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January-February 2011

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Mike Woodward (b. 1951): Artistic California Photographer of Minerals and Fossils

Anyone attending the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (the “Main Show” at the Convention Center) can see Mike Woodward's booth from a distance: the photographs are presented as fine art paintings, hung far above the crowd in his booth. These dynamic images are done via photomacrography. Woodward states that he uses a “technical copy setup with cross-polarized Altman CDM 150 (ceramic metal halide) lighting, a 4 × 5-style camera set up vertically like an enlarger would be, with a polarized macro lens. The capture of the image is a digital scan back that does a 60-second, 103-megapixel scan, directly to the computer. After the image is captured, it is processed for traditional photographic prints, or the image can be printed on canvas, gallery wrapped, and stretched. Most viewers have the perception of the images being a painting when printed on canvas. This blurs the line between photography and painting, especially with abstract art from stones, because the image is not recognized as a photo.” In fact, one of his photos of an Oregon thunder egg was used as an abstract art painting for an episode of the television show Weeds.

Susan Robinson is a freelance artist specializing in painting mineral and gem specimens as well as birds and wildlife.

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