Saturday, June 15, 2019
A Digital Panorama of Paradise
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Anne Jeffery will take part in the Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival fresh off the Sharps Fire where she spent a week serving as a fire information officer. PHOTO: Karen Bossick
 
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Anne Jeffery strips away the background from a butterfly she photographed in a friend’s garden.

Thirty layers later, when she has it the way she wants it, she adds a creek, branches and flowers—all of which she manipulates in the same fashion on the computer in her Bellevue home.

When she is done, she has created a high-tech slice of paradise—a fantastical botanical garden on canvas.

 
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Iris Montage.
 

Jeffery’s colorful and somewhat fantastical photomontages—some of them in the shape of an orb—will be among the creative works of art that will be shown at the 50th annual Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival Friday through Sunday—Aug. 10-12—at Ketchum’s Atkinson Park.

Jeffery will be among one of four Wood River Valley artists who will join nearly 130 other artists in the festival, which is ranked among the top 100 fine art festivals in the United States by Art Fair SourceBook.

The other three are Melissa Graves-Brown, with her unique splatter landscapes, Margery Friedlander with her monotypes and Sally Metcalf, who creates necklaces that are as much art as jewelry.

 “It’s exciting to be in such a prestigious show. I feel so honored to be a part of it,” Jeffery said.

 
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Anne Jeffery is having Buff’s neck gators made using a modified version of this “Painted Irises” image.
 

Jeffery became fascinated with photography at an early age when she was handed a Kodak Brownie camera and told to go take pictures. She went on to study photography at Brooks Institute of Photography and later worked as an assistant for Ansel Adams at one of his Yosemite workshops.

She put her creative yearnings on hold as she made a career out of shooting photographs of wildfires for what was then the Boise interagency Fire Center and then working in public affairs for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

But her passion reignited when she retired to the Wood River Valley, training her lenses on winter landscapes and sheep.

Soon, she became discontented with simply taking a photograph of the landscape, no matter how creative she angled her shot.

 
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"Blossoms" photomontage.
 

“Think how many great landscape photographers there are in this valley. I don’t want to have to sleep on the ground in a tent, getting up up at 5 in the morning hoping to get the perfect shot only to find that clouds have settled in."

Jeffery began manipulating her photographs via computer. She created long rectangular skyscapes. And she experimented with sepia-toned montages featuring birds, butterflies and feathers.

Recently, she found inspiration in the work of Ysabel LeMay, a Quebec, Canada, artist now living in Austin, Texas, who uses digital technology to compose what she calls hypercollages of flowers, birds, berries and feathers.

Jeffery took a five-day Santa Fe Photographic Workshop from LeMay, in which she learned to transform digital photos into montages inspired by the Old Masters of Dutch painting. And she began developing her own unique style as she filled orb photomontages with hummingbirds, dragonflies and ferns she photographed during a recent trip to Tasmania.

 
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Fern collage.
 

“It gives me a chance to be creative, instead of wandering around looking for the perfect shot,” she said.

Jeffery started small, working 10 layers for each of the objects in her photomontages

“My more recent montages involve between 60 and a hundred layers,” said Jeffery, whose work has appeared in such publications as the Sierra Club Wilderness calendar, Eddie Bauer catalogs and “New Mexico” magazine.

Jeffery starts with an idea. Then she extracts a flower—perhaps, a rose--from the background of her photograph in a four-step process.

She manipulates the color, saturation, hue and brightness. Then she tries different colors, perhaps coloring the rose green, just to see if it adds an air of mystery to her photomontage.

She may add texture to a flower by putting a photograph she’s taken of sand or a granite rock behind it.

“It’s very faint but it gives it more life,” she said.  “Sometimes you have a flower and it’s a little dull looking so you need to do something to it. I’m like a little kid. I’ll try something and I won’t like it. So I’ll try something else until I find something I do like.”

Sometimes she plays around with geometric patterns. Other times she builds her version of a terrarium.

She built one montage by laying a branch across the backdrop of water drops from a backlit shower glass.  A click of the mouse and she added a rose to the branch. Several more clicks and a chrysanthemum, daffodil,  poppy, lily, and apple blossom joined that rose on the branch.

It doesn’t matter that they don’t appear that way in nature. This is a fantasy of what could be.

In one instance Jeffery started out with a photograph of fall aspen leaves, only later realizing she had surrounded them with flowers that bloom in spring.

“Then I thought,’ Well maybe I’ll have spring at the bottom, summer in the middle and fall on top,’ ” she said, showing the finished montage.

Jeffery has photographed a vast inventory of wildflowers, ornamental trees, birds and other images with her Nikon D810 camera. And on occasion she’s even plucked a few irises from a friend’s garden, taking them home to photograph them against a white cardboard backdrop set up on the kitchen table.

“Every time I see something different, I take it,” she said. “I may have no idea what it is, but it may capture a viewer’s attention because it is so unusual.”

 

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