In this series, Michelle Bates explores the remarkable resilience of natural elements as they exist in the realm of some of the harshest urban environments. Water flows; trees get what they need from the ground and sky and reach ever higher; light plays against buildings, foliage and water to create shadows, patterns and reflections.
Urban oases also create havens for city dwellers to get away from the sounds of traffic, to bathe in the cool of a tree's shade and the music of falling water. These escapes transform metropolises like New York, San Francisco, and Boston much more livable environments.
If I had to pick one word to describe my photography, it would be quirky. While I have two main types of image making, both have elements that make them fun and unusual.
I started image making with the Holga camera in 1991, photographing carnivals and animals, and have evolved over two decades to include more abstract and thoughtful themes. I am also fed by sharing my love of low-tech photography through teaching and my book.
I engage in collaborative image making with performers, making promotional and live photographs.
For much of my work, I use Holga plastic cameras. Having used these since 1991, I have developed a vision and style that suits many subjects and I can explore endlessly. Black and white images are shot with Tri-X or Ilford Delta 3200. All exhibition prints are silver gelatin prints. Color prints are darkroom C-prints. Both are printed using a handmade cardboard negative carrier.
For theater photography, I shoot digitally with a Nikon D300, using almost exclusively fast prime lenses.
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