About the Artwork


Photograph by David Starr

My art involves a fusion of painting with traditional photography. I love working in the darkroom, leaving the rest of the world and its frenetic pace outside the door. In that dark, quiet space, everything slows down, the second hand moves and every second of exposure matters.  

After enlarging my black and white images onto a fiber-based paper, with a texture similar to watercolor paper, the images are fixed permanently onto the page. They become a reality to be grappled with, after the photographic image dries and I begin to paint directly onto the surface, infusing it with the colors of my vision. I want to integrate those colors – paints and pencils, feelings and dreams – with what I really see in front of me, to find a way to make it all work together.

With a background in painting and printmaking, I was eventually drawn to photography, and developed a style of combining its literal nature with the expressive colors of my painting. A New York art critic described my painted photographs as a “multi-layered reality, rich in visual appeal and psychological meaning.”

After years of shooting with a manual camera, and being armed with a variety of telephoto and wide angle lenses, I recently started enjoying the simplicity of the plastic Holga camera, and can’t seem to stop. I use the most basic Holga, a camera with a fixed lens and just a few settings, so there is very little to manipulate. It enables me to enjoy the details of using medium format negatives, yet the freedom of considering only composition.  

Whichever camera I use, my artwork can be seen as photography enhanced by painting, or painting using the photograph as departure point, depending on the emphasis of a particular image. Each painted photograph is unique.

A review of an exhibit sponsored by the Contra Costa County Arts & Culture Commission described my artwork as "beautiful and ethereal...One has the sense of simple yet majestic moments, perhaps half real and half dreamlike, that seem to have the power to renew and calm the soul."
What I want is to experience and then share these quiet moments of beauty, so that we can have them whenever we need them the most.

Di Starr