Artist Statement Dennis W. Felty
"The contemplation of beauty causes the soul to grow wings."
As an artist, I am continuously awed by the exquisite beauty and wonder of creation and its profound implications regarding man's capacity for transcendence. Within our being, moment by moment, each of us holds the ability to be both hero and villain. Indeed, it is only when we understand and embrace this reality that we can hope to rise above the competing duality, choosing hero. Carl Jung defines man's "shadow" as an inherent part of his nature and as the source of much of man’s passion, comedy, fear, creativity, heroism, striving and transcendence. Since the beginning of his existence, man has expressed and explored issues of "Soul" in the form of stories and myths which offer clues to the spiritual potentialities of human life. Through the telling and retelling of myths, we evoke their power in our own lives. As a storyteller, images serve as a powerful medium for the exploration and telling of myths and are an important tool in the continuing exploration of man's very nature.
Joseph Campbell observes "One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The blackest moment is the moment when the message of transformation is going to come. Out of darkness comes the light."
This is a powerful force that sets the stage for the exercise of free will and a continuing encounter with the deepest issues of soul. This duality is essential to defining and understanding our nature as an inherent part of God's creation and offers insight into the human condition and man's potential for redemption.
As a fine art photographer I am interested in making the work of the soul more visible and real, enriching our everyday lives. It is in these moments when our soul speaks to us in a quiet, perhaps even a silent voice - wielding great power and influence at both a conscious and unconscious level.
A primary role of art is to provide clarity and insight into issues of soul as inherent elements of man's role in God’s Creation. As awareness and consciousness increases, so does the clarity with which we are able to perceive the exquisite beauty and wholeness of God's Creation. Ultimately, art acts as both a mirror and a lens that gives presence and visibility to that which previously was unseen, unknown and not understood, often residing in the underground of the conscious.
It is worthy to note that in this endeavor one learns that - the perception of all great beauty always has an element of "strangeness" and in its expression is an opportunity to truly know the perfection of all Creation.
Photography is a universal language and its truths are accessible to all who view an image regardless of culture, nationality, age, language or status in life. The camera is a tool that crosses cultures, breaks boundaries and grants access and connections that are not available through any other means.
In my work as a fine art photographer I seek expression and a deeper knowledge of these issues and in that pursuit a profound experience of being intensely alive. It is here that one’s life has resonance within our innermost being, knowing the intense rapture of life. By following our passion and our bliss and by being willing to enter the "underground", we find paths that have been there all the while, waiting for each of us. The life we live becomes the life we should be living and one has the opportunity to know the fire of passion and the continuing renewal of the life within. On this wondrous path, the art of photography becomes an instrument of story telling, spirituality, faith, seeing, knowing, exploration and celebration.
My current artistic themes include an exploration of memorial art from around the world including work in Paris, Rome, Milan, New York and Moscow. I’m very interested in the role sensuality plays in memorial art and how this work provides insight into man’s struggle with mortality and transcendence. I have also been photographing Coney Island for about 14 years and am absolutely intrigued with the manner in which Coney Island embraces and celebrates diversity and differentness in the human condition. I am involved in continuing projects in Russia, Romania, Moldova and China, photographing children living in orphanages, psychiatric hospitals and in the underground of Bucharest Romania. My newest project is at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia where I am working to photograph the historic prison as “Cathedral”. More of my work on these and other themes can be viewed on my web site:
Biography - Dennis W. Felty
Dennis Felty is a native of central Pennsylvania where he has been a serious photographer all his life. Dennis has presented his work in many one man shows over the last several years.
Dennis has also conducted major photographic & video projects in India and Russia for the Evangelical Free Church of America World Wide Missions. Dennis received a Telly award for his work in the Russian Documentary. Recent projects include photographing people living in state institutions for the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Retardation as well as an essay on families using "Family Preservation Services" for the Pennsylvania Office of Children & Youth. Dennis is currently working on "The Cathedral Project" photographing the historic Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Dennis has recently returned from The Peoples Republic of China where he had the opportunity to visit and photograph psychiatric hospitals.
A continuing 15 year theme has been photographing Coney Island exploring its celebration of being different.
Dennis has recently completed a photographic documentary on children living in orphanages and psychiatric hospitals in Russia and Moldova as well as children living in hidden societies in the underground of Bucharest Romania.
Dennis is an accomplished portrait photographer and has studied with Joyce Tennyson, Connie Imboden and Arnold Newman.
Dennis served as an Air Force pilot for thirteen years and also serves in many leadership and volunteer positions in both community and professional organizations.
Images may be purchased on line at: web site:
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