Farm Stand, image by Tom Glassman

Farm Stand, image by Tom Glassman

Art Presence Board Member Tom Glassman exhibits his colorful (and black and white, too) minimalist photography at Pioneer Village from July–October 2015. Join us for the opening reception July 9, 4–6pm.


TOM GLASSMAN has been shooting with a camera for hundreds of years. (You might notice that he also has quite a sense of humor! And yes, it does show up in his images as well.)

“I attribute my ability ‘to see’ to my advertising background.”  As a former creative director at several ad agencies, Glassman routinely looks for the unusual.

Tom’s first love is still black and white photography, as evidenced by many of the images routinely included in his shows and the monochromatic look of many of his color photographs.

Tom’s wife, Linda, gets most of the credit for his photography career.  She was the one who first encouraged him to pursue it, and over the years, allowed him to abandon her on many of their trips so he could go off and take pictures (while she went shopping).  She also went without diamonds and furs so he could purchase a nice lens now and then.

Equine Lines, image by Tom Glassman

“Equine Lines,” by Tom Glassman

Tom’s work has shown in a number of galleries and exhibits in Boston, Massachusetts; Portland and Kennebunkport, Maine; Seattle and Kirkland, Washington; California; and of course, Oregon.  His work is in the private collections of many professional photographers, photography instructors, designers, art directors, graphic artists, art instructors, gallery owners, plain old artist-artists (painters, sculptors, etc.), and many of the framers Tom has worked with.  Additionally he teaches photography and fine art printing.

As many people comment on Tom’s brilliant colors, unusual graphic patterns, and striking minimalist approach, it is worth noting that “…what you see is what was really there and what I saw when I took the photograph.”  He does help capture the intense colors by using a polarizer filter.  But…everything was done in the camera.  And although the images you see here were produced with a computer and a professional graphics printer, none of the images were manipulated in any way with any computer imaging software.

Artist Statement

Pooped Patriots, Image by Thomas Glassman

“Pooped Patriots,” Image by Thomas Glassman

First of all, I take photos because it’s fun and because I enjoy it. And even if I weren’t showing my work in galleries, I would still keep taking photographs.

Whenever possible, my primary goal is to try and take a photograph that doesn’t look like a photograph. This might entail anything from recording unusual reflections or abstract lines and patterns to juxtaposing unusual colors or shapes to creating compositions with extreme negative space.

More specifically, what I try to do with photography is to use the camera’s point of view to isolate an object that people are used to looking at everyday so they see it in a whole new way. When people look at my work, I want them to see my images as much as they see my vision.

Red Boat, image by Tom Glassman

Red Boat, image by Tom Glassman

Finally, I am what you would call a technical photographer. In other words, all my photos are carefully composed and cropped (corner to corner) in the viewfinder before I snap the picture. Everything about my images is deliberate and time-consuming. I use a tripod, bubble level, filters, mirror-lockup, cable release, self-timer, the appropriate f-stop and ex­tremely accurate exposures to create in the camera what I envisioned in my mind.

In other words, when I release the shutter, my images are essentially complete and do not have to be labored over with any image editing software. And while many pho­tographers enjoy all the new tools that today’s digital darkroom offers, my real passion is to be spending time with the camera figuring out how to see something in a completely new and different way.


Rockport, image by Tom Glassman

Rockport, image by Tom Glassman

These are real, old fashioned, authentic, honest-to-goodness, genuine photographs.  That means they were not manipulated with any computer imaging software.  Everything was done in the camera.

BORING INFO FOR PHOTO-TECHIES:  I use a Nikon 5000 to scan my film slides into the computer and then print them on acid-free, archival museum paper with archival inks on Epson SC P600/7900 professional graphics printers to Library of Congress archival standards.  (In other words, a fine art digital Giclée print.)

“I still shoot film with a Nikon F4 (circa 1990), Nikon FA (circa 1983), and Nikonos V (circa 1990) underwater camera (great for rain and snow days).  I scan the negative.  I import the file into Photoshop.  I color correct it.  And I print it.  That’s it.  No manipulation.  No layers.  No computer-applied filters or enhancements.”
BORING DIGITAL INFO UPDATE FOR PHOTO-TECHIES:  I also use my 30-year-old manual Nikon lenses on a Nikon D800 and Fuji S5 Pro digital camera – along with a Leica M – shoot RAW, and continue to do everything in the camera with no image manipulation.

AP   1/1  (Artist’s Proof, 1 of 1) Giclée prints of these images may be ordered in any size.

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