SmugMug Explores the Boundary Between Photos and Digital Art with Joel Grimes

Joel Grimes‘ photography is fantastic, and I use that word in its most literal form. As Grimes puts it, “photography is not reality,” and so his work is about exploring the border between photography and digital art as he creates portraits that are unlike anything else out there.

Grimes was the subject of SmugMug Films‘ most recent video, which went live earlier today, and if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t particularly enjoy a lot of post-processing in your photos, you should probably skip this one. If, on the other hand, his work inspires you like it does us, then you don’t even have to read any further… just click play.

“For many years I defined myself as a photographer,” begins Grimes in the video, “and I had to work within… the boundaries that that definition puts forth.” But at some point, he broke free of those boundaries. These days, Grimes doesn’t consider himself so much a photographer as an artist, and his newfound freedom allows him to push the boundaries of what he does.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 3.18.18 PM

Of course, that doesn’t mean that his work is created entirely on a computer screen. “Lighting is paramount,” he explains, and it’s clear from watching him work that he has a technical mastery over ‘pure photography’ that can stand up to the most strict of scrutiny. He simply prefers to take his work beyond what that term allows for and turn his subjects into “superheroes.”

To hear from the man himself or if you’d like to see more of his work, check out the video at the top or head over to his website. And if you’d like keep up with SmugMug Films as they bring you more profiles on some of photography’s best, check out our previous coverage and be sure to head over to the project’s YouTube by clicking here.

  • Frank Petronio

    SmugMug should pick people with tablet friendly websites, doh

  • docholliday666

    Works fine on my tablet…

  • MMielech

    Nice Photoshop, although, a bit dated, at this point.

    What was the purpose of that film, btw, besides vacuous self promotion by way of overused cliches?

  • Douglas James

    agreed. I’d rather see a real photographer. one that doesn’t need photoshop or some artificial means of producing an image. now that would impress me.

  • Jason Kessenich

    He just knows his own processes and has them down to exactly what he wants to do. He’s a real photographer, he just happens to use post production more than some. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Alan Klughammer

    “some artificial means of producing an image”
    Without a camera?

  • Sid Ceaser

    I respect Joel’s work, and can appreciate why some people like it, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. Part of that might be because of the huge number of PPA shooters who have mimicked his style, badly, and it’s run rampant among that crowd. It’s very polished, and very commercial, and that is great, but there is something sterile in his work.

  • Erik Lauri Kulo

    I’m the same way, I don’t really like his style of shooting, but I have much respect for him anyway. I have learned so damn much about flash photography from him.

  • Fullstop

    I’ve always admired his work.