12 panels of Natural Stone Photography – each panel larger than life-size – printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag® 308 make the unique artwork ‘Ekklesia’ by Leslie D. Bartlett from Massachusetts, USA. We at Hahenmühle had been impressed by the idea of a huge fine art print panorama and invited Leslie to tell us more about the genre of photography he does and – most important – get his works of art printed and showcased to impress every observer.
When did you discover your passion for photography?
My passion for photography springs from my passion for juggling.
I performed for over 30 years on the stage of the Cabot Street Cinema Theatre in Beverly MA., with a Stage Magic Company – Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company.
I developed ‘juggler vision,’ an eye independent routine which permitted me to see and sense wider than 180°. This vision ultimately translated into my love of photographic panoramas of sweeping vistas.
How did you come to the world of Natural Stone photography?
My love of historic photography led to documenting droughts and newly exposed deep surfaces. What began as scenic panoramic vistas on Cape Ann, MA. became narratives based on geologic time.
Which of your projects/motifs opened the door to the art market/professional market?
My four month installation ‘Chapters on a Quarry Wall’ at the Cape Ann Museum attracted over 2,500 viewers. During the early decades of the 20th century, as the granite industry ground to a halt, quarries were left idle and soon filled with spring water. Today some are privately owned while others provide important sources of drinking water for the people of Cape Ann. I´m the latest in a small but fascinating trail of artists who have found inspiration in the quarries of Cape Ann which remain deep pools of inspiration, timeless and tranquil.
Who inspires you most?
The artist who inspires me most is ‘Shitao’ (1642–1707): a painter in the early Qing dynasty. Shitao (English = ‘Stone Wave’) is one of the most famous individualist painters of the early Qing dynasty. The art he created was revolutionary in its transgressions of the rigidly codified techniques and styles that dictated what was considered beautiful. Imitation was valued over innovation, and although Shitao was clearly influenced by his predecessors (namely Ni Zan and Li Yong), his art breaks with theirs in several new and fascinating ways.
His formal innovations in depiction include drawing attention to the act of painting itself through his use of washes and bold, impressionistic brushstrokes, as well as an interest in subjective perspective and the use of negative or white space to suggest distance. [from wikipedia entry]
How would you describe your personal photographic style?
I photograph ‘where light becomes spiritualized, where a landscape is a floating smile with keen intelligence.’ said Cezanne. I photograph quiet moments.
What is most challenging about shooting your genre of Natural Stone photography?
My greatest challenge is to replace a language of “shooting, taking, gettting a photograph”. Replace the notion of the photo safari, the killer shot, bagging the image. I wish to revitalize and to make clear through my imagery, the vitality of photography as first envisioned by photographers in the 1850s.
What importance do you place on the printed presentation of your artwork?
I take pride in printing my works at a museum level quality and edition. For me, art commences with my print in hand.
Which is your favorite Hahnemühle paper and why?
Photo Rag 308gsm. Fifteen years ago I was creating custom profiles for 8 Hahnemüle papers; ultimately Photo Rag became the single choice because the image rests upon the surface, and invites touch and emotion.
Do you have a dream project you would like to realize sometime? What’s next?
I would like to unfold EKKLESIA before an international audience and looking for options to exhibit.
Enjoy a video by Leslie praising Hahnemühle Photo Rag® as his paper of choise.