Local Artist: Journey with Cameras

Cameras are everywhere these days. For most of us, our smartphone has become our de facto first (and only) choice for taking photos. But if you ask locally celebrated photographer William Wetmore, photography is much more than a cell phone camera. “Smartphones bring photography into every moment of life, but dedicated cameras still have an important role.”

Wetmore knows what he’s talking about and can speak megapixels, ISO, lens aberration and other camera tech until your head spins, but his photographic art comes down to using the right camera to tell the story. “In the early 1990s I started experimenting with digital photography but the resolution of the early cameras was so low that everything seemed flat and lifeless,” remarked Wetmore, “It was only a dozen or so years ago, with the advent of HDR, that digital got interesting again.” HDR, or high dynamic range, is a technique used to capture a large range of light in one photo. “Only with HDR and technological advances in capture sensors have digital cameras gotten to the point where the depth and dynamic range are on par with film.”

Over Miami  in a vintage plane once piloted by his father

Over Miami in a vintage plane once piloted by his father

One would expect that an artist like William Wetmore would find a place to share his photographic passion with others. Enter Pittman Photo Supply. Located at 13911 S. Dixie Hwy., Pittman is a photography superstore with a staff and patronage who are fanatical about their art. Wetmore adds, “I have friends both behind the counter and in front. Pittman is great!”

Each month, the store highlights one of their customers’ works in their gallery room. Wetmore’s art, appropriately titled ‘Journey with Cameras’ was displayed this September to rave reviews. ‘Spectacular’, ‘unique’ and ‘incredible’ were all written in his gallery guest book. Almost as important as the photos chosen for the event, Wetmore carefully posted the type of camera, film stock and/or settings used to capture each image.”

Display contains just some of the tools of the trade.  Miami Morning  photo above.

Display contains just some of the tools of the trade. Miami Morning photo above.

Wetmore travels South Florida and beyond looking for ways to capture moments in time that spark something in his mind’s eye. “I’ll often ask my wife to double-back on our trips. She just loves that,” he chuckles. Today, Wetmore shoots with both digital and film cameras. He says a photograph is the sum of what you are shooting, how you shoot it and, more importantly, what you shoot with.

“The camera along with either its imager or film stock paints on top of what you see through the viewfinder.” Wetmore relishes the opportunity to experiment with all kinds of film. He’ll even use significantly out-of-date film to see what its imperfections might do to his photo. “When you shoot with film, you remember each click has a cost. I end up thinking a lot more with film than when I can rattle off a dozen free clicks in digital. I tend to get better results with film because of that.”

His work is striking because it has a unique view. William Wetmore has a bright, wry sense of humor that is exposed in his photographs. I tend to enjoy more of Wetmore’s work when the subject is familiar to him. I believe it is because he’s already pictured what he emotion he wants to capture before even traveling to the location.

You can fully explore Wetmore’s works at facebook.com/NjordPhoto where you can message him and see the various places he has his photography for sale.