I've lived at Point Reyes, California since 1973. In 1986, I began photographing the landscape. Since then, I have made fine-art photography my life's work. I've used cameras for thirty years, but didn't put one on a tripod until 1985. I remember my first camera...a 35mm rangefinder my grandfather gave me for my eleventh birthday. The dials with etched numbers amd the velvet-lined leather case that protected its jewel-like lens were irresistible. That a small tin can could hold the world in it...well, perhaps only 36 pieces of the world...was magical for me! The magic has never died. I still love cameras, both old and new. I can't resist taking pictures. It is what I do, and I never wanted to do anything else.
The transient beauty of the natural world inspires me. I am drawn to walk along the trails, ridges and beaches of this precious world. Every once in a while, I'm blessed to see and record a moment of light that fills me with wonder. I hope the images that I make will do the same for you.
My photographs are owned by individuals and corporations worldwide. Editions are in the permanent collections of Fireman's Fund World Headquarters, Fair Isaac, and the National Park Service. Photographs have been featured in numerous publications including The World’s Top Photographers: Landscape by Terry Hope; Gifts of the Spirit, Kaufman & Zaleski, 1997; and The Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula, Jules Evens, 1994. Monolith, McClure's Beach was honored by the California State Senate, and exhibited in the 1999 California Contemporary Art Collection, in the State Senate building.
Marty Knapp: A Statement of Artistic Process and Purpose
I am an artist, a photographer. The purpose of my art is to express my feelings and reactions to the beauty of the world as it is revealed by light. The moods created by the daily and annual cycles of natural light, as modified by weather, are what I capture with my camera. The reflections and voids of that light on form and in space create the designs of my photographs.
Fundamental to my process is the careful inscription of a singular, carefully considered rectangle around the lit and unlit forms. Standing in the right space at precisely the right time is everything. When successful, the intricate harmonies and dissonances of God’s creation are revealed. By working exclusively in black and white I hope to express to the viewer my vision of form, line, and texture. I believe that the absence of color in the image creates a deeper imprint on the viewer of the underlying form and design of our world. And, so, like music, black and white photography bypasses the rational mind to touch the heart directly.
Today, I make photographs in a more serendipitous manner. I let the light lead me, and I slow down until I am called, until… I am truly feeling and seeing my photograph. Only then do I attempt to express this space and time on film. I make very few exposures. In my best moments I hope to make an image that can create an emotion in the viewer’s heart equivalent to my own.
I use both film & digital cameras to capture my images. In 2011 I made my last darkroom-produced silver gelatin prints. My current prints are made with archival pigment inks on museum quality, acid-free, cotton papers. They are archival and rival, even sometimes exceed the quality I have gotten from my silver printis.