Contemplative Visual Journey
Francetta McCann, OP
I hope to convey a prayerful spirit through nature and the people that I photograph. The wonderful aspect of the art of photography is that the beauty of nature is before us and we must not only find it but compose and communicate it through the lens for others to enjoy and ponder the beauty that touches one’s soul. There is a real sense of communing and interdependence between God, humanity, and the earth, which allows one to visualize the harmony of our world.
Often when photographing I go to a sacred place to ponder, listen to the world around me, pray, and let the image before me become my prayer. That image then is connected to me, and the beauty of God’s earth.
The formats that I use are 35-millimeter, 2 ½ by 2 ½ (medium), and 4x5 (large) in the camera and in the darkroom processing. The subject matter determines the format that I use when photographing.
Most of my work is done in black and white. For some prints I do a solution with selenium toning and other prints I do a selenium and sepia toning of black and white silver gelatin prints, and others I hand color parts of the image using Marshal oils and pencils. This process is what was used before color film was invented.
From the time of photographing, exposing and developing the film, and the process the final print, to me, is breathtaking. To think, pre-visualize, and actually see the final image appear before me is the fine art of photography.
The words of Ansel Adams, who was a pianist, invented the greyscale Zone System. He would compare the white, grey, and black tones in each negative and print to a scale on the piano. In his words:
“The film is the score of the piece of work and the print is the orchestration.”