Henry Paine has been influenced strongly by the black and white photography of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and Brett Weston, but it was Don Worth’s stunning images of succulent and other plants that he first saw in 1973 that opened his eyes to their beauty. Since that time he has been fascinated with photographing plants himself. In 1980 he began making yearly trips to the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA where he spent many hours primarily in the Desert Garden with occasional forays into the more lush areas of Huntington Estate. He also finds plant subjects anywhere that he goes, from daily walks through the streets of his own neighborhood in Stockton, CA to locations an hour or two from home. His eye for seeing and producing black and white botanical images has grown with 50 years of non-stop practice.
For most of his years in photography he worked with 4x5”, 5x7” and 6x9cm view cameras and made silver gelatin prints in his own darkroom. In 2009 he started experimenting with a digital SLR camera and an Epson printer to see if he could produce prints that looked as good as those made with the labor-intensive darkroom methods. In his opinion, the results with the Epson printer are as good, if not better than those produced in the darkroom.
Using Ansel Adams’ Zone System, Paine tries to combine the values of fine art and photographic science to support his perception of the nuances of light, shape, texture and form through pictorial design. His camera is a DSLR or more likely an iPhone that is always at hand. His finished photographs now are digital prints (even those that started as film negatives).
Paine had never wanted to be a “commercial” photographer who does weddings and portraiture, so in order to make a living in a field related to photography, he started his own business as a camera technician. Thankfully, he found that the natural affinity between photography and repair work suited him perfectly and, in fact, helped him grow more knowledgeable in each area.
After 46 years of repairing photographic equipment, he retired from the business and closed his shop earlier this year. His photography will continue, however, as Paine still exercises his photographic vision daily, with his Apple iPhone 7Plus. His portfolio of images covering 50 years of his work can be seen in his online galleries at www.henrypaine.com.