Most people take one look at stormy, rainy skies and wouldn’t think twice about spending the day at the beach. However, photographer, Gareth Rockliffe, begs to differ. He loves stormy days at the beach. In fact, he prefers them.
Titled “The Great American Coastline,” Rockliffe’s latest exhibition is a three-part series that features coastlines of the United States. The first installment of the series, focusing on the Pacific Coast, opened at The von Liebig Art Center in Naples, Fla., this month.
It took Rockliffe and his wife, Jan, a fellow photographer, three months to travel from San Diego up to Cape Flattery, the most Northwestern point of the United States. Throughout the trip, Rockliffe and his wife found hidden parts of the coastline, away from the usual tourist traps, to take pictures. They also met lots of interesting people, took their portrait, and asked them the question, “what is your philosophy of life?”
Twenty-seven large prints, 10 of their favorite portraits, and 10 of their favorite philosophy answers make up the exhibit being held at The von Liebig, running from July 17-Sept. 4.
When printing his art, Rockliffe uses a large volume of ink in order to achieve very rich colors. “Other materials would curl when I’d print my artwork,” so when he was preparing to print for his exhibition, he chose a high-quality product. “Now, I use the Sunset Velvet Rag material because I love the weight, the texture, and the way it holds the ink.” Rockliffe uses a Canon imagePROGRAF iPF8400 to print his photographs.
Rockliffe fell in love with photography as a teenager, but he went into sales and marketing. For years, he would only photograph on the weekends. “I realized I was spending five days a week doing something I didn’t like, and only two days a week doing something I loved.”
Eventually, Rockliffe dedicated himself to photography full-time, met his wife, and started taking portraits for a living. “Landscapes are my passion, but I’ve always been drawn to water,” Rockliffe says. He grew up in a small, seaside town in England, which is probably why he prefers moody skies, and dark waves. “When I shoot, I try to give the water and sky a sense of life.”
Next for Rockliffe, he’s raising funds to start part two of his coastal project. “Part two will be of the East Coast, and will start in 2016. Part three will be the Gulf Coast,” he explains. We wish Rockliffe the best in his travels, and look forward to seeing the second and third installments.