About Howard Snyder
Originally from Mexico City, Howard Snyder has lived and studied in the USA, Mexico, Spain and Germany. Since 1999 Howard Snyder has resided in the United States; first in Chicago, IL and for the past 8 years in Seattle, WA.
Snyder’s background is in visual communication and graphic design and has always expressed himself mostly through visual media; whether drawing, sketching or painting. Snyder began making photographs in 1994 as part of college curriculum. Over time and almost subconsciously his photography evolved from academic assignments and documentation to artistic expression. “In 1996 I struggled with the decision to whether become a professional photographer or pursue a career in graphic design. I chose the later.”
While Howard Snyder has a basic photography education it has been through "on-the field" experimentation and practice that he has begun to discover his own voice and develop a visual language. In a sense, making photographs has now become a window that enables him to explore many moments and discover patterns in the world that normally fade into memory after the initial experience.
Not being one to be interested in taking snapshots or use photography as a documentary tool, it has become paramount for the development of Howard Snyder’s photography to learn to recognize moments and patterns through the lens and therefore being able to produce images that are compelling to the mind and pleasing to the eye.
Howard Snyder’s work has been featured in Photography Week magazine and hosted his first solo show at the Seattle Creative Arts Center during March 2013 with several others coming up later in 2013.
Thank you for taking an interest in my photographic work. My intention is to share with you the way I see our vast landscapes and share my deep passion for the outdoors.
These photographs are a glimpse into my feelings while witnessing a particular place during a specific time. Some of these places I have very deep connections while others are the result of chance encounters that are not planned but truly welcome.
Part of my working process is to intentionally “get lost” in a pre determined area of our National Parks or surrounding areas and be open to be caught “off guard” by nature’s beauty.
For most of my images I strive to show the scene the way I saw it in my mind's eye at the time it happened and utilize the available technology to help me achieve that vision. My intention is to go beyond hyperrealism. It is to convey through a specific color palette, tonal contrast, sharpness, composition, etcetera, what the actual experience of observing was.
My workflow is entirely digital and I fully embrace the medium. I have many years experience working in a traditional film/darkroom setting but ever since moving to a fully digital workflow is that I was fully able to realize what I saw in my mind’s eye.
There is a constant debate regarding the use of Photoshop and other digital darkroom techniques amongst photography purists: Some are totally against any manipulation of images and others have more open views.
I don’t particularly care (or pay attention) to the debate. As a visual artist, my highest desire is to evoke an emotional response in the viewer in the same way that standing in front of a beautiful sunrise or sunset does for me. In order to achieve this transference of emotions, I make use of all the tools and techniques at my disposal.
But it all begins with having a perfect on camera technique and above all, a strong desire to be open to see what’s available. At the end of the day, no matter how much Photoshop goes into an image: Photoshop will never be able to fix a poor composition, an out of focus image or transform a photograph made in the middle of the day into a beautiful sunset.
It is important to note that while many times I will make use of blending many exposures to capture the dynamic range of a particular photograph, I never add, superimpose or alter what’s naturally there.
I use a Canon DSLR and Canon professional lenses for the creation of my work. I do all my post processing using Adobe Photoshop as well as Adobe Lightroom and the goal is to create digital master files to be printed as large as 20x30 or larger prints with the best image quality and sharpness available.
Other tools that may be used in the creation of my work are neutral density filters, a circular polarizer and of course a tripod, which is always along for the ride since I am very interested in capturing very sharp photographs and most of the time this happens on low light conditions or for exposures that require a very long shutter speed.
Given that my main interest is landscapes and travel photography, I like to travel lightly and only bring along a camera body, 2 lenses and a tripod secured in a backpack allowing me the freedom to hike and explore more remote areas that are not accessible by car. For all my photography I use natural lighting as much as possible, and the more dramatic or unique the light the better.