Getting to Know Lynn Palmer

Lynn Palmer

Music chosen by Lynn

I lived in Costa Rica for eight wonderful years, developing a love for Latin music and food. While there I started a graphic arts business that produced digital prints and signs for local businesses.

What’s your background?

I’ve had a camera in my hand since the age of seven but my interest in photography as an art started when I received my first professional film SLR, a Nikon F2 Photomic for my 16th birthday. The next year I entered the Architecture program at the University of Florida where I was fortunate enough to take two classes in Art Photography taught by Jerry Eulsmann. Over an eight month period he drilled us with the technical skills I still use today as well as teaching framing, placement of subjects, and the intangible elements that differentiate between a technically good and an artistically great image. I would go out and shoot 2 or 3 rolls of film several times a week then process and print the film the following day for class. In the second class, Uelsmann who is known for his advanced photomontage techniques, taught us how he accomplished them in the dark room because at that time PhotoShop didn’t exist. The biggest take-aways for me were the importance of light and shadows in a good image and that every image should contain the full range of colors from white to black even if only a speck of white or black exists in it.

After graduation I began my career in construction and design but maintained a color darkroom in my home for years so I could continue my photography. Unfortunately life got in the way and I set my camera aside for a number of years. Not long ago I returned to the university for additional graduate work and took the opportunity to take digital photography classes. I bought my first digital DSLR and since have been developing new skills and posting images online to see what is most liked.

Agave Burst

Does your artwork come from that background?

In short, yes. Because of my extensive training with a manual SLR, I found the transition to digital photography very easy. I still gravitate to the same subjects, focusing on architecture, landscape and nature. I especially enjoy night photography where it’s all about the light and shadows.

What are you trying to say with your work?

I look for the beauty in the world, not just the spectacular that everyone shoots but also the out-of-the-way spots and quiet moments that are easily overlooked. I also seek the beauty in everyday objects. You’ll note I have very few people in my shots, I want the places they live to speak for them. Fifty or one hundred years from now I would hope someone reviewing the body of my work would gain a greater understanding of life as we know it.

What made you choose the medium you work with?

My mother was an accomplished artist so I grew up with a studio in the home, attending art classes and had the opportunity to experiment with different media. But for whatever reason, photography became my passion. I think mostly because I like traveling and hiking, but also perhaps because I could make it my own. It was a creative outlet that did not put me in competition with my mother.

Alter Boys

Do you work in a studio?

For the most part I don’t work in a studio. In the past I have but now I just have a separate room at home set up with a desk, photo printer, equipment storage, a table for photographing smaller items plus free space I can adapt as needed. It’s not very organized so no photos!

What is the one thing in your ‘studio’ you just could not be without?

My full-frame camera with one or two lenses plus my computer for photo editing; compact and portable. Everything else is optional.

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Who are your biggest influences?

My black and white work is strongly influenced by the modernist/post modernist movement; Cartier-Bresson, Stieglitz, Weston, Atget, Strand, to name a few. I also love mid-century modern architecture and design which also influences my work. Among my contemporaries on Pixels I consider Phillip Johnson’s and Peter Hill’s landscape works from Down Under as something to aspire to, while Cynthia Decker’s work is both imaginative and at times whimsical. I especially like her work that incorporates 3D modeling and compositing. Overall though, Jerry Uelsman tutelage early in my career probably had the greatest influence on my work.

Daylight Glimmer

What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?

This is a difficult question for me as I focus on several types of photography based on where I live and my travels so my favorites change quite often. I consider my photo of an agave plant to be my equivalent of the Pepper No.35 image by Weston. For landscape/seascapes I took a shot in the Florida keys of a solitary mangrove with a shelf cloud rolling across the ocean that has also remained a favorite for several years. There are also a couple images from my film days that would be in contention but aren’t posted online to share.

When I was younger I loved sailing and scuba diving. Life would be perfect now if I could do both now.

How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?

Photography is quite different from painting or sculpting. If you only consider the time to process the image, I can complete a single straight photography image within an hour or less. My multi-shot panoramas and creative images take much longer. However, photography is also the act of selecting a location and time, traveling to a locale frequently several hours away and then spending several hours shooting. I have favorite places I return to repeatedly in the quest for the perfect shot. My favorite times are before sunrise, as the sun rises, and at the end of the day during sunset, the blue hour and anytime after dark. There are places I’ve visited 5 or 6 times during the course of the year trying to get just the right shot. If you add in the preparation, travel, shooting and processing, the time to complete an image can be quite lengthy. I’m currently working on composite images that are taking months since I’m working on them sporadically as my day job permits.

Music chosen by Lynn

How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
Because I work in photography I’ve never struggled with “finished”. I work on a piece until I feel I’ve achieved my goal and it’s done. However as my skill sets improve I’ve gone back months or even years later and reprocessed from the original raw file and either improved on the image or achieved a radically different image.

Dudley 1

What project are you working on now?

In the past year I’ve quit posting new work. I want to move in new directions, so I’m experimenting with photography-based compositing and 3D modeling. When I have cohesive body of work that I feel represents what I want to produce, I’ll begin posting again.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

I’ve received a couple pearls of wisdom from mentors and fellow artists. First, do it because you love it but keep your day job. And second, don’t undervalue your work.

I’ve received a couple pearls of wisdom from mentors and fellow artists. First, do it because you love it but keep your day job. And second, don’t undervalue your work. - Lynn Palmer Click To Tweet

What was the first piece of art you sold?

Surprisingly it wasn’t a photograph. The first piece I can remember selling was a large hand-painted mural used for the facade of a cutlery shop in large shopping mall. I also completed several permanent display boards and window displays for the same client. It was a summer job while I was attending the University of Florida.

Do you find it hard to navigate the artworld?

I do find it a bit difficult. It feels as if I have to constantly choose between marketing and creating my work because there just isn’t enough time for both. Also, the POD sites tend to look at the artists as a commodity. If they triple the number of members they triple their sales, it’s simple and requires very little effort. The truth is most artists don’t figure out how to navigate the online sites immediately. By the time they do, the site’s algorithms will already be pushing the artists’ work to the back of the searches where it’s nearly impossible to ever improve. The only hope is to market outside the sites and bring your own customers to your site.

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Fort Lauderdale Pano

What are you personally doing to advance your work career?

The honest truth is I don’t do enough to market my work. I create and post to one of three sites, a personal website, Pixels and Alamy for stock images. I find online marketing to be difficult at best. I have social media sites but I don’t use them effectively to market my work.

How do you price your work and why do you price it that way?

Initially I reviewed pricing by a number of other artists who sell frequently, then threw out the outliers with extremely high or low pricing, I then found the average pricing for the remaining artists. I used this average as a guide to set my pricing. I don’t believe in discount pricing, the buyer either likes my art enough to buy it or he doesn’t. As long as I’m reasonably priced I don’t believe dropping the price will significantly improved sales.

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

I know some say social networking is excellent for marketing, but I use it mainly as a way to connect with fellow artists.
Wordpress Blog:
Twitter: Lynn PalmerRestlessLight

Jaguar 1

Is there anything that really annoys you about the artworld?

No, not really. Perhaps if I relied on art for full-time support I’d find more to complain about. In terms of photography I’m highly annoyed by the amount of image theft online. Website do little to protect their members and Google posts overly large thumbnails. As a result infringements are common and pursuing the thieves is a difficult process. I believe artists should register their work before posting and establishment of a small claims court for infringement cases is urgently needed.

I recently bought two drones, a P4Pro and a Spark and I hope I will find flying them easy and fun. I’m developing a business plan based on drones that will allow me to semi-retire.

What advice would you give new artists?

Do your art because you enjoy it, not for quick monetary returns. Also plan on investing a great deal of thought and time to develop your brand.

Music chosen by Lynn

Have you got hobbies?

Photography, bike riding, hiking, and travel.

Tequila Vats 1

Where are you based?

Currently I’m living in Delray Beach, just a little north of Fort Lauderdale on Florida’s East coast, but I travel around the state often for work and pleasure so my photography is informed by both urban and rural influences from around the state.

Lynn Palmer
Alamy: Stock photography by VL Palmer at Alamy

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Isabella F A Shores
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Isabella F A Shores

Founder /Artist at YoursByShores
Hello, my name is Isabella Shores.I'm a dog lover with two Alsatians.A bird lover...2 budgies, and an avid writer.

I live in Manchester, UK and try to promote other artists and writers when I can.I'm so pleased you found our community and I hope to chat to you soon!!Please comment on my posts if you like them 🙂
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