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Shirley Cross Dances With Light

May 9, 2010

It’s Mother’s Day here in the US today, and with that in mind, I thought it would be fitting to take a look at the photographic art of Shirley Cross. I first ran across one of Shirley’s images over at Renderosity, and there was just something about it that made me want to explore further. There’s an underlying theme and feel throughout which embraces love and the flowing beauty of femininity and nature.

A native Oregonian, she became serious about photography in the early 1980s, Always in artistic pursuit, Shirley was drawing and painting at an early age and captured images with a Brownie camera. Much learning came by way of trial and error. In the early 1990s, Shirley took the New York Institute of Photography course and graduated. She credits the course in helping her fine tune her artistic skills. It is just in the last ten years that she has become a digital artist. A lot of her images were taken on film, mostly 35mm slides, and later scanned into the computer. Many of Shirley’s creations are combinations of those old film images combined with newer digitally captured photos. She presently shoots with a Nikon D80 and various lenses, but says she still has hundreds of slides still to scan.

An international award winner, it’s easy to see why Shirley’s images have wide appeal. Using a master’s stroke, she kisses images with soft, gentle with ethereal light, yet she’s not afraid to cross boundaries and experiment with technique. In the image here titled Flying Flowers, the petals have a glass like quality and are like colorful little jewels in the altered garden. It’s a slice of time in nature that can only be conjured.

I asked Shirley about her post processing. She said, “My most-used software is Microsoft Picture It 2000. I use it interchangeably with MGI Photosuite III. Both are inexpensive and simple, but I know the Picture It quite thoroughly and have even used it to create some of my own special effects.” Just goes to show you that you don’t need a $700 software package to produce great work. Shirley’s post processing work accents her work with great sensibility and does not overwhelm.

On how she develops her art pieces, Shirley says, “Generally, the ideas for my photoart creations evolve over time. Rarely, I will go out and shoot something with a specific idea in mind.”

In Rapunzel at left, it’s not a simple application of a cheezy photo filter, it’s a warm embrace of softness. It’s a dance of light and shadow, and it’s carefully crafted and keenly overseen with love and tender care. It’s a capture of the close relationship of femininity and nature. In my own interpretation, it’s Mother’s Love.

The model here is Anna, who Shirley has been photographing for about 13 years. She is featured in much of Shirley’s art. Of Anna she says, “She has had no training in dance or modeling…just knows how to pose and move naturally. I was extremely blessed to find her.”

Shirley Cross has won international awards, the most notable being two gold medals in the Austrian Super Circuit, and a medal in the South Africa Super Circuit. A few years ago, she won First Prize in the Still Life Category of Legion Photo Paper’s Contest. In 2005 she won Second place in Popular Photography’s Annual Contest, Nature Category.

Shirley’s favorite quote, from the film Equilibrium is “Without love…..breath is just a clock……ticking…..”

With that thought in mind, a very Happy Mother’s Day to all.

To see more of Shirley’s work, you can see her portfolio over at

Images all courtesy of Shirley D. Cross

One Comment
  1. Ray permalink
    May 9, 2010 6:08 pm

    I had a look at the BetterPhoto portfolio. Beautiful perspectives from this artist. Lovely imaes.

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