Lindsay K. Gates is a studio artist working out of Milford, Pennsylvania located along the Delaware River where NY, PA & NJ meet. She likes to transform mundane materials into extraordinary works of art.
She had contacted me a few weeks ago about photographing one of her pieces, which will be part of a fiber show to be held in Philadelphia some time this spring. The photo will be used in the show catalog as well as for a feature to appear in the spring issue of Fiber Art Now. I cannot show you the piece I photographed. At least not until after it appears in the magazine and Lindsay has had a chance to show it off to her regular customers so I will have to show you another piece I photographed for her in November of last year.
I photograph her art against a gray seamless paper that is spread over at least 10 feet so I can get the background light to fade from bright along the bottom to dark along the top. I typically use two studio lights with either umbrellas or softboxes. Because she wants to be able to show the fine details of her work, I usually shoot it at f/11 ISO 160 at a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second using either a Canon 1Ds Mark III with a 70-200 lens.
After I finished with her sculpture, I told her I wanted to create her headshot. This was a pre-planned goal so I had Jackrabbit batteries attached to my Dynalite Uni400s instead of plugging them into an electrical outlet. I had her step outside into the Poconos forest and I simply carried my two lights along. We went outside because I wanted to use the mid-day sun which is usually too harsh for a portrait, but with my two strobes I could use the sun to create a halo around her. It was nice and quick. I had her stand with the sun “behind” her, right foot forward, left foot back, dip the shoulder, lower the chin, three shots with my Leica M9 with a 90mm Summarit at f/11, ISO 160 and we were done with her portrait.
I almost always put the sun behind my subjects so they do not have to squint. The style works in just about any kind of sunlight but you need a flash to fill in the shadows. You can also go without a flash, but you will either have to shoot manually after metering the light falling on your subject or adding 1.5-2.0 EV to your settings. Give my portrait style a shot. It works for group shots as well.
Mark Chuck is an avid fisherman. He will travel great distance to witness one of nature’s fascinating life cycles. Every fall salmon migrate upstream in great numbers overcoming many obstacles to spawn, then die. This is a very emotional experience for him. Through the medium of ceramic sculpture, his work attempts to capture a process that documents an end to the salmon’s life cycle. Beginning with the biological refusal to accept nourishment, the salmon whose ability to self nourish atrophies, leaving only the option to exists off stored body fat for perhaps two to three months, begins a journey that culminates in a climax of fertilization and disintegration. The decomposing salmon at the end of its life cycle becomes nourishment for other organisms in the aquatic ecosystem that ensures survival of succeeding generations. For Mark, the observations of these phenomena are extremely meaningful. Nature and its conservation are compelling realities and provide for me the opportunity to artistically communicate his love of nature through his medium, clay. This interaction of his observation of nature and his primal material clay brings me to the essence of a sublime inner fulfillment as an artist. Mark allows the clay to be itself as a primal material with its cracks and fissures, to evolve as the salmon, having no choice but to be as nature intended. A process controlled by an inner program of nature that returns through self propagation the certainty of a plan that ensures their kernel of life on earth and allows me in reflection to be a small part of an ongoing creative process.
Norma Bernstock, who lives in Milford, Pennsylvania, writes and creates art in her studio in the woods. She is a member of the Upper Delaware Writers Collective and a founding member of the cooperative photography gallery, the Highlands Photo Guild, where her images are part of the permanent collection.
Norma’s specialty is The Polaroid image transfers, which are one-of-a-kind photographs. The print is made by projecting an image onto Polaroid 669 film directly by using a camera or by projecting a slide onto the film in the darkroom or by using one of several pieces of equipment designed for this purpose. The film is then peeled apart prematurely before all the dyes have fully transferred to the positive. The negative is then placed (or transferred) onto high quality hot press watercolor paper. The transferred image may be enhanced with water color paints, pastels or pencils. Image transfers have been described as a “crossover” art form. The final print, with or without further manipulation, acquires a painterly look that blurs the distinction between photography and other art forms.
I recently photographed Bill Tersteeg in his workshop, which is located below his gallery next to his home in Dalton, PA. He is a ceramic sculptor who has worked in clay for the past 35 years. His work is both wheel thrown and hand built. The pieces reflect environmental themes of Northeastern Pa. He uses the raku firing method after hand painting the designed surface of the sculpture.
Tea Pot Sculpture by Lindsay K. Gates, who is a studio artist working out of Milford (located in northeast PA, along the Delaware River where NY, PA & NJ meet). She was recently awarded a 2005 Individual Creative Artists Fellowship by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Her work is exhibited and collected internationally. She is represented by the Snyderman-Works Galleries, Philadelphia, PA. Lindsay’s work has been featured on the cover of Metalsmith Magazine and on the pages of American Craft Magazine, FiberArts and Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot Magazine and Surface Design Journal as well as numerous other publications.
Photos by Alex Cena