Mariposa Photo Club Member Spotlight

Please join us in celebrating the amazing individuals at the heart of Mariposa Photo Club.  Learn more about what inspires us as photographers as you get to know our diverse members.

This month meet Denice Woyski. Denice has been an enthusiastic member of the Mariposa Photo Club since 2017. She was the President of the club in 2019; Vice President in 2020; and again the President in 2021. Thank you for your service on the Board!

Let’s learn more about Denice.

How long have you been a photographer?

I’ve had a camera in my hand since I was a young teenager, but I became serious about photography in the 1990s. I photographed with film and worked in the darkroom quite a bit. I had 3 cameras, all of which were hand-me-downs, and when they all quit working, I set out to buy a new film camera. Digital SLRs were very new back then, and I didn’t want one, but Ron decided we should get both a film and digital camera. Looking back, it’s funny how I wouldn’t touch the digital camera for months, but once I decided to give it a try, I haven’t looked back. I miss the traditional dark room, but I do love the digital dark room and the endless opportunities for creativity.

What subjects inspire you?

People and urban settings are my favorite things to photograph, so I guess you could say I am inspired by those the most. I can easily press the shutter hundreds of times while wandering a city. I am very much inspired by people doing people things. I also love juxtaposition and ironic situations.

What camera(s) do you use? 

I photograph with a Canon 5dMkIII and a Canon 1DXMkII. My first hand-me-down cameras were all Minoltas (THE 35mm SLR from the era!), but when replacing them, I did a lot of shopping and research. At the time, Canon cameras were more intuitive to me, and I had a lot of friends photographing with Canon. I made the final decision based on the fact that I could buy used gear from my friends!

Besides your camera, what is your favorite photography tool and why?

Definitely the digital dark room, i.e. Photoshop! Photography is and always has been a 2-step process, capturing the image and processing the image. I enjoy the post-processing as much as photographing. But… (there’s always a but!) I love my neutral density filters too! I love that it feels like I can manipulate time with really long shutter speeds. Instead of capturing an instant in time, long shutter speeds reveal periods of time.

Who or what has influenced your photography the most?

There’s so many, but I’ll only name a few! First, I have to mention Bryan Peterson. From him, I really learned and understood the basics of photography; how to use a camera and all about exposure. But Bryan is a big believer that creativity can be taught (I admit, I was dubious), so in addition to teaching me how to use a camera and properly expose an image, he taught me how to see through the eyes of an artist. And, in no particular order of preference: Elliot Erwitt. I really enjoy his ironic and absurd situations photographs as well as his irreverent sense of humor. Alfred Stieglitz. He created artistic images of NYC and other European cities and people, but he was also instrumental in promoting photography as an art. Vivian Maier. Her street photography and her eye for juxtaposition was phenomenal. I also love that her work was mostly for her until her death. Her images are a treasure trove of people doing people things in the city. My college art history professor. I don’t remember her name, but in her class, I gained a tremendous appreciation for art in all its forms. It was in her class that I specifically studied Pierre-Auguste Renoir. His paintings of people in intimate and candid compositions have been my greatest inspiration to photograph people doing people things.

Is there an element in art or photography that you enjoy working with the most? 

Also, hard to answer because I feel like I really enjoy playing with all of them! But…I do think I have some favorites; symmetry/asymmetry, negative space and visual tension come to mind first but I love patterns and texture too!

What’s your favorite part of the process?

Well, in my film days, definitely the dark room! It’s pretty cliché, but I loved the aromas, working in the dark light, and watching images reveal themselves in the developer. Today though, I think I like the discovery part the best. I like having no plan, walking out my front door and being pleasantly surprised by the photographic opportunities that present themselves.

Here’s a selection of Denice’s photographs:

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