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Impressions of reality
Kathy Salter combines the lens, the brush, and the computer

The cutting edge pursuit of the artistic intersection of tradition and technology isn’t necessarily limited to those fresh out of their teens.

Local artist Kathy Salter — part of the husband/wife team that runs Daly & Salter Photography, this year’s “Best Photography Service” winner in our Best of Savannah Readers Poll — has embarked on that quest well after her college years.

Her unique “Impressions by Kathy” involve either shooting photos or using photos provided by clients, manipulating them with software, and then adding her own acrylic brushstrokes on top of the print.

The end results are one–of–a–kind works that are a lot closer to classic Impressionism than to vividly realistic, overly Photoshopped pieces.

“Just because I can take a 90-year-old lady’s face and make her look 16 doesn’t mean I should do it,” says Salter. “In the photography world Photoshop is a tool they can’t do without — but it’s just a tool, not necessarily a process of recreating.

“People sometimes misunderstand my work. I’m just creating a digital image through a computer program, but using the program as a tool — just as artists have used brushes, paints and canvas for centuries.”

Salter says she’s still a believer that “you take the picture right — you don’t rely on Photoshop to correct, nor do you use Photoshop and make it more of a graphic design item, as opposed to an art form of composition and lighting.”

While Salter is relatively new to the brush — both the literal and digital type — she is very familiar with photography from the family business.

“I grew up in photography, so that was life to me. I actually backed away from it for awhile because that was all I knew and I wanted to learn something different,” she says.

After a stint in the medical field and a few other pursuits, “I’m coming back now into photography and art. As I‘ve gotten older my appreciation for photography and what I can actually accomplish has gotten better.”

And as many others have discovered, part of the journey wasn’t only artistic development but personal fulfillment.
“When I first came into business with my husband, I was business manager, and generally did some not so awe–inspiring jobs,” she laughs. “I was looking for something that would give me my own entity so I would be my own person.”

Eventually, the availability and versatility of programs like Photoshop and Painter convinced her to reach out in a new direction.

“I saw this style coming out in the forefront, I enjoyed it and liked what I saw, and decided to pursue learning all of this,” she says. “Plus it’s a little bonus to what Daly and Salter could offer clients.”

While Salter’s art is to an extent an expression of her own individuality, she stresses that her husband Steve Daly is a vital part of the process.

“My husband has a degree in art, so he critiques and helpd me grow as more of an artist — because I never felt I was one before,” she says.

“I came from the portrait world and the photography world, where your focus is on everything being sharp, crisp, and finished. What I’m doing now is taking that crispness and changing it to a painting feel. There’s not always that defined realism.”

Salter describes a “fine line” where her husband’s portrait work ends and hers begins. “I would say probably 60 percent of our clients get portraits in the standard way, but others are gradually coming over, wanting to go up another notch.”

Check out Kathy’s work at