Transitions: Commercial to Fine Art - Fall 2013
The photographs on display are hand printed, traditional black and white toned photographic prints, which I am primarily known for and have been concentrating my efforts on for the past 30 years. The subject matter on display ranges from still life and landscape to architectural photography. The images appear as large square, vertical and horizontal panoramic format original prints.
Over the past two decades of my photography career, I have primarily had a reputation as a commercial photographer and photo educator specializing in editorial and advertising photography. My commercial photography subjects feature portrait, still life, and architectural photography. Over the course of the last 10-15 years my "personal work" which in the past was my "fine art photography" has now taken on a whole new dimension and direction. I have been able to generate my own project ideas and concepts, as well as image collections based on the current image demands from my publishers and art representatives. As I realized that a transition and new approach was occurring I began to seriously concentrate my efforts on my fine art photography by marketing and licensing my imagery to a vast variety of publishers domestically and internationally. My photography has continually been featured in a wide variety of publishing endeavors such as calendars, lithographic reproductions, cards, books and exclusive print on demand projects.
An important feature on my website is the image library which is updated constantly with over 4000 image selections for my clients to browse and select imagery from for presentations, usage and image licensing approval. I collaborate with several different art and photography galleries, as well as art consultants that have showcased my photography in a eclectic variety of collections from hospitality commissions, to private and museum permanent collections. Strangely enough bringing my photography business around to full circle, now I am often hired for commercial photography assignments based on my fine art publishing experience and exposure. I am still using traditional black and white film and equipment gear when I travel on location assignments and in my studio. I go on the road with a Fuji 6x17cm panoramic camera, a couple of lenses, tripods, portable lighting equipment, a Hassablad and 100's and 100's of rolls of 120cm black and white film. If the assignment warrants color, I pack my digital camera gear.
Photographing a Classic Tuscany Vista - Summer 2011
Leaving my comfortable hotel in total darkness with a blanket of cold misty fog coverage at 4AM didn't seem so promising. As the morning progressed and my espressos kicked in, the lighting gradually became magical for a very brief window of time. After photographing several dreamy urban city landscapes and cafe scenes I thought I would finish off the photography session by venturing back to photograph a nearby countryside farmland landscape that I had photographed the previous evening. I captured this vista close up, which seemed to have little or no impact.
Searching for a nearby hillside or vantage point above and across the same valley I located a perfect clearing with an olive tree grove below, but I could barely see through the fog to view my desired central focal point. Then just as I started to contemplate on setting up my gear and photographing, dramatic light started to rapidly interplay and randomly shine through and disperse, illuminating the landscape behind the dense fog. To my amazement the pre-visualized landscape vista slowly appeared and more. Very excited I set up my tripod with my large panoramic camera and recorded two different horizontal landscape viewpoints on film. Minutes later the light improved even more and I continued to photograph with my Hassablad square format camera, capturing the classic Tuscan landscape that I had envisioned. Seconds afterwards the sun totally burned away all the fog and the landscape vista became flared out from the backlight ending my brief window of opportunity.
European Landscapes - Spring 2011
The large format panoramic landscape locations featured range from Tuscan and French countryside vistas, to cities such as Venice and Paris. These photographs were all exposed using traditional B/W film with a large format panoramic camera. All the photography was completed within the last 5 years while on location photographing for calendars, books, wall decor and various assignments for USA and European publishers and clients.
The "Vertical Panoramic" selections are the most challenging to compose and actually come across and find while on location. After roaming and wandering around endlessly, I scout out my scene of interest. The lighting has to be perfect, as I prefer moody soft romantic quality. This is very challenging; range of tones in the scene vertically from the sky to foreground is extreme to capture.
Often I find myself returning to my select location find at different times of day, in order to achieve my final take of the "perfected scene rendition." I treat these vertical framed photographs as a doorway or passage for the viewer to enter, rather then a window or traditional frame to look through.
Still Life Imagery
For the floral and still lifes in the vertical panoramic format, I am able to isolate and focus in close up. Using select focus I can separate background and foreground and compose a focal point of interest that usually is not common or typical with a panoramic frame; especially utilizing an extreme vertical format. Working in this fashion can be time consuming and challenging because of all the variables in lighting and composition; coupled with the fact that the floral subject matter often shifts with the breeze and I am using a tripod, often with several second exposure or longer.
European Square Format Imagery
The landscape and cafe image selections feature various European locations and scenes that I photographed for several ongoing projects. For the past 20 years I have been traveling around France, Italy and Spain photographing significant architecture, urban and countryside landscapes, and most recently cafe type environments. Several of the images have been published for European and USA publications. These square format photographs are all exposed using traditional B/W film, and personally processed and hand printed to perfection in the darkroom. The nature of this traditional hand crafted approach from start to finish helps contribute to my final look, which often evokes a timeless sense of spirit from the past.
The Japanese Tea and Coffee cup image collection is an ongoing contemporary exploration of traditional Japanese Tea and Coffee cups that still exist and are utilized today; these cups are often collected and usually go unnoticed. The different designs and styles of the cups help to define and reveal the past and present cultural influences. The forms and designs of the Japanese cups vary with the specific types of teas and beverages, which usually reflects the original use that the cup was intended for.
I photographed this series on location on the island of Hokkaido in Sapporo, Japan at a customary Japanese Coffee and Tea House. Using the decor of the traditional Japanese style coffee shop, with the soft select focus and sepia tones helps me to emphasize the mood and the simple design elements of the cup. Using B/W film and soft lighting, I can evoke a gone by era and pay homage and respect to the Japanese culture.
This recent commission I just finished up was from a large scale digital print order for an Italian restaurant permanent display installation. The group of six select photographs featured Italian still life and architectural images from some of my recent publications.
The challenge was reproducing digitally the same look as my original sepia toned traditional/darkroom generated "master prints". My major concern was preserving the original look and "appearance of the sepia toned image", as well as the overall contrast, shadow and highlight details. In addition I desired my unique darkroom "full frame edge" that borders the final image which was scaled to a final print size of 50" x 50" with a 2" border.
I think that the key was an excellent drum scan which was slightly modified for all the variables mentioned above. After a couple of smaller and larger proofs were pulled we nailed down the appearance and feel of all the scenes, then pulled the final large scale prints which appeared as remarkably close as possible to the overall quality of the original prints.
Courtyard In Venezia
Original content from a 2008 Decor magazine editorial on best selling lithographic reproductions in the publishing industry.
This image was captured on film on my honeymoon in 10/2000 in Venezia, Italia. Early in the morning while my wife was sleeping I would venture out to shoot between 5AM and 9AM. As I was exploring one morning this courtyard caught my eye. I ended up trespassing (Unofficially.) I was denied permission to shoot inside and outside in the courtyard of this government marina building, that the garden was in. After official rejection to enter and shoot, I entered the premises anyway. Undetected, I thought (not aware that security cameras where all over). I carefully tried to reach the garden, then the Gates/doorway caught my eye. I shot a couple of frames, camera on tripod and the military police "gave me the boot". Next thing I know I was on street with a killer Polaroid of the scene and 6 frames I captured on film.
This was not a romantic experience. A classic case of trespassing, while exploring and trying to find a a good location to shoot. The risk factor paid off. This shot paid for my honeymoon! I didn't end up in jail for trespassing.
After photographing historic and significant private and public gardens and villas in Europe for 10 years, I decided to take a break from the gardens and villa environment and focus on significant public and civic architecture, which provide clues about the specific region and culture.
The courtyard in Venezia was personally a transition image for me. This image led me to a whole larger body of work featuring exterior and interior architectural details and panoramic style images. I often incorporate gardens, courtyards, fountains, gates and sculptures, emphasized with mood lighting, which all contribute to set the drama, tone and stage of the scene.
Sometimes premeditated or found via random exploring, curiosity and intuition, this type of imagery and style presently dominates the photography that I am still pursuing and exploring.
Caffe Asolo a Veneto
Original content from a 2008 BBC, UK production "On Your Wall".
This photograph was recorded on film in March 2004 in Asolo, Italia. This was my first day in Italia, as I arrived about 3 hours before from a 17 hour trip from California. My plans where to location scout that afternoon, so for the morning sunrise photography session I would be prepared to photograph. As usual I bring my photography gear with me when location scouting, just in case I come across an irresistible scene with the perfect lighting when doing my walk through upon arriving at a new location. This was the case with this Asolo cafe scene.
After walking around Asolo in the rain for a couple of hours, I stopped at the cafe and to dry off, and grab a doppio caffe macchiato. Relaxing with my drink I looked outside the window and was totally intrigued by the vista. The white classic iron style furniture was glowing from the rain and it appeared to have stopped raining. The sky had a perfect cloudy and illuminated glow, as the time of day was around sunset. At that point I set up my large format film panoramic camera and photographed a panoramic out take of that scene.
Afterwards I set up my Hassablad film camera and captured the cafe scene in B/W with my square format film camera. My prints are b/w photographs which are personally handcrafted and printed and sepia toned once I return back to my home and studio in California.