North American Review Cover

On the Cover Art from issue 301.1

Denis Hagen

The cover art for this issue is a digital photo composite.

Centuries before social media, artists knew that people were interested in people. I find the amorphic figures intriguing and mysterious, as there is no sense of who they are, where they are, or what they might be doing.

Original digital photographs were taken with a 7.1 megapixel Canon PowerShot G6. My digital photos are not planned or staged, but are found, captured and whole photographs are combined in Photoshop—in this case, six photos. Unrelated photos from various places and times are combined and made into something completely new. There is no formula.

As a weekend amateur, I've been involved with photography for over forty years. And as a Chicago advertising agency art director and creative director, I worked with the best of commercial photographers—an extraordinary learning experience.

The digital world has been a new creative outlet, allowing me to combine as many as ten or even twelve photos, resulting in possibilities that I would not have otherwise considered.

My focus is visual exploration, and my intent is to create images unlike those I've seen before, push the envelope, encourage flaws, break as many rules as possible, and find new ways to explore colors, shapes, lines and textures. I leave the interpretation of the image to the viewer.

There is always the surprise of discovery, the search for something unique, and the irony of making photos that may not eventually resemble photographs.

And since most of the experiments fail, amazement that this crazy process even works at all.

Denis Hagen has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Advertising Design from Iowa State University, and two additional Associate In Applied Science Degrees from College Of DuPage, in Graphic Arts/Digital Prepress and Photography.

Recent photo competitions include Honorable Mentions in the International Photography Awards (Lucie Awards) and Px-3 Prix De La Photographie Paris, Third place in the Moscow International Foto Awards, and an Acceptance Award in the 5th China International Digital Photography Art Exhibition, in Lishui, China. Entries can be viewed at the links attached to the names of each contest.