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We were taking a flight to Austin, Texas to photograph their first F1 Grand Prix. I was reading The New York Times and a painting of Will’s caught my eye, as I was turning the page. It was the Obituary Column – Will had passed away the day before (November 13.) We all knew it was coming but it really really hit me hard. I had spoke to Will the week before in hopes of getting together but sadly it did not work out.
I first met Will Barnet when I had an assignment to photograph him for ART & ANTIQUES MAGAZINE, back in 2005 and we’ve been friends ever since. He was an exceptional person – warm, generous, extremely talented yet humble. He’d always go that extra mile to make you feel special. With all his accomplishments and stature he never failed to ask how I was doing, what kind of art I was making, and how was Joe? He always made me feel special.
For those of you not familiar with his work, Will’s body of work ranges from universal family scenes, often but not always, using his wife, children,and pets as they connect with each other. On the other hand, his paintings go in other directions as well, exploring abstracts and the connection that can be made using bold colors & form. During this time, he was influenced by the artwork of American Indians. Will’s been a Printmaker, as well as being an Art Educator for many years. I’ve heard stories of how he’s influenced a generation of young artists. His kind, generous nature is not common in the art world but Will was his own person. It did not take away, from who he was, to share with others. He welcomed the opportunity. After the Great Depression he was very involved in the federal art project heading up the WPA, which helped artists sustain a living while continuing to make their art. He has been the recipient of many awards. This past February 2012, President Obama Awarded him the Medal of Arts for his lifetime achievement.
One Saturday, I called and asked if I could stop by to say hello. He said that he was sorry but he was going to a friend’s gallery opening and we’d have to make it another time. Joe and I decided to check out some shows ourselves that weekend and who, did we stroll into but Will. It was so important for him to see what was going on at all times.
On another day, I was in the neighborhood and called him to see if I could stop by to say hello. He said, “give me a few minutes I’m coming down, meet me at the entrance of my building.” His son Todd who I met for the first time was with him. It was a beautiful day and we sat in Gramercy Park talking like old friends reminiscing and sharing how we met. We had a good laugh about how, after I had done his portrait, I did not realize, until just before I left, that my face was covered (and I mean covered) with blue paint. All during the shoot he had found it very amusing but never said a word to me. That same day sitting in the park, he told me, that of all the famous photographers that had photographed him over the last eight decades, my photograph was his very favorite and truly the best. He then followed this statement with – including the portrait that Arnold Newman had done of him. I wish I got it on tape! Over the years, Will requested that my portrait be used alongside his work and it has been used in many museums and galleries and I’m truly honored. Recently it was used as the iconic opening photo in the book WILL BARNET AT 100.
This past New Year’s Day my cell phone rang and it was Will calling to wish Joe and myself a very Happy New Year. It was a wonderful surprise! I will cherish that phone call forever.
After going to Fretta’s Italian store for some fresh mozzarella, I walked to our local Patisserie in town for some freshly made bread (yes our Patisserie makes bread also.) Walking past The Fauchere, I saw many colorful beautiful Maple leaves that had just fallen to the ground. After picking up a couple baguettes and of course a little dessert, I collected a handful of colorful leaves and brought them back to my studio. I set up the leaves using some back light and a little side light to bring out their color and texture. A representative that worked at my bank had these little clip-on stands on her desk with advertisements for the bank. I had asked her when they were finished with them, if I could have a few because they would work very well to hold small tabletop objects in the studio. Well, I was right! They worked great to hold these leaves. Normally I would choose either to work with one leaf or three (it’s better to compose with odd numbers) but I was surprised that some of the shots with two leaves worked really well also.
Late in the afternoon when you have the sun fairly low in the background you can create an interesting effect using f/22 and the sun. Remember to open up for your subject approximately a stop and a half. You also may want to use a little fill flash if you have one.
I’ve been making colorprints for many years. I first began making “C” prints (Chromogenic prints using traditional chemicals and processes.) You make a 4×5 internegative from a transparency and then print from the internegative. I learned to color correct using color filters and I think I got pretty good at it. From there I started to play around with “R” prints (Reverse prints) which are prints made directly from a transparency. This is when Cibachrome became popular because the prints were more archival and they seemed three dimensional with their vibrant rich colors on glossy paper. They are now referred to as Ilfochrome Prints. Well I have to tell you, the “C” prints no matter how good they were, they eventually faded in the light and I don’t necessarily mean direct sunlight either. The Cibachromes were better in that respect. From there I began making digital prints using Epson Printers which I’ve been extremely happy with. When I print I am really picky and want them to be as close to the original as can be. Almost every print that has been in an exhibit and in our Gallery has been made by myself. I pride myself in my printing. One day I made a quick and dirty digital photo and brought it to friend’s home in celebration of a special day as a joke. My friends actually put it in their window and it has been there for a number of years. Every time I go over I’m amazed as it still has not noticeably faded in any way. The digital prints that are made nowadays are totally amazing in the way they hold up without fading. One day this Master printer (well kind of) was talked into trying some prints made by AdoramaPix and I was more than pleasantly surprised with the quality of their printing for the cost. When I received the prints back I was looking to tear them apart but you know what? They are amazingly good and I certainly would recommend them to my students and anyone else for that matter.
The other day I tried a different type of print, their Aluminyzed Metal Prints and again, I was totally blown away.
My partner Joe DiMaggio turned me onto AdoramaPix books and again, I was a little tentative until he showed me three books he did. Without telling me he did a book using my photos from a trip I made to France to visit my life-long friend Marie-Therése a french restauranter, and again I loved the printing.
Our friend Brian has invited us over and over again to join him in shooting a Historical Memorial Day Bike Race in New Jersey. The race is in Somerville and is the oldest bike race in the United States. Every year we have good intentions but never quite make it. This year we finally did. This is a great place to work on your sports/actin photography skills. Practice Practice Practice the more you do the better you get. I must say I was a little rusty.
I made a fun photo of a nude male runner on the beach. A few days after this photo was made, my assistant answered the phone and told me that my “Nude Dude” was calling and to pick up. The photo has since been referred to as the “Nude Dude.” The photograph is loved by both men and women alike. I’ve had so many hits from all over the world on our website. A magazine used it as a double truck spread and what a reaction it got! It also helped with sales of course. What makes this a special photograph? Possibly because of the concept and the idea of the photo and that it’s a little unusual. It has a clean, simple, uncluttered background, a pleasing blue color and my subject is a good looking male with a great physique.
The photo is a good example of a pan or panning with a camera. To do this you choose a slow shutter speed to pick up movement (shutter speed depends on variety of factors such as how fast subject is moving and what kind of effect you’d like to achieve) You pan or move your body in a fluid motion following the action of your subject and a little beyond.
I lost touch with the model a while ago, so Frankie if you’re out there I hope you’re doing well. Everybody loves the photo of you.
For anyone interested you can purchase this photo in a signed limited edition by calling our studio. It is also available as a limited edition poster which is suitable for framing for $40 plus $8 shipping on our website at http://www.dimaggio-kalish.com
Joe had a fun workshop in Dumbo on March 25th his birthday. We had quite a turn out. Everybody enjoys going to Gleason’s as it’s a one of a kind, kind of place. We had 4 students who were from other countries as well. Yes there’s Ann Raine in the front holding the reflector & Larry Malang on the right. Peter Poremba the President of Dynalite was also there to set up several lighting stations and answered lots of technical questions on his products. It was a great group!
Artist Will Barnet, legendary painter and print maker just turned 100 in May, recently received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.
Barnet received this high honor “for his contributions as an American painter, printmaker, and teacher,” according to the citation. “For over 80 years, Mr Barnet has been a constant force in the visual arts world, marrying sophistication and emotion with beauty and form,” the citation said.
Will can no longer stand, but he still paints three to four hours a day in his duplex apartment in the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park, where he and his wife Elena have lived since 1982. If you are not familiar with his work he is known for his abstract and expressionist paintings as well as his depictions of family and personal scenes. Will taught at Cooper Union and Yale, among other places. His famous students include Mark Rothko and Alex Katz.
I had an assignment from Arts & Antiques Magazine to do a spread on Will approximately 7 years ago and it was the best assignment I’ve ever had bar none. It was a total privilege and honor just to meet him, let alone photograph him. I totally admire his artwork and as a human being I’ve never met anyone quite like him. He is so genuine giving and unassuming. He is totally supportive of women in the arts and if you think about his age and his artist contemporaries you will realize that was rarely the case. Will and I have stayed in touch over the years as he has told me his favorite portrait is the one I did of him and no one has captured him the way I have. He always requests my photograph of him, to be used alongside his work and he has an obvious favorite.
I just want to totally brag here and say Will called me this past New Year’s Day to wish Joe and I a very Happy New Year. I was totally blown away! That’s what I mean about him being so special!
Here is a selections of some of Will Barnet’s Paintings –
For those of you who’ve never tried Nik’s software plug-ins I would highly recommend them. They are fabulous. With the right photos they are truly amazing. All I can say is don’t misuse them but for the occasional use on a particular photo they can really add that special something. In addition their Snapseed app for the Iphone is also a one-of-a-kind app. All the other copycat apps don’t compare in my opinion.
This is was done with their hdr software –
This was done with their Silver Efex Pro Software
Judge for yourself. Just remember one thing though. You have to have a great photo to begin with.