It’s been a busy month for Hutchinson, Minn.-based photographer, Jon Otteson, as he finds himself in the midst of his latest project, “The Image Within” art exhibit at the Hutchinson Center for the Arts.
This is Otteson’s first time exhibiting his abstract work, yet it seems to be going quite well for him. “Everybody who’s stopped in has been impressed with it,” he says.
The display consists of a mixture of 56 framed abstract prints on canvas, art and photo papers, all of which he produces himself on his Epson Stylus Photo 2200 and Stylus Pro 7800 printers.
Even if this is new territory for Otteson, he’s no stranger to the world of photography. He’s had a passion for photography for more than five decades.
“I was raised in a conservative Midwestern farming environment. At an early age I took an interest in photography and was fascinated by the process of capturing a moment of time on film.” It wasn’t until his college years, when he first “gained access to a 35mm camera and a darkroom,” that Otteson was able to really hone in his skill and passion.
After that, Otteson was actively involved in portrait and wedding photography as well as working at other jobs, including 30 years at 3M in quality control related areas.
“In 2002 I retired from my career at 3M and began the transition from film to digital,” Otteson explains. “The entry into the digital world has given me a portal to focus my skills on creating fine art photography with the primary emphasis being on traditional landscapes and the natural elements while at the same time branching out into experimental abstract photographic images.” This was the time that Otteson really mastered the digital techniques that make his photographs so unique.
“The Image Within” is a showcase just a few of his experimental abstract images printed on LexJet media, including Sunset Select Matte Canvas, Sunset Velvet Rag, and Premium Archival Matte, seen here in one of Otteson’s favorite pieces, Black Hills Gothic. “The training, customer service and advice that LexJet has provided me over the last nine years have been important resources for my business.”
“Most of my abstract images involve exploring the mathematical randomness of nature,” Otteson says of what inspires and creates his work. “When studying images of rock walls or bark, I sometimes find colors and patterns that I wasn’t aware of at the time of the image capture. I will then use post production techniques to enhance these colors and patterns.”
Of course Otteson takes some pieces a step beyond with some fine tuning. “Some of the images are merely nature providing me with the main image, which I then crop down to highlight patterns or colors,” he says.
Other times Otteson will take an image and manipulate it, creating a whole new outcome. One of Otteson’s techniques is what he refers to as “asymmetrical symmetry,” which involves mirroring various areas of an image and then placing the mirrored sections back into the photo. Otteson especially likes this technique when applied to tree bark, as with Race of the Water Beetles. “It can create unusual mystical images and landscapes that tend to play with one’s imagination,” Otteson says.
“The Image Within” can be seen now through July 31 at the Hutchinson Center for the Arts in Hutchinson, Minn.