By likemindblog

craig-royal c-(1)


CRAIG ROYAL is an award winning, visually impaired, fine art photographer / photo artist. originally from Fairfax, Virginia. A suburb of Washington, D.C. He currently live in Tampa, Florida.

“Growing up, says Craig, I remember my parents as being creative. Mom was a talented homemaker. She was great at interior design, floral arrangement, sewing and much more. Dad had all the tools and was quite the handyman. My earliest inspiration and desire for a creative lifestyle was sparked by a neighbor of my sister who was a furniture maker. I was a teenager at the time and decided to pursue the same trade. My interest in photography came later in life.

I am legally blind due to a congenital form of optic atrophy and I was diagnosedwith cataracts in 2011. My peripheral vision is blurred (20/400 corrected) and the central vision is obscured by a white blind spot. I use a 4x monocular to do photo editing. Photography is more than a form of artistic expression but also a visual aide that allows me to revel in the exquisite detail that surrounds us.”

 Craig, welcome and thank you for accepting my invitation, I sincerely appreciate your participation in this project.  Shall we begin:

No. 1) What is art to art to and for you generally and personally? And moreDreamtime_craig royal specifically the art of photography in your case?

Generally, art is the aesthetic expression of human consciousness in relationship with the phenomenal world and transcendent or sublime experiences. Personally, art is an offspring of a love affair with life. Photography has the ability to capture, in an instant, an ineffable beauty that results in an “aesthetic arrest” where one is lost in the moment.

No. 2) What inspires you?

Reflections on water have captivated me in their expressive quality.  I see the water as a canvas, reflections as pigment and wind as a brush. The interplay of these three elements can suggest, like a Rorschach inkblot test, something beyond themselves. The use of a slow shutter speed allows the reflections to expand three dimensionally thereby createing an amazing array of forms.

No. 3) When you are creating, or maybe I should say composing, where does it take you? Where does your mind travel?

I tend to follow the lead of what the form of a reflection may suggest. For example a figure or a face may be suggested and I will manipulate the image to make it more obvious. Some of the images are rather ethereal and remind me of a personal transcendent experience I had in 1985 while meditating where there was a sense of losing form and encountering the death of the mind, then ecstatically dissolving into an infinite Ocean of consciousness. Some images suggest a dreamlike or surreal settings. Others are pleasing abstract compositions.

ReflectionAbstract 52_craig royalNo. 4) Why did you choose photography versus another form of art?

My first creative endeavors where in woodworking and furniture design. I have a BFA in Crafts which I earned in 1982. Due to a congenital visual impairment woodworking became tedious and frustrating over the years and later turned to sculpture as a creative outlet. In 2007 I got into photography which I found to be very liberating and accessible for someone with my degree of vision loss. Autofocus lenses and editing software that allows me to enlarge photos to see if they are in focus enables me to produce an acceptable image in terms of quality.

No. 5) Would you say the art of photography and health are related and if so, how?

Being involved in a creative act that elicits joy is very healthful both physically and mentally. It’s connecting to that primal creative spark wherein consciousness births new creations in our phenomenal world. There is a sense of being connected to something greater than ones’ self.

No. 6) Do you identify with your subject, and if so, on what level?Reflection Abstract 163_craig royal

On a deeper level I see water as a metaphor for consciousness. The undulating reflections that float on its surface represent our phenomenal or our inner reality. Some images can evoke memories of personal experiences.

No. 7) How do you feel when you are doing your photography?

I will take hundreds of shots not knowing if there are any with aesthetic value because of my poor vision. It is only when I upload them and view them on screen I can find the gems worth saving. So I’m much like a child opening presents. When editing photos I’m lost in the moment.

 No. 8 ) Under what conditions do you work best?

 In solitude without distractions.

Going -With-the Flow_craig royalNo. 9) How do you feel about creativity in the public school system, it’s use and development, etc.?

Art should be an integral part of the public schools. The arts can elevate a students abilities in other subjects as well.

No. 10) In your opinion, what could be a simple solution to improve creativity in the school system?

An artist residency program that brings professional local artists into the class room would be a real benefit. Students could see a work of art being created from start to finish. The artist could discuss the business aspect to being an artist as well.

No. 11) What are you hoping to convey through your art to the onlooker?

I want to expose them to an artistry of nature that they often take for granted. By taking a closer look at what surrounds and its exquisite beauty, in its rich detail, one feels a closer connection, a deeper sense of belonging, to this work of art called Life. Even if you are visually impaired as I am don’t lose sight of the beauty of life. If you lose sight of the beauty of life you are truly blind.

No. 12) What advice could you give to someone either interested inReflection Abstract 3_craig royal photography or someone just starting in it?

Get a DSLR so you can use various lenses which gives you greater flexibility. Take the time to understand all the settings. Take a class if you want. Join a photography club and enter work into juried shows. Have fun with it!

Craig, again thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us and your immense sensitivity.  I do hope we work together again and until then, I wish you all the best in your endeavours, be blessed!


You are cordially invited to visit Craig’s link and get to see more of his wonderful art.  As always, your comments are very much appreciated, thank you and enjoy!

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Filed in: ART • Sunday, October 28th, 2012


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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours