Dorothy Freudenberg is a photographer who has augmented traditional photography by embracing new digital technologies, producing works that are, in a sense, multimedia. By combining photography with the vast capabilities of a digital darkroom, working in programs that allow her to build multi-layered pieces, she transforms what were realistic photographic renditions into expressions of internal emotional conditions or fanciful landscapes with brilliantly colored, painterly qualities. Years of study in black and white photography have expanded into a new art form, one with an astonishing range of tools that leave room for an unlimited range of possibilities, challenging her to engage continually in experimenting and expanding her expressive capabilities.
Eastlake Framing: How did you get into photography and multimedia? How has your work changed over time?
Dorothy Freudenberg: I became enamored of photography back in the 1970s, and spent many hours in the chemical darkroom, mostly black and white–it was just something I’d done for many years. So when computers became available, I couldn’t resist playing with the new possibilities. I started scanning old black and white photos into what I call a “digital darkroom.” I no longer looked at things the way they were and how I had photographed them. And, as time went on, I went from very simple changes to more layered and altered constructions.
EF: What inspires you in your art?
DF: The ability to create something that can’t be seen, or to work with something that is seen but not noticed. To find beauty in the things all around me, from a petal on a flower to metal in a junkyard, and being able to transform them into things that are totally different from how they first appeared in a ‘straight’ photograph.
EF: What is your favorite piece of art that you have produced?
DF: I don’t have a favorite, but a couple highlights that will be on display at the Artist Spotlight Event are “Poppies Waking from a Dream” and “Eloquence of Spirit.” I’m also very excited about new work I’m currently doing which is probably more abstract and challenging for the viewer and for me too as far as producing it.
EF: How did you end up in Central Oregon?
DF: I had been teaching in a very rural area in northern California. After four years in this very beautiful but remote place, I needed a change. Because my brother already lived here, I had visited several times and was determined that I could do more than visit. 20 years later I’m still here.
EF: Do you have a favorite place to photograph?
DF: No, I do not. However, I love traveling up to Portland and to other places in Oregon and taking photos of the outdoors. I don’t use them in my art necessarily–it’s just inspiring in and of itself. But if you put me down in the southwest or another dramatic part of the country, I’d be just as excited. Or even a junkyard!
EF: What is the most challenging part about what you do?
DF: Fine-tuning a piece can be very challenging sometimes, because you have an initial idea that’s maybe 90 percent there, and the last 10 percent can be difficult. Also, getting the print to reflect what I see on the screen. Everything looks brilliant and beautiful on the screen but getting that across in a print can be a challenging process.
EF: What is your relationship with Deb and Eastlake Framing?
DF: I first became acquainted with Eastlake when I submitted piece for a photo auction and later another one to the art and wine auction for the Deschutes Children’s Foundation. I became impressed with how integral and how important framing was in presenting one’s work, and I was always amazed and delighted with the great job Eastlake did with my pieces.
EF: What are your future plans with your art?
DF: I think just to keep exploring. This is such a new medium. It can be so many things and go in so many directions. Each one of us is making this up as we go along. In what I have left in my lifetime I couldn’t begin to explore the myriad possibilities. I’m also beginning to explore and consider new print mediums such as printing on metal and presenting work in different ways.
I want to add that I have been grateful, gratified, and exhilarated at the public’s ability to respond to this very new art form. When I first started, I had no idea how this would be received, so I have been very delighted at how accepting people have been of this new medium.
EF: What is it like to be doing something that no one has really done before?
DF: My main influences come from photography, as I have I studied that for many years. However, as far as digital media, I have not formally studied it. As a result, I have actually developed my own way of seeing, constructing, and presenting my work. It’s very exciting and very stimulating. I never actually took the time to look at what others were doing. Instead, I’ve been able to marry my love of painting and photography, and that in itself is very exciting because nobody can tell me what to do or how I should go about it!
Thanks for sharing your art with us Dorothy!
Get to know Dorothy and view her work at our next Artist Spotlight Event, Friday, October 10, from 5-8 pm. Eastlake Framing is located at 1355 Galveston Avenue in Bend, Oregon. Subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss other great features on local artists and shows!