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Home   Artist's Statement

To view each portfolio, click on the image or gallery title.

Child's Play

In the Garden

Snow Globes


Constant Motion


All images on this site are Copyright 1998-2012 by Heather Siple. Prints of all images are available by contacting the artist.



       I have always been an artist, as long as I can remember. Not because I could draw, or paint or sculpt realistically, but because I have always enjoyed creating with whatever materials I had handy and because I have always been an intense observer of odd details in the world around me. I have been known to spend ages just staring at the way shadows play on the walls, the way reflections form on the water, or the way the light plays around a dying plant in the window.

       My photographic father made sure I had a camera to play with early on. I had a filmless fisher -price toy when I was tiny, and when I was old enough to hold a camera steady I got one with actual film in it. I took pictures of everything - my home, places I went, my family, and anything that I just thought was interesting.

       My father taught me about composition and Ansel Adam's brilliant landscapes. By High School, all I wanted to was to be another Ansel Adams. I did lots of landscapes and plant shots that tried to imitate what I saw in his pictures. However, there was one little problem with trying to be a photographer by taking spectacular landscapes - LOCATION. Adams was traveling from California to Wyoming. Pictures from the popular press with which I was bombarded all featured exotic locations and spectacular "photo ops."

       BUT, I grew up, and still live, in the suburbs, in the shadow of industrial parks, broken-down shopping centers and highways. It's not a bad place to live. It's green. The neighbors are nice. It is a safe place for kids to play. But, purple mountains majesty it is not. As a kid on a bicycle or a young adult with limited finances, there were only so many places I could go for photo ops. Until, at some point, I figured out that there are all kinds of things to find if I just take a closer look at what is right there in front of me.

       Some people can't see the forest for the trees. Maybe I'm one of them. But, how much is missed when we do not take a closer look as well? I have found an infinite supply of subject matter in the weeds and seeds in the garden, or hiding in a corner of a room.

       Ansel Adams had done a good job of being Ansel Adams. I needed to be Heather Siple. I let myself turn my camera more to the details I had been staring at all along. I knew the rules of composition. Now it was time to just go with the flow. The more I concentrated on exploring the subject and the less I worried about what would make a good picture, or what someone else would do, the better everything got.

       This breaking away brought a new freedom. I could use my camera to explore in a whole new way that continues to evolve with time. First seeing the whole subject before me, I look deeper to find the basic elements that make that whole interesting, elements which have an abstract or emotional quality all their own. Light, form, and texture create an interplay which sculpt the subjects of my work, cutting away what is distracting, leaving only what I view as important. It has never been my intention to disguise my subjects, but rather to show the abstraction in all objects, regardless of placement, lighting, or origin. Along the way, this abstract approach often brings out images beyond the image ? stems become dragons and woodland spirits peer out at the viewer from the shadows of a leaf. In this way, I strive to bring to the viewer the extraordinary in everyday things and in their own imaginations.

      One of the most common subjects of my work is botanical life. I have long held a deep interest in the natural world, an interest that began when I was quite young. Although this interest began as largely scientific, it has become far more spiritual in recent years. This spirituality ties me to this region, yet bolsters me as well. In recent years, it has come to hold a more spiritual place in my heart and life. It is this faith in the value and beauty around me that I chose to make the focus of much of my work.


So, okay, why is all this in black and white? I prefer black and white for a few reasons. First of all, it brings out the shades, tones and textures that I'd been looking it. It is also more abstract. Color is more grounded in reality. We see and recognize things in color, so when I see a color shot I try to recognize the subject automatically before I see what the photographer was looking at. My first reaction is to say "it's a ___" instead of looking at what the photographer was seeing or saying. Sometimes color is just a distraction from the really interesting details that I want to show off.

      But, if I can use the color as a tool for the picture, there is nothing wrong with that either. Sometimes it is all about the color. So, I stick to color when I'm making a record of the reality in front of me, like family snapshots, or when color is a tool for the composition. Otherwise, I use black and white film and leave things to the imagination.

       Once you've seen the world through my eyes, I'd like to challenge you to take a closer look at the world through your own eyes and see what magic you can find!

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