Robert G. Kernodle Talks the Talk with 1stAngel
When did you first become interested in art, in general?
I would say that I NEVER became interested in art. I was driven to it by an intense interest in shapes, patterns, colors, and designs. In one way or another, I have always had this interest, and so, in this, sense, you might say that I have ALWAYS been interested in art.
When did you first become interested in photography, specifically?
For me, photography was an extension of painting, which was an extension of seeing. I became interested in the camera, therefore, after I had drawn and painted for a few years, somewhere around the year, 2002, I believe, when I bought my first real camera.
In what other forms of art do you also work, if any?
Before drawing, painting, and photography, I dabbled in the performing arts, dance, fitness, choreography, and martial arts. When I say “dabbled”, I mean “obsessed”, because my “dabbling” was all consuming for a period of 16 or so years.
On which style(s) of photography do you specialize?
I do not consider myself a specialized photographer. I photograph what interests me, and my interests go through phases. One of my most recent phases has been macrophotography of fluid dynamic patterns in various mixtures, which I label as the art form, “fluidism”.
Has your style changed from when you first began? If so, why?
My photography style, if I have one, is fairly consistent, in terms of the quality I try to produce. The subjects can change, of course, but I try to photograph all subjects with equal attention to quality.
What kind of equipment do you use?
My first camera was a 35mm Cannon Elan film camera, which I have used consistently to produce 35mm color transparencies, with my preferred slide film, Fuji Provia 100. In the past year or so, I have been tweaking scanned slides taken with this camera, using an old Dell computer with GIMP photo software, which, of course, is free opensource software that anybody with the patience to use can download from the internet. All this, of course, is sort of make-do, compared with the higher-end possibilities used by people who can afford to buy them. I am a dinosaur compared to such people, but I still find my primitive equipment and methods fulfilling.
What made you choose that equipment?
At the time, I used my best informed judgements, based on reading and discussions. There were also issues of cost and chance. I chose the best I could afford at the time, and I used what came my way by chance.
Are you a specialist photographer?
I am a curious amateur non-specialist, who sometimes gets intesely focused on a particular subject, to the point that it drives me insane to capture some remarkable aspect of that subject.
Do you have favourite times of the days to take shots in?
The traditional best times of day, when the sun is out, of course, are early mornings and later-day hours, which I abide by when shooting outdoors. But for my closeup photography of fluid dynamic patterns, I have always preferred mid-day direct sun as a natural source of illumination, to bring out the most intense colors and reflections in my fluid media.
Are you a patient photographer, waiting for the right moment, or do you tend to just shoot and hope for the best?
I am attuned to light, and so when I see consistent patterns of light, I try to remember the times of day, and come back to set up around this exact time on another similar day, in order to capture some appearance that I find particularly appealing. I would say that I am an OBSERVANT photographer, always on the lookout for potentially interesting setups. I suppose this requires a sort of patience, so I would have to answer, “yes”, to your question. I rarely “just shoot and hope for the best”. I observe, study, and watch for rhythms in which I might find myself captured with my camera at outstanding peak moments.
Tell us about one of the longest shoots you had?
By “longest shoots”, I suppose I can count the idea of a “series”, which would encompass my “fluidism” series of fluid dynamic patterns in real liquid mixtures of water, oil, acrylic paints, glycerin, egg whites, oil paints, and other substances. I shot over a thousand slides of such mixtures, over the course of several years. This required sheer persistence, as well as patience. I was willing to do this, because I had no choice – I was driven by unrelenting curiousity and fascination surrounding what I was seeing.
How often do you go out just to photograph or, do you have your camera ready at all times, even shopping?
Honestly, lately I do not go out very often – I spend time digitally transforming previously taken photographs into new derivations of my own materials, sometimes combined with materials of others in the public domain. I have become somewhat of a transformative artist in the past year.
Do you edit in Photoshop or another programme?
I would LIKE to edit in Photoshop, but I edit in GIMP. I outsource the digitalization of my slides to someone else, however
How much time (on average) does it take to edit a work?
There is NO average for me. Editing takes whatever time it takes, depending on the project. This can range from hours to days. Tweaking a photograph for best appearance is totally different from transforming a photograph into a new derivative work.
How do you know when a piece is finished? Is it easy to walk away?
What I do know is that a piece is really NEVER finished. I just know when I have done all that I can do to perfect it, and then I can do no more. This point is usually reached when further changes start to ruin the piece. When the first change ruins a piece, then back up, and the finish is the place before this step that ruined it. Making art is never easy.
What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
I use a serrated blade to saw the block in half, and then walk through the space between the two halves. Oh, you mean a CREATIVE BLOCK. I never have creative blocks, because I do not TRY to create; I just create, when circumstances dictate. When circumstances do not dictate, then I consider this downtime between performance peaks, and I really do not worry about it.
How well do you take criticism and how do you make use of it?
Like everyone, I take criticism personally, but if I ask for it, then I take it quietly, and I use what of it I can, throwing the rest to the wind.
Who is your favourite photographer?
Here, I am afraid I have to be boringly predictable and say Ansel Adams.
Which one of your photographs is your favourite?
I have DIFFERENT favorites – my favorite fluidism photograph, my favorite nature photograph, my favorite pet photograph. Asking me for ONE favorite is like asking me which food do I like the best. I cannot answer this question, because it does not allow for the reality of diversity that operates in our lives, where we have different CATEGORIES of appeal.
Have you exhibited any of your work in galleries?
I have exhibited my paintings in galleries, but I have not yet exhibited my photographs in galleries.
Honestly, I tend to steer clear of both contests and galleries these days.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to live as healthy a lifestyle as I can, to walk and stretch each day, to observe and appreciate the beauty around me, and, when I can, maybe record a little of this for future eyes to contemplate in moments of quiet reflection.
What advice do you have for budding photographers?
Photograph what interests you, and then figure out how to photograph it better.
Have you done any courses to help you?
Life itself is my best course so far.
What do you do to market your work?
Too little, I am afraid, and this is my own constructive criticism of myself. I, thus, should listen to myself on this very important point, and get to work.
Do you enter your work in contests?
I do not have a favorable view of contests. Consequently, I do not enter them, as a rule.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
I have a Facebook page, and that’s about it, unless you count my participation in FineArtAmerica.com discussion forums. I also write at Hubpages.com, where I have 80 official followers at last count. I am not very active on Facebook. I am more active at the Hubpages site, where my address is
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Artists of any kind are always available for work.
Have you got hobbies?
I have habits, and some of these habits might be described as “hobbies”. For example, I exercise everyday without exception. I read about climate science regularly.
Where are you based?
I live in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, but I am based on a natural curiosity about many things around me.
© 2013, Isabella Francesca Abigail Shores. All rights reserved.