“Have camera, will travel”: Camerarts, the present and future of the art of photographing art

by leslierankowfinearts

Studio,  Ali Elai, Camerarts

Studio, Ali Elai, Camerarts

IN THE  NEW YORK TIMES “ART” SECTION LAST SUNDAY  IN A FRONT-PAGE ARTICLE ENTITLED ” THE NEXT BIG PICTURE” BY PHILIP GEFTER, TWO FORTHCOMING PHOTOGRAPHY  EXHIBITIONS IN NEW YORK WERE FEATURED. ONE TAKES PLACE AT THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR PHOTOGRAPHY, ENTITLED, “WHAT IS A PHOTOGRAPH?” http://www.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/what-is-a-photograph WHICH POSES THE QUESTIONS THAT THE NEW TECHNOLOGY RAISES FOR ARTISTS WORKING TODAY. A RICHLY DOCUMENTED SHOW THAT INCLUDES FILM, VIDEO, AND PHOTOGRAPHY,   ” A WORLD OF ITS OWN: PHOTOGRAPHIC  PRACTICES IN THE STUDIO”, OPENS  AT MoMA  IN EARLY FEBRUARY, http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1430 AND FURTHER EXPLORES THE CURRENT DIALOGUE BETWEEN  THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF PHOTOGRAPHY AS IT EXPERIENCES THE PHENOMENAL SHIFT TO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY AND  ITS IMPLICATIONS TO THE DIRECTION OF THIS ART FORM.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/arts/design/with-cameras-optional-new-directions-in-photography.html?_r=0

IN THE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHING ART, HOWEVER, THE CONSTRUCTED IMAGE, CREATED IN THE STUDIO AND/OR ON THE COMPUTER, HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE MODUS OPERANDI WHETHER THE TECHNICAL MEANS WERE TRADITIONAL (CAMERA/OBJECT) OR INNOVATIVE (DIGITAL).

TODAY, WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE EXPERT ALI ELAI, OF CAMERARTS, SPEAK ABOUT THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY. CAMERARTS HAS A LONG AND RESPECTED HISTORY WORKING WITH MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, PRIVATE COLLECTORS AND DEALERS IN RESPONSE  TO ALL THEIR PHOTOGRAPHIC NEEDS.

TO REACH ALI ELAI AND HIS TEAM, CALL CAMERARTS AT  212-517-3982 OR EMAIL camerarts@gmail.com

ALI, DO THE IMAGES DIFFER FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES SUCH AS A MUSEUM PUBLICATION OR A POSTING ON A GALLERY’S WEBSITE OR PRIVATE COLLECTOR’S ART MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

I photograph artworks according to the clients’ needs. I recently made life-size reproduction of an client’s collection printed on canvas. To do that I needed to first photograph the works on 8×10 transparency film in order to get the highest resolution and finest image quality in scanning. This takes time for film processing, hi-res drum scanning and proof printing before the final product. If the need for the image is for the web insertion then a small file would be sufficient. Although, the process of creating the image regarding lighting, etc. is the same. In other words , the process of photographing do not differ based on who the end client is. We do work with clients to suit their particular photographic needs, which might affect the cropping, lighting, or position of the artwork, among other aspects.

WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF SERVICES THAT CAMERARTS PROVIDES?

We offer a complete line of art photography services, including transparencies, prints, film duplication, retouching and photo assemblies. All of that is done by appointment, whether for on-location setup or setup in our studio. 

WHAT IS THE GEOGRAPHICAL FOOTPRINT THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO SERVE?

Basically, “have gun will travel.” We are based in NYC but we travel as far as there is a call for photography. I have traveled to many parts of the country and even overseas throughout the years.

HOW DO YOU ANTICIPATE FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY CHANGING IN THE FUTURE?

A work of art has always been presented by showing a picture of it, whether for sale or publication. This will never change. The only thing that is different now and will continue to evolve is the way in which the picture is presented. Changes to digital technology will drive that evolution. The debate as to whether photography is an art or a science promises to get even more interesting.   

IN WHAT WAYS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IT CHANGE?

I hope that the younger generations will take the time to find a renewed appreciation for the art of traditional photography and darkroom work. There is more than enough room for both digital and traditional photography, but we shouldn’t forget what photography is at its most elemental: the manipulation of light and exposure, and an art just like painting, sculpture, music or poetry. These days when I set up my large format 8×10 transparency Deerdorf camera in a gallery to photograph an art work, puzzled interns stare at me and my large contraption without any idea what it is I am using and doing. I might as well be pulling a rabbit from a hat. Of course, when I then replace the transparency camera with my Hasselblad digital camera, the onlookers regain their facial color and sense of familiarity and go back about their business. Makes you wonder whether Ansel Adams ever found himself in such a position.

ALI, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUCH A POPULAR AND INFORMATIVE CONTRIBUTION.

ONE OF THE ANNUAL EvENTS THAT I ANTICIPATE WITH GREAT PLEASURE IN EARLY MARCH  IS THE ART SHOW, THE ART DEALERS ASSOCIATION’S  STELLAR FAIR AT THE PARK AVENUE ARMORY. ORGANIZED BY THE ADAA TO BENEFIT THE HENRY STREET SETTLEMENT. LEADING ART DEALERS AND GALLERIES WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE RESPECTED ART DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA (ADAA) SHOWCASE MUSEUM QUALITY CONTEMPORARY ART AND MODERN MASTERS. IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO BRING CLIENTS TO THE ART SHOW SINCE THE FAIR  PROVIDES  A DIVERSiTY OF STYLES AND PERIODS ALWAYS  OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY.

IT IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE DORSEY WAXTER, PRESIDENT OF THE ADAA, TAKE THE TIME TO  SHARE THE HISTORY, GOALS AND SERVICES OF THE ADAA WITH US IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOGS.

PLEASE JOIN US!

MANY THANKS.