Mexican Patina Series

Stephen B&W Framed

Stephen F. Dennstedt

Indochine Photography International

Expat Journal:  Postcards from the Edge

pat·i·na:  /pəˈtēnə/

Noun

1.  A green or brown film on the surface of bronze or similar metals produced by oxidation over a long period.

2.  A gloss or sheen on wooden furniture produced by age and polishing.

Synonyms:  Verdigris

Through common usage I think patina has come to mean any surface damage or change denoting [extreme] age or harsh environment treatment.  It could be said, therefore, that I have a weathered face exhibiting a wonderful patina.  I won’t even begin to come up with a word that describes my body; we’ll just leave it at the face for now (and no smart-ass remarks from the peanut gallery).

Mexico is pure heaven for the artist/photographer.  On any given day it gives up its cornucopia of light, colors, textures and shapes.  Prior to, and concurrent with, my interest in photography I was an artist—in the classical sense:  oils, watercolors, pastels and pen & ink.  And I now I like to think that I bring an artist’s eye to the more technical aspects of photography.  I’ve never been much interested in the equipment per se, but rather how the equipment will allow me to capture a personal vision.  Art made me crazy.  I had some latent talent, but it wasn’t enough.  The frustration of not being able to translate the vision I had in my Mind’s-eye to canvas or paper made me nuts.  Literally.  By the age of ten I had already trained with San Diego professional artist Dorothy Wright, and had been one of the few students selected by the San Diego Unified School District to attend a special summer art tutelage program, for gifted student artists, culminating in an art exhibition at the prestigious San Diego Museum of Fine Art.  It was both an honor and the final nail in the artistic coffin:  I gave up my painting and drawing shortly thereafter, and focused on my photography.  I have never really regretted the decision.  Never before, in the history of photography, has the photographer had so much personal control over his vision.  From capturing the initial digital image, to bringing the final vision to fruition vis-a-vis the digital darkroom.  But I digress—

We were talking about Mexico and patina.  Almost every surface in Mexico is a weathered surface.  Amazing layers of plaster and color; streaks of grunge using buildings as canvas; textures beyond belief (exposed stone and brick), and manmade objects in various states of disrepair (lopsided and Jerry-rigged).  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (here and on Facebook) I spent last week on Isla Mujeres photographing the island.  The following are just a few of the images I encountered while strolling the back streets and the Malecon.  These images were all captured initially using my Canon EOS 5D Mk2 digital camera and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens.  All images were recorded in Camera RAW (no camera algorithms to think for me), and later converted in Photoshop Elements 11.  Then the creative process began in earnest:  using various post-editing techniques and software I arrived at these final images.  It was important for me to not only preserve, but to enhance the colors, shapes and textures I saw with my biological eye.  If I have been successful, the viewing of these images should be almost tactile as well as visionary (both see and feel).

In addition to the technical shooting data for each image, I have also included a direct link to my online gallery (these images are for sale).  Each image can be printed on painter’s canvas to a maximum size of approximately 2-1/2 x 4 feet.  I hope you enjoy what Mexico has to offer in the way of visual experience.  This is my Mexican Patina Series (I through VI):

Mexican Patina I

Mexican Patina I

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Purchase info)

Maximum:  32 x 48 inches

1/250s @ f/5.6, ISO 100, FL=24mm

Mexican Patina II

Mexican Patina II

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Purchase info)

Maximum:  32 x 40 inches

1/125s @ f/5.6, ISO 100, FL=24mm

Mexican Patina III

Mexican Patina III

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Purchase info)

Maximum:  32 x 48 inches

1/250s @ f/5.6, ISO 100, FL=32mm

Mexican Patina IV_edited-1

Mexican Patina IV

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Purchase info)

Maximum:  32 x 48 inches

1/800s @ f/4.0, ISO 100, FL=58mm

Mexican Patina V_edited-1

Mexican Patina V

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Purchase info)

Maximum:  32 x 48 inches

1/40s @ f/5.6, ISO 100, FL=32mm

Mexican Patina VI

Mexican Patina VI

(Click on image to enlarge)

(Purchase info)

Maximum:  32 x 48 inches

1/320s @ f/16, ISO 100, FL=93mm

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4 responses to “Mexican Patina Series

  1. Hi Steve: I really like this Patina Series, reflects my impression of many sights/scenes in Mexico, for those of us who avoid the resorts and other commercial areas of the country. I spent two weeks in Queretaro this spring, in the colonial district, and on every street and around every corner were scenes similar to those you portray here.Barbara Ross

    Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2013 22:40:11 +0000ueTo: baross88@hotmail.com

    • Thank you Tim. Actually, these have not been converted to painting effects … mostly just cropping and boosting saturation. The natural patina’s down here are so full of texture, color and light that it takes very little to enhance them. But they sure look like paintings, and convert well to canvas prints.

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