Dennis Greaney

'My work starts with nature'

 All of my photography stems from my deep appreciation of the beauty of the natural world and my efforts to understand nature through the sciences.  Many of my photos are available ‘as taken’, meaning they are available exactly as I captured the subject in time and space, simply adjusted for exposure and composition (the old crop, dodge and burn of the pre-digital world).  Sometimes I see something within the piece and it ends somewhere else over time, with time measured in days, months and years.  In short some photographs are ‘as taken’ while others are manipulated demonstrating the power of imagination, software and bourbon. Regardless, it always starts with technically sound and well composed photograph. 

And one final point. It helps to be childish, both from a having child like fascination with the world, and having an unbridled imagination. You see a bug. I see a Yard Monster.

Dennis Greaney has been infatuated with the natural world since a small child. Growing up, his fondest memories include years of exploring small pond near his home and the perceived wilderness of the suburban and semi-rural setting of Southwestern Illinois. Nature is where you find it.

Anyone who knows Dennis understands his non pretentious nature, which causes self inflicted hesitation in declaring any of his work as art.

A self proclaimed hater of the term ‘fine art photography’ he has countered with the term ‘crap on a bagel’.

After a successfully navigating the demands of grade school (High Mount School, Go Trojans!) and High School (What the hell is a Maroon?) I attended Belleville Area College, prior to completion of my degree in Aquatic Ecology at the University of Illinois. Following my B.S., I pursued graduate studies at Illinois State, studying environmental toxicology under Dr. Jack Ward. Unfortunately, the tragic passing of Dr. Ward nudged me into the real world of environmental contracting, where after 38 years I still reside.

For over 50 years, I have loved photography as an art form. The advent of digital photography, and the creative freedoms it allows, created a rebirth of my passion.

I struggle with the term ‘Fine Art Photography’ in that if feels ridiculously pretentious. The term simply defines a photograph that a person hangs in their personal space because they like it. It captures a visual image that captivates your thoughts, imagination or provides a visual escape. It’s no more ‘fine art’ than a Cheryl Tiegs poster was to a teenage boy in 1970s. In my opinion, the only thing ‘Fine Art Photographer’ conveys that is of any worth, is clarifying that ‘Fine Art Photographers’ don’t do weddings.

Art is highly personal, and luckily none of us have the same taste. What you like is based your perceptions and your tastes. To simplify that I have created two buckets for you to place any ‘art’ into.   If the art engages you and motivates thoughts and emotion, and you would hang it on your wall, it’s ‘Art’. If it doesn’t resonate, it’s ‘Crap on a Bagel’.

In my world any ‘art’ that entails a nude, a scantily clad young girl leaning over a classic car, or an artistic rendition of a Campbell soup can is Crap on a Bagel. Give me a landscape that makes you want to get out of the house, a blue-eyed spider hanging on its web, a perfect profile of a Tarpon head or a wildflower, and you have Fine Art! To each their own.

And the real beauty of all of this is you don’t have to agree with me. If you like the scantily clad girl on the classic car, that’s your art! You have your own damn bucket.

I’m surrounded by my wife Marilyn, daughters Allison and her husband John, Samantha and her soon to be husband Turner, and stepson Grayson with his husband Bobbie. Each is a source of inspiration.

I split my time between my home in Key West and Missouri.

I’m a dog person.

The point is simple. Art, and what you want to hang on your wall, is a hugely personal decision. What Dennis sees as art, may be your ‘Crap on a Bagel’. What you hang on your wall he may see as ‘Crap on a Bagel’. No harm. No foul. And that’s the way it should be!