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Digital Artistry At It’s Best

Dan Wampler is a well-know digital artist based in St. Louis, specialized in infrared and enhanced natural color digital images. Interestingly he has been photographing the Cotton Belt Rail Depot downtown for the past few years now. He also does modeling portraits and digital re-mastering. He is the founder of Dan Wampler Photography.

Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.

Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself.

I am Digital Artist living in St. Louis , MO.  I took my first photograph at about nine years with my fathers’ Zenobia 120 and have been hooked since.

What is digital artist and how it’s different from Photography?

Photography is capturing reality. As a digital artist I am not bound by the laws of reality. I can take an image and manipulate it into whatever I choose. I find this aspect to quite exciting.

So how did you get into the world of digital art?

I was always interested in photography, but wanted to change things in my photographs. I guess I would have been a painter had I the skill. Once I was able to open my first image in Photoshop and manipulate it the way I wanted I knew I had found my art form. In 2004 I became deeply interested in Infrared photography. IR photography captures images using part of the light spectrum that we cannot see, producing amazingly stunning pieces.

Talk to us about your works on Cotton Belt Rail Depot.

The Cotton Belt Rail Depot is an abandoned  structure in Downtown St. Louis that was built in 1913 and has been vacant for decades.  I’ve always been interested in  ancient “ruins”. Being that the US is such a young country, we do not have ancient ruins per se. Old abandoned buildings are the closest we come. I have image captured several that no longer exist; most recently I had the opportunity to walk through and shoot the Powell Square building in downtown St Louis while it was being demolished.

Any upcoming projects or initiatives you would like to discuss?

I am working towards acquiring funding for a project called the Maldives Expedition.  The Maldives are a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean that are literally disappearing. My plan is to photograph the Islands in Natural color, Infrared and HDR. The works will then be put together in a book and Gallery show, with partial proceeds going to charities that will help save the Maldives.

What would you consider as your one best achievement thus far?

As an artist I have had several shows of my works, and contributed images to a free iTunes App about the beautiful Island of Isla Mujeres, called “Isla at your fingertips“.

Do you also teach?

I do teach. I take the approach that it is not the equipment, but the way a person sees that makes the difference. I can help someone become a better photographer even if all they shoot with is a cell phone. The art of photography and image capture should be enjoyable, but people often get caught up in the technical concerns.

What are your leisure time activities?

I have a wife and two chocolate labs that I spend the majority of my leisure time with. I love to travel, partially because of the photo opportunities. I truly enjoy capturing images. A digital artist is not what I do, it is who I am.

For more details visit www.danwampler.com and facebook page.

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