MOPLA: Dan Shepherd

Looking at photographers and exhibitions featured in The Month of Photography in Los Angeles.

Dan Shepherd, as photographer, is a perfect example of someone shooting what they know best. I say, “as photographer”, because Dan is many things–environmentalist, conservation organizer, photographer collector, excellent dresser, enthusiastic supporter of all things photography, a smarty pants, and, yes, a photographer too. And these attributes combine into someone who thinks about the natural world with an informed and unique sensibility, which also comes from spending time in New York City and the Pacific Northwest.

It seems to be the year of the tree, and Dan’s images fit right in with the theme. Two series are featured below, the first, Draw Me A Tree, where Dan asks people to draw a tree that has some significance in their lives and photograph the actual tree with the drawing to explore memory and human connection. My contribution is the large fig tree on the campus of my son’s preschool, another is a tree that marks a pet’s grave, another marks a devastating teenage car crash. The second series, Blinded by Science, looks at the natural world in abstract new ways.

Dan currently lives in Los Angeles, and is opening his first solo show at the f/9 Gallery in Culver City, CA on April 9th. The opening reception is on April 14th from 6-9 pm.

Draw Me A Tree, asks the viewer if we remember when we had a stubby crayon in our hands and happily scrawled out our houses, our cats, a blue sky with the sun up in the corner and a tree in the yard?

One of the few artistic endeavors that we all have in common is drawing a tree and with this ongoing project Dan will explore our connection to nature by asking people to Draw Me a Tree. But not just any tree, Dan is asking people to partner with him and illustrate the trees that have had some impact in their lives and together they visit these special trees and document them through a unique double exposure process.

Draw Me a Tree helps show how intrinsically connected to nature we are through a series of visual tree stories that can be found everywhere in our yards, parks, gardens, forests, and streets.

BLINDED BY SCIENCE
Some say ignorance is bliss. As a former botanical professional, a walk through a garden can be a challenge to just enjoy the colors, shapes and textures when your brain is clouded with lots of scientific plant details. With the ongoing project “Blinded by Science,” I am using the power of abstraction to create images of some of my favorite plants and trees which helps me filter out the science details and lets me focus on the pure beauty of nature.

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