Ronald Sullivan | About

I am a member of


Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI)

Society for Photographic Education

Locally Grown Gallery

Foothills Craft Guild

Art Market Gallery

Artist Statement

I separate my work into roughly four areas based on my study of various literary categories which I have appropriated and changed for my own use: classic, romantic, modern and collage. By classic, I mean traditional, sharply-focused landscapes, botanicals and portraits. This means that I am constantly trying to get the best out of the equipment to present that completely recognizable person, place or thing.

In contrast, I am as likely to produce soft, romantic, nearly abstract images like my Hanoi Rain series, which sees Southeast Asian wedding and feasting ceremonies through soft focus filters. By modern, I mean the present time that no one else has quite seen or presented yet. While we are all drenched in images in the 21st century, I am searching for the image that has not yet been captured and devoured by the media around us. This work is often a construction of found objects that live around us but have never been put together in the same context previously.

Collage is not a completely apt description of the fourth category. There is really not a comprehensive word. For instance, I could just call this storytelling. What it amounts to is layering and manipulating several photographs, and sometimes other media, into a symbolist collage that can be read like a poem or book. My working approach is that people plus places plus things equal story. My collage is a snapshot of the story in time.

The objective of all of the images is the same goal that every painter, photographer, sculptor, poet, filmmaker has, which is to get the viewer to linger before the image, to wonder exactly what is being presented here. Is that a photograph, a watercolor, a print, a collage?

My formal education is in Psychology and Literature. When I was in graduate school at Northern Illinois University, I studied 18th and 19th century poetry and printmaking, specifically the works of William Hogarth and William Blake. At the time, I was looking at this work from an academic point of view. But as my wife was in a graduate art program, I made the connection to photography and printmaking. In the late 1970s, using my wife’s photographic equipment, I made the early steps in photography as a performance art and dabbled in landscape and portrait work. Working life intervened for a number of years, but 10 years ago I picked up the torch again in a serious way and made myself familiar with current photographic technologies.

At the same time, international travel for business over the past decade has provided a very rich fund of subject matter, concepts and philosophies. As a result, my work can be a series of stories or sequences in addition to single, one-off images. This is probably because of my original academic studies of printmaking. Photographic influences include Jerry Uelsmann, whose work I first came across at Columbia College in Chicago.