About the Artist
The evolution of Rod Millar's photography and digital art...
It was in the 1980’s that I discovered the pictoral splendor of Southern Utah. I photographed the wonders of the canyon country with conventional format cameras and failed to capture the totality of what I saw. I was missing something. I realized that it took a panoramic view to capture the beauty I saw. My first panoramas were made by gluing together consecutive photographs to make a 360° picture.
The Navaho express it so simply in The Beauty Way:
With beauty before me, may I walk
Then in the late 1990’s, my world changed; I discovered the Hulcherama 360° camera, a shutterless, motor-controlled camera that rotates in a circle making a single-image. There is no viewfinder. I learned to pre-visualize the final photograph. Only after the film is processed do I learn if I succeeded. My years of using the Hulcherama camera have given me a new understanding of the geometry of panorama photographs. I am photographing a three dimensional world, not just the depth-of -field in front of the lens as most cameras do, but the entire 3-D world around me. I see the world in 360° now. Everywhere I go I am aware of the total scene around me as I picture in my mind what the scene would look like as a Panorama Photograph. It has given me a new and a very different perspective of the world in which I live. I have discovered that all scenes can take on a new meaning and beauty from the perspective of the panorama camera. The challenge for me is to capture this beauty on film. All that remains is to share this beauty with you.
Meanwhile, my imagination is working overtime. I started by stretching, warping, changing the perspective and otherwise transforming some of the photos I had in my archives. The result was the beginning of my cache of Mandalas. They are all created from natural things; like trees, vines, leaves, flowers, mud cracks and bark. Almost any pattern found in nature can be trans-formed into a beautiful mandala.
My mind delights in finding the aberrant pattern in nature, and so naturally I started producing what is called Palindrome art, images that are mirrored and reflected to the original image to create fantastic composite images. Take a look at some of these in my Digital Art collection. Some digital art petroglyphs are also thrown in there for your enjoyment.
My work with mandalas paired with my Photoshop work led naturally to what I’m calling Iridalas. These images begin by interacting gradients of color producing a directed chaotic abstract image. Symmetry is applied by mirroring and remapping to and from Cartesian and Polar coordinates. This process is often repeated many times until the form and structure is done. Then interacting gradients with symmetry further shape the forms and apply color. The entire process is all done "by hand" in Photoshop. These images are not fractals, and though they have some similarity, they are not and cannot be generated by a mathematical algorithm. They are, however, highly mathematical in that they result from the application of mathematical ideas and principles and symmetries in the way colors are applied and generated to create form and structure.
These images are like irises of eyes peering into the universe: primitive forms which evoke the property of universal beauty. As such they are contemplative and can be healing of a weary soul. Study them and let the beauty in to calm your anxieties and worries. For a moment, at least, find peace in the pure beauty of these remarkable images. They did this for me in their creation and I hope they can for you in their contemplation.
Then my world changed radically again when I discovered a 3-D program called Bryce. They are still-life images, virtual photographs, of the world of reflections within reflections. The original Bryce software arose from work with fractal geometry to create realistic computer images of mountain ranges and coastlines. It is so very much more today! Stranger and more beautiful than one might expect of reflections, these are mind-bending like maginary worlds to visit. I have called this collection Explorflections.
Again, a natural evolvement of my photographic ventures and my digital adventures resulted in a collection I call Worlds of Wonder. These images are taken from nature, then stretched and warped and configured into what looks like a self-contained world, hence the name. I have taken them from many areas… national parks, cities, deserts and mountains. They are reminiscent of mandalas and Iridalas but are done using photographs. They are the predecessor to my latest evolution…
Another love of mine is raising and photographing Moths and Caterpillars. I use a somewhat new photograph technique called Focus Stacking. This technique requires taking many photos, the first is followed by moving the camera towards the subject a short distance (a millimeter more or less in some cases) followed by the second photo and so on until the last shot is taken. These images are then combined together into one single image. Only the infocus pixels from each of the separate images is combined resulting in a photo that in entirely in-focus. The results speak for themselves.
Finally a collection in progress, called Spherical Terra. These images are all 40 inches in diameter, mounted on 1/2 inch gator board. To be included is a special wall mount that allows for rotating the image into any orientation you desire. depending on you mood or desires. This collection is in progress and will be up on the site soon.
It is finished in beauty.