Through the Digital Lens

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“The Shadows We Follow” by Brooke Shaden  

Gallery owner Ludo Leideritz and artist Brooke Shaden have contrasting views on digital photography, 
but both agree the most important aspect of a picture is simply the vision behind it.

Section by Ashley Ryan


Bristlecone3 16x20
“Bristlecone #3” by Ludo Leideritz 

Ludo Leideritz

Forest & Ocean Gallery

After studying photography for 40-plus years, the Forest & Ocean Gallery owner has seen how digital advancements have altered the art form, calling it “a wonderful tool when used properly.”
Though Ludo still prefers to shoot using film, he uses digital tools to make adjustments to troublesome images and to enlarge negatives. “Digital photography and manipulation almost go hand-in-hand,” he explains. “… What one needs to understand is that a manipulated image in and of itself does not constitute art. It is the vision coupled with a refined skill set that enables an artist to create an image that transcends the obvious and everyday.”

Though digital manipulation is easier than it once was, it’s not a new skill. “Ansel [Adams] post-processed almost all his images in the darkroom through steps that he mastered,” Ludo says, explaining that an image shot with film can be altered in the same way as a digital image—with a little more work.

“The flip side is the overreaching of making thousands of images and not thinking artistically about the image,” Ludo adds. “Contemplation before pressing the shutter makes for a thoughtful image. Banging out hundreds of pictures makes for a few—perhaps—interesting images. Unfortunately, digital imaging defers to the less thoughtful approach [of] … quantity versus quality.” Although film has more tonality and is able to capture more, Ludo recognizes that high-end digital cameras come very close to capturing an image the way a film camera would.

Several artists in Ludo’s gallery work mainly with digital photography—and sometimes film as well. Catch images by Ron Azevedo, Robert Hansen and Tom Lamb at Forest & Ocean throughout March and April. (949-371-3313;



“The Gift of Time” by Brooke Shaden 


Brooke Shaden

JoAnne Artman Gallery

This Arizona-based artist works almost exclusively with digital photography, but views the digital process as very similar to that of film. “I think that people who are truly aiming to create art often create in much the same way as people always have,” Brooke says. “There are many ways to experiment now in Photoshop, yet the same is true of the darkroom and the same is true of painting, sculpture and so on. So much of what we do is elaboration on what we already know, so I think that no matter what the technology or medium, we will continue to put vision first.”

Brooke explains that the biggest difference between digital and film photography is the process to get the finished image. “Film requires you to be very precise in your vision, so many film photographers [focus on] vision and technique more heavily before clicking the camera because the clicks are more limited,” she says. “This is why I like to shoot digital like I shoot film. I try to discipline myself by limiting how many images I take during a session to make sure that I am planning and really thinking my idea through.”

According to Brooke, after the images are taken, post-processing crafted on a computer is not all that different from using a darkroom. “The process is different, of course—more hands on, more surprise—but the essence is the same: … How can I take this image and make it something more?”

That enhancement is Brooke’s specialty. She typically shoots photos on location, then later manipulates and stitches them together with other images. “For me, it allows a vision that cannot exist in reality to come alive,” she says. “I think that it opens up a new way of expressing the imagination and I think that, if it is not yet, it will soon be accepted as a true art form.”

View Brooke’s photographs locally at JoAnne Artman Gallery, where she is a resident artist. Her complex digital images are manipulated and crafted into something timeless, surreal and dreamlike. 



Mark Jesinoski3Helping Youth Via Art
The Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art is launching a new project aimed at teens and young adults. The gallery’s artists consistently give back to an array of charities through events that serve as a way to educate and help those in need. This new campaign will feature a couple of artists each month, showcasing new works that follow a monthly theme. “My goal as art director is to help our children have a more fulfilling, happy and love-filled life,” says Christiana Lewis. Throughout March, Karen Petty and Mark Jesinoski will illustrate body image and matters of the heart; in April, Joseph Moscoso and Diana Carey will focus on the importance of young adults finding their passion. (949-715-9604;


Community Artists
It’s easy to fall in love with works of art, but difficult to duplicate them with no artistic knowledge. Find your own style with Laguna Outreach for Community Arts, a coalition of local professional artists and art educators that offer workshops at community centers with a focus on acrylics, drawing, painting, collage, jewelry, mixed media and more. In March, options include Senior Art Escapes (ages 50 and over) in printmaking and a workshop on sea lion sculpture; April’s sessions include Watercolors on the Beach and 50 Shades of Green. (949-363-4700;




Gallery Events


coastal eddy, a gallery

The gallery is extending its “Recent Works” showcase, partnering with the Veterans Art Project to tell the stories of local military veterans. Both veterans and active duty personnel are invited to participate in a free ceramics activity at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo or bronze casting at the California Sculpture Academy in Fallbrook; the pieces will be displayed through the end of March. (949-715-4113;

Exclusive Collections Gallery

Painter Gabe Leonard will appear at Exclusive Collections for two days to meet local fans and discuss his work. Gabe’s cinematic paintings bring to life desperados and their sultry female counterparts. The free event will be held March 14 from 6-9 p.m., and March 15 from 1-4 p.m.  (949-715-8747;

JoAnne Artman Gallery

Painter and sculptor America Martin presents new works in a solo exhibit titled “How the Sun Goes.” America’s modern style mixes with her Columbian heritage to create a vibrant, abstract body of work. Her new pieces, on display until March 31, will include the ever-present portraits of indigenous people and musicians. (949-510-5481;

Orange County Creatives

Four new artists—Hadden Spotts, Ramya Sarveshwar, Kathie Warren and Erika Morozaite—are bringing their talents to Orange County Creatives. The first three started in February while Erika begins March 15. In addition, the gallery will host its next international juried show, “Faces,” which will showcase a selection of pieces based on this theme. The opening reception is planned for April 2 during the First Thursdays Art Walk. (978-473-9658;

Quorum Gallery

Throughout the month of April, the Quorum Art Gallery will feature oil and watercolor paintings by Vivien Ide. Her landscapes and botanical paintings allow her to intertwine organic objects and the effects of natural light. The detail and precision of her work lends itself to a new series of still lifes of antique tools. (949-494-4422;

Studio 7 Gallery

Katie Costello, April’s featured artist, will display old and new works of art, all of which incorporate her use of bold brushstrokes and pops of color. As a plein-air painter, Katie finds inspiration in the people she meets in the great outdoors. She attempts to bring her awe of nature to the viewer, inspiring them to see beauty in everything. (949-497-1080;

The Signature Gallery

Oil paintings by German native Jenny Simon are displayed in the “Love & Harmony Show” with a visit from the artist herself kicking off opening night. On April 2, visit the gallery to meet Jenny and catch a glimpse of her latest works while enjoying live music and cocktails. Her abstract ripples technique and “Sea Day” series have caught the eye of collectors worldwide. (949-376-4244;

Townley Gallery

The gallery will feature artwork from resident artists during the months of March and April. Artists include Townley, Manss, Nisperos, Olga, Russo, Skaggs, Leeming, Thuy and Sidd. (949-715-1860;

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