A Winter's Meditation
by Emile (Doctor T) Tobenfeld
About the Book
The book "A Winter's Meditation" is a companion piece for my video installation of the same title. The source material for each piece is photographs of snow and ice, most of which were taken in Eastern Massachusetts during the winter of 2007 - 8.
If you purchase the book,, you can obtain a free DVD of the video piece by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My photography has been heavily influenced by music, more as process than as form. I don't think about musical form when I make images, but I nearly always apply musical processes and concepts in my work. I often think of my photographic process as a metaphorical kind of visual jazz. The cameras and lenses are my instruments, and the scenes that I am photographing are the structure on which the improvisation is based.
All of the images in the book appear both in their original form, and as variations created by processing the originals using Photoshop. There is, again, a musical analogy, as each original image acts as the theme of a composition, and the processed images are variations on this theme. I tend to work quickly and intuitively, trying to make the process like a real-time improvisation in which the musicians need to react quickly to the changing possibilities of the piece.
My photography is also very influenced by the work of Minor White, who was a master at making the ordinary seem magical. I carry a camera with me most of the time, and am always looking for combinations of light, framing, and subject that allow me to create images which express something beyond the ordinary meaning of the subject.
Minor White referred to this as photographing "Things for what else they are", and this phrase runs through my head like a mantra while I am shooting.
Doctor T (Emile S. Tobenfeld, Ph. D) has been photographing since he was a teenager. He became serious about the art-form in 1970 (shortly after completion of his doctorate in Physics). He was inspired by the mixture of abstraction and realism in the light shows and experimental films of that era, and his initial intent was to work primarily with processed and multiple imagery. He quickly realized that 'straight' photography can also mix abstraction and realism, and has been a devotee of both straight and manipulated photography ever since.. He is self-taught as a photographer, and counts Minor White as a huge influence on his 'straight' photography. He has also worked in video, mixed media improvisation, electronic music, and dance. His day job for the past 28 years has involved making tools for digital artists, first as the founder of Dr. T's Music Software, and currently as a video effects programmer and software designer for Boris FX.