Today we’d like to introduce you to Cheryl Walsh.
Cheryl, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m an underwater fine art portrait photographer. It’s an odd title, but it’s the only way I can describe what I do without people assuming that I take photos of fish. I’ve been working underwater in a pool for over a decade, and it really suits my personality. Working underwater enables me to be enveloped in the feelings that I’m trying to convey in my work. It’s a quiet, relaxed, weightless, slow-moving world where I want to take my viewers. It is a magical place where I don’t even have to breathe. I print my own photographs from little tiny cards up to 40×60 inch elaborately framed fine art prints and am an advocate and educator for photographers to print their own work as well. While digital photography is a wonderful thing it’s effectively distanced us from the printing experience. Holding a beautifully crafted, fine art print of your own work on a paper of exceptional quality can be life changing. I know it was for me. As photographers, we have gotten away from having an intimate, tactile relationship with our photographs. Viewing images on a low resolution screen is not the same as having a high resolution print. My goal is to encourage and education digital photographers to print their own work. I truly believe it is a worthwhile goal as it helps us become better photographers and raises up our entire profession. We absolutely have the technology in printers, ink and paper but we have been lacking the education to be successful at printing by ourselves. That education is available now, we’ve got it all dialed in so there are no more excuses not to get a perfect print every time.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Underwater photography is a very difficult kind of photography to do so there have been and will always be challenges. It takes a lot of time and effort to put together an underwater photo shoot. I do a lot of planning. But it’s well worth the effort. There was a steep learning curve but I’ve done hundreds of shoots now and have the process all dialed in. My journey to printing my own photographs was much more difficult and fuller of obstacles. I searched for 12 years to find someone to teach me how to create excellent quality prints on an inkjet printer. I finally found a mentor four years ago and have immersed myself in this world ever since. For all those years I was learning, taking classes, investing so much money, and yet my prints always fell short of my expectations. I’m a reasonably intelligent person and know how to follow instructions to the letter but the experience left me feeling like a failure. Once I found my mentor, he taught me the how’s and whys of the right way to print and I have had nothing but success since. I offer my prints on my own website and that is how I sell my work. I can print on demand and know that each print is perfect and was made for the person who bought it.
Cheryl Walsh Fine Art – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
While my artwork looks like paintings, it is entirely photographic. In post-production, I add colors and textures that create an atmosphere around my subject to add depth and dimension. Otherwise much of my work is almost straight out of the camera with color correction, added contrast, and sharpening, while some pieces are composites that have required a considerable amount of time. The reflection on the water’s surface is often the only sure sign that they are underwater. I started creating this work because I was overwhelmed, heartbroken and depressed. My goal was to create art that would at least make other people happy. The world is a hectic, crazy place. My desire is for someone to stand in front of one of my 6-foot tall fine art prints and be taken away to a calm, soothing, surreal world. The themes of strength, grace, beauty, capability, calmness, and relaxation are consistent in my work. I only work with models who I really like. My favorites are women who are artists and just happen to model. They make their own costumes and are the perfect, graceful, beautiful, strong, capable people I need. We collaborate with women who create crowns, corsets, mermaid tails, wings, make up, and couture gowns. Without all these amazingly creative people I couldn’t do what I do. And even if I could, it would feel incredibly hollow. I print my own work myself at sizes up to 40×60 inches. I’ve always wanted to create really large elaborately framed art that feels like old paintings but are actually photographs. In 2019 I had my first solo gallery show and am looking forward to the opportunity to do another one.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I have a Triple Master Distinction in international print competition and am working towards my Grand Master. It’s something that has to be earned with excellent photography and print quality, I’ve worked really hard to improve each year. I’m proud of the art work I’ve created with the wonderful people I’ve created it with and the fine art prints that results from each photo shoot we have done. I’m proud of the positive collaborations I’ve had with other artists in this industry. And I’m proud of my contribution to the education for printing digital photographs. I’m working with ProEdu.com to create online classes in printing and currently working on a website PerfectPrintClub.com that will be full of information on printing.
- Calendars, cards and Fine Art Prints from $30 at www.CherylWalsh.art
- Underwater Private Commission Photo Shoots start at $2000.
- Website: www.CherylWalsh.art
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/cherylwalshfineart
- Facebook: facebook.com/CherylWalshPhoto
- Other: PerfectPrintClub.com