Ad Mag

David Winston’s Solitude

In Art, Feature, Interview on March 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm




David Winston’s Solitude

Interview by Max Eternity



– Bryce Trees in Snow –


Hi David, welcome to AD Mag.


In my daily routine of searching for artist that might be featured in Art Digital Magazine, a few weeks back I came across your site. I looked around at the pictures that you had taken, but as much as I was impressed about the lovely execution of your photographic prowess, I was also impressed by the intuitive, understated elegance of your website design. It’s quite subtle, but rather inviting — intimate.

I spent a lot of time designing my website and then took it to a web designer to get it up and running. I love understatement and attempt to use it in a way that supports my images and leaves visitors feeling nourished on some level.

And about the pictures that you take, the moments that you capture, where did it all begin? How did you get started?

When I was eight I received a Kodak Brownie. At the same time our neighbors purchased a bunch of baby chicks. With Brownie in hand, I got down on the grass with the baby chicks right in front of me and instinctively filled the entire frame only to find out later that all of the chicks were out of focus. I had been too close, but had the sense to fill the frame. Twelve years later I was an art major at Penn State University. My favorite teacher taught photography and was very encouraging. I developed a strong love for photography as a result.

When I think of indigenous peoples, particularly American Indians and the Aboriginals of Australia, I immediately think of the intrinsic connection, the respect and love they have for nature. I see this in your work; as if your surrounds are speaking to you. Then you step aside to allow that to show up on film?

I often think my experience must parallel that of a gold miner who keeps trudging along looking for treasure, somehow finding enough to keep searching for more. The search for me has everything to do with relationship and juxtaposition. It’s about recognizing what’s before me and being open to the many ways that objects relate to each other. I love to bring disparate elements together in new ways, forming a sort of gestalt that the elements alone could never achieve on their own. As a result, I don’t go out to shoot a flower or tree, but a relationship that includes a flower or tree and I never know what that is going to look like. I particularly love to create juxtapositions that include people and/or manmade elements. This allows for the possibility of humor and irony to enter into my work, two elements I love to play with.

For me, photographing pure nature is very different. The quest for relationship and juxtaposition is still there, but I find it almost impossible to bring irony and humor to an exquisite tree or a pure landscape. What I do hope to express through trees and natural landscapes is their deep-rooted stillness.


Trees having spirits, being people…this is what I sense in the painterly, still-life captures of “your” trees. Is there something to that?

I am always after essence and this might be why some of my tree images appear to have spirit. But, I feel all subjects, manmade or not, have spirit. So I look for essence in everything I photograph. Of course, spirit is not something that’s easy to put my finger on, but rather something that is hinted at and felt. When I get it right, others feel it, too.


– Tranquility –

Tranquility, that’s the word I’ve been looking for; a sentient tranquility…your work possesses that. A surreal calm – quiet, but also there’s a certain inquisitiveness.

I feel my work is quiet, perhaps in part from many years of meditation. When I find subjects that move me I become very quiet and focused, almost reverent. In a strange sort of way, I want to make sure my subjects, stationary or not, don’t disappear before I photograph them.

At the same time, I like to introduce a rough edge whenever I can to juxtapose with the quiet and I think this is why many of my images have a sense of the surreal. Making the ordinary breakthrough its ordinariness so that it challenges common ways of seeing yet finds resonance in the subconscious is an ongoing exploration for me.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with AD Mag;  for sharing your work with our readers.

You’re welcome, and thank you for the invitation Max.



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