Victorian uses camera film to create otherworldly dimensions in photos

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

Sept. 16, 2013 at 4:16 a.m.

The photos are as cryptic as the process, but that's what makes it art - at least that is how Jake Ramirez sees it.

But this newly adopted appreciation for his own five-year-old talent has not always come natural for the 32-year-old.

The Victoria native was - in a sense - discovered at April's Victoria TX Independent Film Festival, and it's been full steam ahead ever since.

"I thought it as me just doing something with my time," said Ramirez, whose work of abstract, long exposure lighting in 35 mm camera film will be showcased at a gallery of both digital and film print at his Pop Up Gallery in Victoria on Saturday .

Ramirez becomes a night crawler most nights, finding the darkest places in and outside of the Crossroads to hone his pieces.

He first picked up the craft while fiddling with an old camera. He saw the long exposures people would take of themselves spelling out their names with sparklers and glow sticks.

That's when the idea of perfecting those lighted long exposures came to fruition, he said.

He began going out looking for creepy places to bring his creations to life.

The photos started off simple, with lights from traffic blurring across the print, making a colorful array of neon lights.

Then it evolved to perfecting orbs in the photos. Now, his latest signature is hands warping out of thin air light something out of a supernatural movie.

"I had never put myself out there like that," Ramirez said about going from doing something for hobby, to selling pieces for hundreds of dollars.

Anthony Pedone, founder of the film festival, contends that Victoria has plenty of talent and hosting events outside of film festival is one more outlet artists did not have.

"There is so much on the horizon for Jake," said Pedone, who is helping Jake promote his first solo exhibit.

Most people cannot believe Ramirez work to be light manipulation. Most shout that it's Photoshop or computer generated.

The photos are 100 percent real though. The work takes a lot of patience, precision and planning in front of the camera, he said.

"What you see is exactly what I take," he said.



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