Doug Winter is a semi-sighted lens-based artist investigating partial blindness and vision disabilities through experimental photographic processes. His work is exhibited and collected internationally.
This is an expert from an interview in A1-Tiba9 Contemporary Art Magazine issue 07.
“Tell us about your background.”
I spent my childhood 11 miles north of Denver, Colorado, where rows of cookie-cutter homes sat silhouetted against the cobalt-blue Colorado sky. The planned housing subdivision I grew up in was an island anchored 30 miles east of the Rocky Mountains. Inviting and colorful, the Rockies provided a reliable environment for me to explore and grow up and out of myself. Artist Profile Doug Winter
On my 16th birthday, I received a gift that changed my life direction, a 35mm film camera. My memory vividly recalls the very first roll of film and the subjects I photographed; I fell in love with photography that day. Peering through the rectangular viewfinder altered my perception of the world around me and my place in nature. That feeling left an indelible mark on my heart. With the camera slung over my shoulder I’d set off on my rural adventures.
Subjects I photographed were landscapes, wildlife and abstract details I found in nature. I used these photographs as inspiration for drawing and painting. I didn’t think of myself as a photographer then; I thought of myself as an artist. I still think of myself this way.
During high school, I worked as a dishwasher, line cook, and construction laborer before enrolling in the rigorous Colorado Institute of Art photography program in 1984. Upon graduation, I received the coveted “Best Portfolio” commendation in 1987. After graduation, I immediately moved to Washington, D.C., and began my career, frequently photographing significant events at the White House.
Opportunities to photograph two U.S. presidents, heads of state, diplomats and celebrities helped me hone my skills and editorial instincts. Through these interactions and assignments, living and working on Capitol Hill and the White House, I witnessed the power of photography and observing how the medium can raise awareness and hope.
Over the years, I moved into an editorial area of my career and created hundreds of editorial photo illustrations for magazines, newspapers and websites. My visual curiosity gave way to a litany of experimental, historical and abstract photographic practices that drove these projects.
Returning to the subjects I photographed in my youth in my current project, exploring those memories, and that affection and curiosity I felt with my first camera is pure joy. I’m currently using experimental photography processes to explore visual impairments and blindness.
Before Covid-19 lockdown in California, I regularly volunteered at Friendship Park, a facility for unsheltered community members. Over the years, I created hundreds of portraits of the shelter’s guests which they have used to help gain employment or connect with family. My self published book from this project can be found here.
When I’m not creating photographically, I can be found in my home studio forming unique and one of a kind ceramic objects.
Your continued support during this historical time of our global pandemic is very much appreciated.
Photographs of Doug Winter © 2020 Kathryn Mayo.
Artist Profile Doug Winter