Manny Llanura, MFA
Manny Llanura is a contemporary artist using photography as his medium. He holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Claremont Graduate University.
Photography is my medium. My works embody an experience of me interacting with another person, or an adventure in a place that has some personal or historical significance from which I try to elicit a viewer’s own experiences and pose questions about their perception of the world.
Each final work starts with over a thousand photos that become the raw materials from which I eventually produce my final piece. My photo processing workflow is akin to a painter who uses a brush loaded with paint, laying individual strokes on a canvas, creating a representation of a subject. I grab “paint” with my camera and lay it on a digital “canvas”. Not literal paint but, from a photoshoot, or a photo expedition, I select the photos that best represent my subject. In Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, I edit those photos by cropping, color correcting and balancing to create individual photos that could stand on their own. In each photo, I consider form, color, line, texture and pattern. I then meticulously stack these photos, sometimes numbering up to one hundred. Deep in the final piece are the lights, shadows, hues, tones of a themed shoot.
I believe that the ability to focus on what is in front of you is not directly proportional to how detailed the image is. Consequently, the corollary to my thesis is that an amount of blur, chaos and vibration results in a better representation of the subject. The sweet spot of comprehension is somewhere in between. It is a give and take. I want my viewer to have the capacity to inject their own experiences, thoughts and emotions into my art. I want them to fill-in those missing pixels, combine marks, or erase some of what they see in order to relate to my work.
Ultimately, art is a form of communication. Although a driving motive in making my work is enjoying the process of taking photographs, I also want to say something to the person who spends time viewing my finished pieces. My goal is to incite appreciation of what humans have done or are doing in this world. I want to awake in the viewer that part of us that experiences life beyond language and visual cues to see what emotions, memories and sensations emerge.