Daniel Finchum’s artistic interests have always been present since childhood and it was obvious to his teachers and fellow students. Although having the ability to draw and paint, he never found real passion in these mediums. As a young man fresh out of college Daniel picked up a camera and saw his first success as a photographer having won an international competition sponsored by Kodak in two different categories and his work was exhibited in NYC. However, life got in the way and he never really pursued photography again until about three years ago.
Having seen a video about rock stacking, Daniel decided one day while up the Wailua River to try his hand at it. He found it mesmerizing and therapeutic. It brought back fond memories of walking up streams and along the shores of Lake Michigan as a child with his grandmother gathering materials from which they fashioned artistic creations. He started taking pictures of his creations and posting them on line to the encouragement of his friends and family. After being made aware of great land artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long, Daniel grew to love “land art” and developed his own work flow in the way he photographed his creations which harkens to the time of the Hudson River School aesthetic. Last summer, Daniel had his first solo exhibit with the Kauai Society of Artists and was successful enough that the Garden Island Arts council invited to him to have a solo exhibit at the airport for six weeks. Since then he has been picked up by Art House Gallery in Koloa where he continues to be one of their best-selling artists of his limited editions he calls, “Aina Art”. It is important to know that Daniel no longer does rock stacks out of respect to the Hawaiian culture. Even when he did, he always put the rocks back and never did his creations in sacred areas. He only did it as a way to help release the great amount of stress he was going through at the time and has learned other creative ways that achieve the same result, I.e. wet plate photography.
The flood gates of creativity were now opened and about two and a half years ago, Daniel saw a documentary about antique photographic processes. A couple of weeks later while sitting in a restaurant he began to see the island people differently as a result of seeing the documentary. He made the realization that Kauai’s people were as varied as it’s landscape and decided to photograph them in a way very few were doing… through wet plate collodion photography, a difficult and unpredictable hand crafted process developed in 1851. He decided to call this body of work, “Kama’aina Art” (people of the land). Being influenced by wet plate photographers such as Alex Timmermans, Andreas Rehs, and Julia Margaret Cameron, Daniel has seen great interest in his work through social media and has a growing and supportive following early on. Daniel's influences are just as diverse ranging from pictorialism to street art.
Working with a high end digital camera in the forest or ocean side and then going into the home of a family with an antique process and original lenses from the 1850s has given me great enjoyment and balance. It is my wish that the viewer will carry with them a sense of appreciation and malama of our precious islands and its people in a new, yet old way. I approach every new work with the desire to engage each viewer with a narrative which lies just below the surface of the image. It is a personal call to a simpler time of beauty and innocence.