Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Without photography most people would never be aware of the art being produced by traditional artists in the world.  So, when an artist commissions me to photographically showcase his work I take the task very seriously and do my best to visually describe the art in its “best light”.

Chris, a local artist, came to the studio with some of his glass art saying he needed really good photos of his art to enter into the biennial, juried kiln-glass, competition sponsored by Bullseye Glass. This is an international competition and exhibition for emerging artists in kiln formed glass.  They must enter photographs of their art because the shipping and receiving (with breakage and liability) of such unique delicate, pieces is out of the question.

This first piece is a shallow bowl and with most of Chris’ art pieces, that were translucent, the challenge was showing the translucent color and lighting the front surface with balanced lighting.
f18.0 @ 1/200 sec., ISO 200 Lens @ 70mm
The set-up is your typical table top with a small background support and lots of black velvet.  The key with his art was strong backlight (sometimes two) and a snooted “flying” spot (on a boom arm) to skim the artwork’s front surface.  Here’s the basic set-up…

The piece you see on the table Chris titled “The Blanket” and that’s what it looks like—a petrified woven blanket of glass. It’s thick and dense so I brought in two backlights—one hitting the blanket’s front edge to illustrate that thickness. To illustrate the blanket’s lumpy texture, I brought the snooted spot to the back edge of the blanket to skim the length of its front surface.

Here’s what that did…

f22.0 @ 1@200 sec., ISO 200, lens at 50mm
Next, I placed the “blanket” flat on the top of my flash head, with the small reflector, and moved the snooted spot low skimming from the top (long side) of the piece.

f20.0 @ 1/200 sec., ISO 200, lens at 50mm
The image above is the one that did it for Chris. That image made Chris one of the 32 finalists in the competition out of hundreds of entries. Then all the finalists’ art work went on a national tour followed by an exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington State.

I told Chris, “You know now you’ve got to display this piece the way I lit it for it to show well!” Chris said, “Yeah, I know….” and then he gave me his huge smile and shook my hand and thanked me for my help putting him on the artistic map!  That was back in 2012 and the reason I’m doing this blog is that Chris called me this week saying he wants me to photograph his newest glass art for the upcoming Bullseye Glass competition next month.

Sounds like fun! I love this kind of challenge…

’Til next week…as always, if you have a comment or questions send them my way…

Author: Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman, Certified
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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