Showcasing the Arts


July 2012 Featured Artist: David Toczko

David Toczko My interest in photography started at the age of 8 when I discovered a vintage “Brownie” box camera in an old box in our basement. I mowed neighbor's yards to earn money for film and developing. Oh how I wish I had those photos now! The years passed and I continued to photograph what I found of interest. Then, in 1985, while preparing for a vacation in Colorado, I purchased my first 35 mm camera. From that time, I never looked back.

While I never seemed able to capture the image on film that I envisioned in my mind, my passion never faded. I never formally studied photography, but rather learned from my mistakes. And boy did I learn a lot! I subscribed to photography magazines, purchased books and took thousands of photographs. While I did see some improvement in the composition and quality of my work, it was still not anything that anyone other than family members would give a second glance. Technically the work was fine, but it seemed to lack that something.

While reviewing images I had taken one day, it hit me. The better images were the ones where I was enjoying myself. I was having fun and photographing subjects that interested me. What an epiphany! My mantra now is that I do not “take” photographs…I am given them. When I am doing creative work, I don’t force the shot. I do go out with a goal in mind, but that goal is not carved in stone. If the shot is not there, I don’t take it. I am, however, always aware of the things around me and looking for that special photo opportunity. It may come in the form of a landscape, a building, a person or an object, but I know it when I see it.

One example of this approach is when I was at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. I had planned to photograph the waterfall at sunrise and had spent the night there so as to be sure and get the morning light. It rained that night and when I got to the falls, it was completely socked-in with fog. I waited for what seemed to be hours before giving in and heading back to my car. On the way, I happened to glance to my right and there was the shot! The fog was hovering just over the stone bridge over the river. Eureka! I grabbed my camera and started shooting like a madman. One of the resulting photos is still one of my favorites.

Despite the wide variety of subjects I photograph, the style of natural light and shadow plays a major role in the composition and vision of my work. I approach photography differently now, using unique perspectives and angles to give a fresh look to everyday items for the viewer. The aim here is to let the viewer see the world again for the first time.

David Tocsko Lone Dakota Photography
Elizabethtown, Ky.



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