About SwampDreams Photopaintings…
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. The state sits astride 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, fishing and rambling with my dad and five brothers and soaking up these wilderness wetlands in all of their seasons. It left an indelible impression on me.
Some time ago, I began seriously organizing my Louisiana photo collection, taken during my frequent visits to the bayouland. I came to the conclusion that 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 like remove and/or replace backgrounds, merge images and apply filters that recreate the techniques and textures that serious painters achieve.
So I began to experiment—hours and hours of trial and error—with repurposing my Louisiana photo collection, using Photoshop to merge prosaic landscapes into palettes that strive to capture the swamp and its wildlife in a far dreamier and more evocative way than my photographs did. I've dubbed these photopaintings and to date have created more than 150 unique images. Those represented in these pages are among my favorites.
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. More recently, I've been applying these techniques to my growing collection of Maine photographs taken during my long summers there where we are fortunate enough to own a cozy log cabin on the shores of one of the most scenic ponds in the state. Click here to see those images.
About Ken Wells...
Ken Wells is a journalist, novelist, photographer, musician, fisherman, avid outdoorsman and bird lover. He seldom travels anywhere without his camera and a quiver of lenses. He became interested in photography at age 19 when he got his start in journalism as a reporter on his Louisiana hometown weekly newspaper. On his first assignment, he was handed a Speed Graphic camera (the kind you see in those old black and white press movies) and sent to take a picture of a giant alligator snapping turltle. He's been hooked ever since. While Wells never trained as an artist, he became interested in graphic design during grad school at the University of Missouri. Wells also took a Mizzou photojournalism course under Art Terry, a former National Geographic photographer. However, when photography went digital, Ken was an early adapter of both digital cameras and digital photographic software, Photoshop in particular. He's is self-taught in Photoshop and continues to learn something new every day. Between frequent visits to his home state of Louisiana, Ken divides his time between Chicago and a beautiful little log cabin in the wilds of Maine. You can read more about Ken's journalistic and literary efforts at his websites: