Artist/Gallery Owner Interview: Diane Seskes of The Log Cabin Gallery

Tell me a little about your background.

I have been photographing since I was a young child.  I began recording life’s events and slowly discovered the photographic beauty of nature.  Mostly self-taught, I became involved with the Cuyahoga Valley Photographic Society in the 1990’s.  Through this organization, I began taking intense workshops with the masters of nature photography—David Muench, Pat O’Hara, Craig Blacklock, David Middleton, Nancy Rotenberg, Rod Planck and others.  I was also fortunate to coordinate a workshop with Sam Abel, a National Geographic photographer.  Several years ago I also took a week long workshop at the Maine Photographic Workshops with National Geographic Traveler photo editor, Linda Meyyericks.

 

What do you love most about photography?

I love the creative process.  When I am out photographing, nothing else seems to matter.  All of my day-to-day worries and commitments fall away, and I become immersed in “seeing”.  With camera in hand, I look at a flower or tree or field more closely.  I wait patiently to observe the play of light on the subject.  My senses are heightened and I feel true joy in capturing what I feel on film.

 

What is your inspiration?

The natural world inspires me.  I am amazed at the colors, patterns, changes found in nature.  Fields, mountains, rivers, flowers, insects, clouds, trees, and rocks are the subjects that call me. 

 

What skills have you found to be essential for in your work?

One of the skills that I continue to develop is patience.  I’ve discovered that waiting is the key to great photographs.  Oftentimes it takes me a while out in the field to learn this skill once again.  I initially approach a subject in a hurried manner trying almost desperately to capture an image of what I am seeing.  After awhile, though, as I am surrounded by nature’s beauty, I learn to slow down, observe, wait for the light.  It is then that I capture some of my favorite images.

 

Do you have a favorite photograph or collection you would never sell?

Since I am able to make prints of my original slides, I suppose I could sell every image that I have taken.  There are a few of Christina’s house in Cushing, Maine, that I took several years ago that I love.  I feel I captured what Andrew Wyeth saw when he painted there.  These two photos hang in my living room and I will never be able to sell them since I signed a release saying that I would not sell them for profit.

 

As for favorite photographs, I have several.  My Water Lilies image is one of them.  I remember that morning so clearly photographing alone for four hours around a small pond on a picture perfect morning in Pemaquid, Maine.  Another favorite is of the Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley.  That image represents several attempts at capturing the bridge, the fog, and the light.  Both of these images have become favorites with others as well and have sold successfully.

 

What is one place you wish you could travel that you’ve never been to in order photograph?

I want to go everywhere I’ve never been to photograph.  I have not found a single place in this world where I wouldn’t want to photograph.  Every place is special in its unique way.  Right now, I have some sort of draw to the Great Plains.  When Don, my partner and I, drove OutWest a few years ago, I fell in love with the grasses and sky in the Plains.  We will be traveling to Nebraska this fall and I look forward to trying to capture the movement, light, and expanse of the Plains.

 

You have a shop as well too.  What motivated you to open it and could you tell me more about it?

The Log Cabin Gallery began in 1999 when my good friend Cindy, a watercolor artist, came to Peninsula for a visit.  We opened the Cabin with her watercolors and my photographs for one weekend and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  From there, the Gallery evolved slowly beginning with friends and occasional shows to where we are today.  For more of the history of the Cabin, visit www.thelogcabingallery.com.  Today, we offer four seasonal exhibits with 25+ artists exhibiting during each show.  It’s a special place and difficult to describe.  I’d say a person just has to come visit to see what we are all about.

 

Where besides your shop might interested parties be able to view or purchase your work?

Throughout the year, I jury into shows and exhibit in a variety of venues.  My photographs are not at any gallery at this time other than The Log Cabin Gallery.  My photo notecards are available for sale in several shops in the area.  Since I work out of my home, anyone can contact me at anytime by emailing me or calling me.  I also have a website featuring some of my work.  http://www.dianeseskesphotography.com

 

What do you think the best aspects of the greater Cleveland/Akron arts scene are?

As I have become more involved in the “arts scene” in this area, I have discovered the energy and creativity that exists.  Just in the Valley surrounding Peninsula, there are enough artists and creative souls to keep all of the galleries in the Akron and Cleveland area filled.  Right here in our Northeast Ohio region, we have phenomenal talent.  I believe our challenge is in getting the word out there and developing a real pride in what we have to offer.

 

Is there anything lacking in the arts scene you would like to see more of?

There are two things I would like to see more of in the arts scene in this area—money and support.  In our present state, money is not as readily available for the arts as I believe it should be.  Creativity and self expression are key to the quality of life.  I wish to see funds available in schools, in business, in organizations that will support creativity in all areas.  As for support, I wish to see Northeastern Ohio residents take pride and promote local artists more.

 

Who are your favorite local or national artists?

Favorites?  There are so many!  My favorite local artists are all of the artists I have gotten to know.  Each individual has a unique view of the world and I feel enriched as I learn to see through new eyes. 

 

And of course since there is a silly question in all my interviews just for fun, here’s yours:

If  suddenly you sold a photograph for a million dollars, what would you do with the million?

I’d spend it within the blink of an eye!!!  First, I’d pay off all of my bills as well as my mother’s.  Then I’d take a year off and travel throughout the United States.  I’d purchase some new camera equipment, invest some of the money, and, hopefully, buy a small place or two with land in different environments—maybe a place in the mountains and one by the ocean.  I think that would pretty much take care of that million dollars!!!

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