Luis Ortega is a landscape and aquatic photographer based in San Diego CA. He studied Photocommunications at St. Edward's University in Austin TX. You can find him on a regular basis at Windansea Beach in La Jolla.
“Aquatic” is a celebration of the spectacular scenes and colors we have on our local beaches. In most of this collection the surfers are oftentimes complimentary additions to the spectacular waterscapes that unfold before my eyes. The sheer power and volatility of the ocean makes capturing these images particularly challenging. Nothing stays the same from one second to the next; light and color working in tandem to produce completely different results with each wave that passes by.
I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. I grew up sailing, windsurfing, swimming, and surfing in South Florida and the Bahamas. A lifelong painter, I was trained at New World School of the Arts, a highly regarded art-focused high school in Miami, and at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. I was an English major and fine arts minor in college (Tufts University, '96) and I have been teaching English at schools in Florida, North Carolina, and California for the last 20 years; in September I will begin my seventh year teaching at Francis Parker School here in San Diego. Over the last two decades, my wife and I have raised three kids and I've managed to keep surfing and painting through it all. Now that my kids are getting older and I have a bit more time on my hands, I have been painting even more; for the last three summers (the third begins August 1, 2017), I've shown recent works at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters in La Jolla.
Painting has become for me a way to document, interact with, and process the intensity of the natural world; over the years, I have learned to stop thinking about "being an Artist" and embraced instead the simple joy (and attendant frustration) of using colored pigment as a means of visually understanding and re-conjuring places and moments that make me glad to be a human on Earth.
My artworks take a critical view of blending pop art and San Diego. In my work, I deconstruct San Diego's neighborhood that are both part of my childhood and adult culture. By incorporating a positive vibe, my work reproduces familiar San Diego landmarks by arranging them into digital art.
Often times these themes are combined into installations that feature stripesas abstract bases on sunrises/sunsets with different color temperatures.The color scheme of a sunrise/sunset establishes a good morning or good night, suggests the notion of good vibe, and formally unifies the disparate objects in each installation. The artworks provide clues to interpret the content.
Each project often consists of multiple works, often in a range of different media, grouped around specific themes and meanings. During research and productions, new areas of interest arise and lead to the positive feeling.
I am a sea creature who grudgingly has to live on land. Although I learned to dive in 1989 with the US Navy bomb squad, I didn’t take up underwater photography until finding it was impossible to describe to my daughter the fantastic things I saw while diving. I feel privileged to be able to share this passion for our oceans through my images. When not diving, this retired Navy Chief, spends his time as a stay-at-home Dad, home re-modeler, and Bird Rock Elementary room parent.
I enjoy diving in warm tropical seas and capturing images of the vibrant life most of us have seen in aquariums, movies and magazines. But living in Bird Rock I have easy access to the abundant marine life just off our shores. These wonderful creatures are rarely seen unless you get on their turf. I hope you enjoy these small glimpses into our beautiful ocean world.
I have loved the ocean as long as can I remember; I have been SCUBA diving for over 25 years both recreationally and as a US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diver. My appreciation and concern for our oceans increased as I pursued my Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley. Yet, it was not until after my daughter was born that I began photographing the underwater world. When I returned from a dive my daughter would ask, “What did you see down there?” It was beyond me to accurately describe the fantastic environments and wonderful creatures that inhabit our oceans and bays. I wanted to show her. I began with a point and shoot and as long as my underwater subjects stayed still I could capture them in muted blues and greens. My daughter could now vaguely see what I experienced while diving. With time my technique and equipment improved: my daughter marveled at these images even more and my photos garnered admiring comments from family, friends, and fellow divers. With their encouragement I now share my passion with you
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