The recent work of photographer Peter Cram dramatically fills a wall of the main gallery at Camellia Art Gallery and Framing on Hilton Hwead Island’s Pope Avenue. The natural beauty of his portrayal of Lowcountry waterways will stop you in your tracks — first because of his surprisingly large formats, and next because of the abstracted nature of his images.
Cram’s photographs, are charged with blues and greens. Look forward to ”Calm Water Over Toppin Creek,” 94” x 40”; “Fish Haul #2,” 42” x 42”, and “Afterglow,” 42” x 42”. The work is luminous, richly imagined, seriously stunning and seriously supersized.
Cram explained that he was very serious with film photography in the late 70’s and 80’s , and slow to get into digital photography, adding that he didn’t buy his first good digital camera until about ten years ago.
“For quite awhile, I was very much a purist with digital photography. I would try to get the photo straight out of the camera without much more manipulation than you would do with film,” he said. “Of course, I still like to do a lot of wildlife and random natural subjects, but what I have been focusing on printing and showing recently are these very large scale, abstract landscapes.”
“You might call what I do digital art with a photographic base,” said Cram. “Of course you still need to start with a good photo, but virtually all of the abstract images that I print I will manipulate in Photoshop.”
Cram shoots most of his photographs from a small boat, paddle board or kayak in the salt marshes, estuaries, rivers and firths that surround us in the Lowcountry. He experiments with some filters, may even take double exposures or use other methods to get a particularly soft looking outcome. He is also looking for shapes and colors that will be what he calls, “that metaphorical path that will lead you in to the picture.”
Cram works with a printer in Atlanta who concentrates on larger prints. He sees that the prints are mounted on an acid free backing board with a UV laminate on the front, which gives it a level of protection so they can be framed without glass, clearly a benefit for a print eight or ten feet wide.
Cram, a native of Bluffton, a Clemson Master Naturalist and a docent at the Coastal Discovery Museum, spent his earliest years in secluded natural settings amid the wildlife associated with our Lowountry. He was influenced by the nature of his environment and drawn to boats and water, seagrasses, and seaweeds, waterfowl and water birds.
Cram studied photography at Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nevada. A wildlife photographer in his early career, his photographs were exhibited throughout the Lowcountry, and his work published in several magazines, including South Carolina Wildlife and Natural History.”
“I took a little time out from my photography career and my lifelong interest in photographing wildlife, particularly ,” said Cram. “But my re-entry, it seems, was well timed to coincide with my arrival at a new interest in digital photography.”
Artist, musician, teacher and writer Nancy K. Wellard focuses on portraying and promoting the cultural arts, first in Los Angeles and, for close to 30 years, in the Lowcountry. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camellia Art Gallery and Framing
Pope Avenue and Main Street
Hilton Head Island
For more information, call 843 785 3535 or visit www.camelliaart.com