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Sunday, November 18 , 2018, 9:17 am | Fair with Haze 60º


Renowned Photojournalist Colin Finlay Launches ‘Evolving Focus’ Portrait Line

An “Evolving Focus” portrait of Robert Kennedy Jr. by Colin Finlay. The lauded photojournalist and artist will be looking toward his part-time home of Santa Barbara for new subjects. Click to view larger
An “Evolving Focus” portrait of Robert Kennedy Jr. by Colin Finlay. The lauded photojournalist and artist will be looking toward his part-time home of Santa Barbara for new subjects. (Colin Finlay image)

Multidimensional artist and photojournalist Colin Finlay — whose compelling images of conflict, famine, genocide and environmental devastation have garnered international acclaim and transfixed readers of TIME, Vanity Fair and numerous other publications — is training his lens on denizens of the Central Coast.

The UC Santa Barbara alumnus and part-time resident of Santa Barbara is launching “Evolving Focus” portraits, which combine his distinctive photography and painting in one-of-a-kind depictions that capture his subjects’ unique essence.

“I’ve spent more than 25 years in pursuit of images that attest to the depths of human will and compassion, and that best illustrate hope for society and informed collective consciousness,” said Finlay, whose work has taken him around the globe 27 times. “I want to bring that same sensibility to portraiture, underscoring the vibrancy of our community and the extraordinary individuals who choose to live and work here.”

Finlay’s portrait process typically begins with a photo session in a setting suited to his subject’s personality or experience. He then enhances the selected images with layers of acrylics and oils. The entire process can last weeks, and the resulting “experiential” likenesses invariably bring an under-appreciated aspect of the individual’s identity to the fore.

“Colin is a true artist who understands emotional and creative context,” said James Sáez, a Los Angeles-based producer, engineer, writer and multi-instrumentalist who was the focus of an earlier portrait by Finlay. “In my case, Colin intuitively recognized the importance of the many tools and instruments I use in the recording studio as a critical and intimate part of my artistic process. More than just documenting a moment in time, Colin's work conveys feeling and captures the depth and history of the objects that not only fill my everyday process but help define what I create, bringing those narratives together to tell a unique story.”

One of the world’s foremost documentary photographers, Finlay has been awarded the prestigious Picture of the Year International (POYi) honor six times.

His photographs have been featured in Wired, GOOD, Prevention, U.S. News and World Report, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Asia Week, Communication Arts and Discovery, among others, and are in the permanent collections of the George Eastman House, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, LACMA and MOCA.

Published in 1996, his first book, The Unheard Voice: Portraits of Childhood, is a collection of black-and-white images of children in conflict zones.

Testify, a retrospective of photojournalism from throughout the world published in 2006, won Book of the Year honors from POYi.

His work also is featured prominently in Darfur: Twenty Years of War and Genocide in Sudan (2007), co-produced by Amnesty International and Proof, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Finlay to foster awareness of challenges faced by populations in post-conflict societies and to encourage social change through photography.

12°N x 23°E / 64°S x 60°E: Antarctica/Southern Sudan, a fold-out book published in 2007, dramatically illustrates the effects of climate change.

In 2011 Finlay was commissioned to photograph Eco Amazons: 20 Women Who Are Transforming the World, which chronicles the stories of American women who have developed innovative environmental solutions.

His latest book, Of Consequence, published last year to coincide with an exhibit of the same name at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Fla., explores the themes that have long animated his work: the shared bonds of existence and the intersection of ineffable beauty and unspeakable horror — captured with the insight and panache of a master storyteller.

Born in Scotland, Finlay attended Westmont College before earning a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Santa Barbara. He currently lives in Santa Barbara and Glendale.

Also an accomplished writer, musician and painter, Finlay in recent years has increasingly developed unique and impactful mixed-media works, including portraits of musicians, actors and others of note such as Robert Kennedy Jr.

He now wants to apply this same methodology to portraits of local individuals, and is currently in discussions to produce a book depicting key regional leaders in partnership with Santa Barbara’s new Impact Hub.

Many of his powerful mixed-media portraits can be viewed at www.colinfinlay.com.

Appropriate for corporate, advertising and other venues, the “Evolving Focus” portraits mark a creative evolution for Finlay.

“I want to harness my unique experience and skills in a way that promotes a new form of experiential engagement, to motivate, inspire and catalyze social change. My work is all about honesty and authenticity, which is why it resonates so deeply with people regardless of their circumstances,” he said.

Finlay’s mission is to create visual communications that transcend documentation. Through his “Evolving Focus” methodology, he seeks to educate and inspire through multidimensional, experiential engagement.

With more than three decades as one of the world’s foremost documentary photojournalists and creative directors, he is committed to promoting collective consciousness and vision.

He is accepting commissions for advertising, editorial and fine art projects though his agent, Bobby Heller of Opus Reps, who can be contacted at 323.871.8300.

— Tim Dougherty represents Colin Finlay and Christie & Co.


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