Photographer Dana Patterson Roth uses motion to mimic a brush

Photographer Dana Patterson Roth uses motion to produce images that might have emerge from a paintbrush

Dana Patterson Roth helped found the Wild Hearts Gallery. (Courtesy of Wild Hearts Gallery)

Dana Patterson Roth fell in love with photography the first time she picked up her mother’s camera at age 5.

“I was angry when my brother got one first,” she said in a telephone interview from her Placitas home. “I got $10 for my birthday, so I ordered a Kodak Instamatic off a milk carton.”

Today that passion still burns well beyond cow’s milk and after motherhood, workshops and classes at the University of New Mexico. She once shot portraits of the neighborhood children. Now she shows her work on the Placitas Studio Tour and helped found the Placitas artist collaborative Wild Hearts Gallery.

Enamored of black and white documentary photography, at first Roth concentrated on documentary portraiture and event photography. She even shot weddings. She embraced color with the switch to digital photography. It was then that she began to let go of self-imposed rules and traditional guidelines. She often reinterprets the use of a camera, sometimes using a scanner.

Roth’s current show “Seeking the Ephemeral” features color landscapes that find her breaking the rules she learned in school. She moves the camera to create a softer focus.

“I’m drawn to making images that soften my perspective of the world,” she said. “By moving my camera during exposure, I am able to create dreamy, painterly images that are more about feelings and mood than documentation.

“It softens how I see things,” Roth continued. “Sometimes photography feels almost too harsh for me, too real. I like using my camera as a paintbrush.”

That motion produces hazy images that might emerge from the bristles of a paintbrush.

Water also is a favorite subject because of its fleeting, flowing motion.

Roth shot “Twilight Beckons” at Elephant Butte.

“I’m fascinated by the water,” she said. “You’re never touching the same water again. I guess I love that transient nature.”

“Road Tripping” captures a window scene when she was traveling through the Midwest in a car.

“What is very close to the camera is out of focus,” she said. “It’s a method I’ve been experimenting with lately. It’s capturing moments through time.”

“Ethereal Forest #2” was taken in a Florida grocery store parking lot.

“It had this really fake gravel on the ground and these beautiful white trees that were enchanting to me.”

Her latest experiments involve taking a photograph, then stepping in an arc as she shoots multiple angles of the same object or scene.

“Then you put it on your computer and layer it all together,” Roth said. “It’s very antique-looking, very dated, sort of like an old French countryside.”

She took the feathery landscape photograph “Memories We Keep” at Heron Lake, 80 miles northwest of Santa Fe. Roth and her husband are building a home there.

“I was there during its prime,” Roth said, “when it was full and clear. Now it’s very low. I still love this place, but some of my memories are a dream of the past.”

Home » Entertainment » Arts » Photographer Dana Patterson Roth uses motion to produce images that might have emerge from a paintbrush

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