Stuart Diekmeyer (St Martins 78-83)
I was a boarder at Dover College from 1978 through 1983 and was initially housed in what was then called, much to the amusement and ridicule of the other boarding house’s inhabitants, the Waiting House. It did not help that our house tie was striped pink and black. The building had been the original sanatorium and I believe serves that purpose again. I was then a boarder in St Martin’s House for the remaining 4 years at Dover. Born to a British mum and German father, I spent my early years in both countries but emigrated to the USA in 1983 and became a US citizen in 2001. Besides photography, my other passions include sailing, road cycling and restoring, as well as driving vintage Triumph motorcars.
I have spent most of my life in the visual arts, starting with Art O and A levels at Dover and continuing with an undergraduate degree in Photography, at the Maryland Institute College of Art, in Baltimore, and then the Corcoran College of Art in Washington DC. I initially wanted to be a graphic designer but soon discovered that my formal visual aesthetics and interests were much more aligned with the instant gratification of photography.
The Corcoran College of Art required the students in the photography program to enroll in an internship, which I did at a commercial photography studio in Washington DC. Through a series of unexpected events, I was offered the position of assistant to the photographer of that studio, which gave me the knowledge and skills to eventually start my own photography business. Over a period of about 6 years, I did portrait, architectural and product photography for various companies, publications, and architectural firms.
However, by the end of the 90’s, competition for freelance photography jobs was fierce and I again found myself at the door of a new opportunity, that of teaching art and photography to all ages. I ventured into this, quite different field of the art world, with some trepidation, but soon found it to be one of the most rewarding occupations that perfectly suited my personality, energy, and desire to engage on a creative level. The teaching led to managing and curating several large exhibition spaces at a visual and performing arts centre in southern Maryland, where I became assistant director and eventually, director. In 2018, I undertook a lateral job move within the organization that the art centre is a part of and became a Visual Arts Specialist. I now work full time providing exhibition and project opportunities for artists in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Throughout my career path, I have always taken the necessary time to pursue my passion for my fine art photography. I photograph year-round, alone and usually early morning or late afternoon, but overcast days with open shadows are my favorite. My training in photography was very traditional, from using the old medium and large format cameras (seldom used 35mm) through Black and White darkroom work. Fearing that the romance and mystery of photography would be lost, I briefly resisted the transition to digital photography, but soon realized its vast, multifaceted, potential.
The images represented in my recent exhibition, “Curiosity of Scale”, are aesthetically and technically a major departure from my more traditional and formal photographic work. My work up to this series has been mostly a formal documentation style of such subject matter as landscapes, architecture and basketball hoops, either in black and white, or color. I only photographed people for my commercial work. In Curiosity of Scale, I explore the mysterious and hidden world of macro photography, or, as I sometimes refer to it, the seldom-seen world. The duo tone color manipulation is also unusual and serves to make the subject matter more dramatic and abstract. With only a few exceptions, all the subject matter was photographed around my 6 acres as I am a firm believer in the philosophy that the more time you spend in one place, the more you “see”. My desire to photograph for this exhibition, was frequently triggered by unusual conditions, such as rain, ice, snow, decay or complex patterns in nature. My preference is always to search and create the photograph, rather than simply capture what presents itself.