Watermarks are found objects, deeply connected to my life as a black and white street photographer. In New York the interaction of people, architecture, streets, found objects and natural light have illuminated my approach to photography. I’ve taken great pains to “shoot and go”, not changing the dynamic I see, but recording it. In addition, I’ve shot still life of found objects on the street and sidewalk.
In 2019 I began to notice how splashes of water and other liquids flowed into the grooves and contours of streets and sidewalks, revealing both abstract and recognizable patterns. Intrigued, I shot a few with black and white film. But when I shot others with my iphone, with its sensitivity to small gradients of light, I saw a world of creatures underfoot that defy the laws of nature.
I approach Watermarks with the instincts of a street photographer: no physical arranging of any kind, no staging or placement of objects.
I use traditional editing techniques such as variations in brightness, contrast, color enhancement, cropping and spotting, but not image manipulation.
In many cases I leave in sidewalk litter to keep the images rooted to their origin, but in other cases the image works best when I clean it up with spotting. It’s a process of discovery.
- Wayne Palmer
This series won a Portfolio Award in the 2020 San Francisco Bay International Photography Awards.
For Wayne Palmer street photography and television news have been parallel paths of life in New York. At WNET (PBS) Wayne directed national news and public affairs programs such as The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, Bill Moyers’ Journal and countless others. At the same time he photographed the streets and people of New York with black and white film and digital color.
Wayne’s photographs have been exhibited and honored around the world, including Miami Street Photography Festival/Art Basel, Davis Orton Gallery, Center For Fine Art Photography, PH21 Gallery Budapest Hungary, Los Angeles Center of Photography, Fine Art Photography Awards London, International Color Awards, Black and White Spider Awards, published in Places Journal and Neutral Density Magazine, and acquired by the Museum of the City of New York.