and teeming with wildlife but if you've ever paddled a pirogue through the watery cypress forests of the Great Atchafalaya at dawn, you could easily mistake its majesty and mystery for the wilds of Africa.

     Some time ago, I began seriously organizing my Louisiana photo collection--taken mostly on fishing trips with my brothers during my frequent visits to the bayouland--and came to the conclusion that while I had a handful of National Geographic-quality photographs, a great deal of what I'd collected were basically snapshots. However, I had become adept at Photoshop, a magnificent digital tool that, on a simple level, lets you tweak color, contrast and sharpness to give photos more pop and sparkle. But you can also do more ambitious things--remove and/or replace backgrounds, merge images and apply filters that recreate some of the techniques and textures--oil painting and craquelure, for example--that serious painters achieve.

         So I began to experiment with repurposing my Louisiana photo collection, using Photoshop to merge prosaic landscapes into palettes that strived to capture the swamp in a far dreamier and more evocative way than my photographs did. But my landscapes were empty of wildlife, birdlife in particular. However, I could easily fix that because my collection contained literally hundreds of photos I'd snapped over the years of Louisiana birds--egrets, herons and other water birds in particular. Again, as standalone photos, only a handful have been good enough to  frame and put on my wall. But if I put them in Photoshop and removed the backgrounds--also using the software to manipulate color, texture, size and the ability to place my birds anywhere I wanted in the palette--I could weave them into tableaus that mimick paintings. I've dubbed these SwampDreams  and to date have created 100 unique images. All that are posted here are for sale in two glossy formats: 8.5"x11" or 13"x19". I hand print and digitally sign each one and ship them unframed, postage paid, rolled up in a shipping tube.

          For pricing, you can email me at bayoubro@aol.com. Please indicate on the Subject line which print or prints you are interested in. I accept PayPal, Venmo or Chase QuickPay--Ken Wells


Web Display SwampDreams Photography by Ken Wells

SwampDream #42

Web Display SwampDreams Photography by Ken Wells

Web Display SwampDreams Photography by Ken Wells

SwampDream #69

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