Art Attack - Andrew Pinkham

Andrew Pinkham
Art Attack - Andrew Pinkham

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In a word, Andrew Pinkham’s work is trippy. It’s posi¬tively immobilizing, evoking questions like: Is this real, a painting or a photo? What the heck am I looking at? Upon closer inspection, you convince yourself it’s a photo, but probably feel uncertain at your conclusion because Pinkham blurs the lines of nineteenth-century portraiture with modern digital photography so well. If you broach this with Pinkham, he’ll modestly laugh and say that’s exactly the kind of response he’s looking for, that “challenging our beliefs of what is authentic and his¬torical is 100 percent deliberate.”

Pinkham’s first dog portrait was of his beloved Greyhound, Suki. When he started showing local dog-park acquaintances Suki’s photos, portrait commis¬sions started coming in. Now, just three years later, his portraits have been honoured with an exhibit at Philadelphia’s airport, an accolade reserved for established artists.

Because he has worked as a “straight-up” photographer for over 20 years, Pinkham knows what it takes to deliver a great photo and understands which idea will set his work apart from the competi¬tion. There’s an undeniable stillness and feeling of heroism in each Pinkham portrait. This stems from the idea that our pets are heroes— larger than life—and Pinkham believes that’s how they should be captured. He achieves this through angles, lighting, and digital darkroom effects. Each portrait is a unique marriage of background, extraneous elements, and studio-shot layers, not necessarily shot on the same day.

Like famed photographer Ansel Adams, Pinkham pre-visualizes his photos. He says the finished photo, “isn’t always exactly what I’m looking at.” He also admits to being inspired by where he lived as a child. Pinkham grew up in a small rural town and says, “There’s no getting away from it, the back¬grounds in my photos are reminiscent of where I grew up.”

Pinkham was first attracted to photography when he took a stop-motion class as a youth. There, he learned the basics of composition and special effects. His parents bought him a camera as a graduation present and he never looked back. “I started taking pictures of everything, but always longed for more than what I could do with a straight photograph.” With the digital revolution of photography, Pinkham’s photographic longings were answered.

Commissions begin at $850. He donates 20 percent of each pet com¬mission to charity. Visit andrewpinkham.com for more information.

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