First Friday Santa Cruz



Donna Maurillo

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After my very first college photo instructor told me I'd never be any good, I asked him to hold my beer. I moved to California, majored in photography, and graduated with honors. Never tell a determined woman that she can't do something. After graduation, and with kids to feed, I built a career in PR and corporate communications. Now it's time for me. I'm taking up my camera again and getting more serious about it.

That means I'm indulging in my long-neglected discussions about art -- what makes a good photo, whether it needs to tell a story, if image manipulation can go too far, whether it's kosher to drop in elements that aren't in the original scene, whether everyone with an iPhone can turn out meaningful art, whether it's OK to use Photoshop to amp up an image, what effect lighting and color can have on the message... and does an image always need a message?

All the fun stuff. All the stuff that can drive an artist to drink. All the stuff that leads to self-doubt, raging confidence, and back to self-doubt. Is each image created just for me? Or is it created for someone else? Should we create art to sell, keeping potential buyers in mind? Or should we just go with it, and like Vincent, never sell anything in our lifetimes... only to have others make a fortune on our work after we're gone?

Of course, I hope people like my art. And I hope they buy it. (The romantic image of the "starving artist" really isn't so romantic.) So, I put myself out there, like a performer on a stage, hoping that my best work affects others in a visceral and positive way. And maybe they'll even catch some of the hidden messages in each image.

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