Ever try to photograph your own artwork? Seems easy. Isn’t. There are a million blogs, how-tos, YouTube videos etc. etc. online, but the task is onerous. Amos and I certainly tried our best when he was photographing work for college applcations. We did the lay-it-all-on-the-ground-on-a-sunny-day shoot (not bad, the lighting at least was perfectly even - too bad I can’t focus a camera), the “use an old copy stand” or “downshooter” as some people call it (not nearly big enough / high enough away from the larger pieces), the buy-two-lights-at-Lowes-and-set-up-a-studio-in-the-garage-with-a-tripod shoot (good enough to get into CalArts but still not perfect), but when it was time to create high-resolution, good enough for galleries, images, I gave up and called in the experts.
I remembered that Nick Stover, a former student of mine, had phenomenally crisp portfolio images he aquired from a super-secret-resource. Turns out the secret sauce was Simone Associates , a full-service studio in Lebanon, PA, that has an exceptional setup for food, fashion and still life work, and who were absolutely familiar with the constraints of shooting flat artwork. After photographer Pammi Schaeffer and I met, dried our eyes (she’s a mom) and took a long look at the work, we set up a fairly efficient system with the help of Paige McClatchie, our excellent ALBF intern, and Joey Strain, one of Amos’s best art friends, willing to lend a hand / arm / shoulder. Paige and Joey swapped out each piece and we shot from largest to smallest, with Pammi carefully focusing and lighting each piece to bring out the smallest details and textures like gold ink, impasto paint surfaces, transparent overpainting, and delicate linework. The results are so gratifying - to finally be able to zoom in and read all the tiny comments and intricate details on the paintings in absolute crisp focus. We narrowed the selection down to 64 works, and got them in camera in digital form by about 2 pm. These will be great resources for the website, first show, researchers and catalog. I highly reccommend not struggling with this task on your own if you can possibly afford a pro.