Ralph Duke| Photography

Ralph Duke
Philosophy on Art
Photography is the only medium that freezes a split second of time. Without photographs, we would have no history.
Are you an art creator or an art producer? Or, do you see a difference between the two?
I am an art creator. The vision of my art comes from my eye whether I am holding my professional Nikon camera or my i-phone. Art is in the eye and the heart of the photographer.
Why do you do what you do?
I can't remember a time when I didn't take pictures - starting with the first camera my parents bought me at Amarillo Photo Supply on Polk Street in Amarillo when I was 12. When I'm in a situation, I don't want to be the spectator. I want to be the photographer.
What kind of art attracts you?
Visual art attracts me - the people, the environment, the context of the real world - too many people overlook the rich visual details of their world every day.
What is the question you never want to be asked regarding your art?
I don't like it when people ask, "If I buy a good camera, can I be a photographer?" A great photographer brings his eye, his talent, his experience, his knowledge and his art to the photograph. The camera is just one part of the equation. I always tell people - "It's not the arrow, it's the Indian." I'm always amused when people buy their camera at Sam's or Best Buy, and when they check out, they think they have become a photographer. Many buy a camera before they know what light does.
How do you know when a piece/series is finished?
A series is never finished. Whether it is my street photography, my black and white photography - it is never finished. I'm always adding to it. I'm always observing the world around me. For a single piece of photography, I know by instinct. After years of photographing, you know when you've got it.
If you could interview any artist (living or dead) who would it be?
I would interview Helmut Newton because he was one of the first photographers who pushed the envelope in fashion photography.