A tweet on Twitter by Stefan Falke – German photographer based in New York – hashtagged
#paper #hahnemuehle #limitededitions etc. drew our attention to his exciting project. La Frontera is a growing contemporary artistic and photographic portfolio which is printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag® Ultra Smooth. The portfolio will be on display at Triennale of Photography in Hamburg (Germany) in June 2015. We invited Stefan Falke for a quick Q&A session and like to share his answers, images and the high-end portfolio box filled with his work with you.
Q: What is your La Frontera project about?
A: For my La Frontera project I visit artists who live and work close to the Mexican border with the United States in what used to be some of the world’s most dangerous cities. So far I photographed 180 artists along both sides of the entire 2,000 mile long divide to show the vibrant cultural side of a region that is usually portrayed by the international media with a sole focus on violent crime.
Q: How many artists did you portrait?
A: 180 artists. I started the project in Tijuana in 2008, when things were really bad in some cities. I have visited most cities along the entire border by now, some cities more than once.
Q: How do you find the artists and locations you want to capture them in?
A: I usually do some online research on a few artists in the region or city that I am going to visit. I then meet and photograph them. Everybody is extremely helpful with this project because of its positive nature. They often bring me to their favorite artists. I don’t want to know whom I meet before I go somewhere. That way I don’t get to judge them or their art beforehand and it keeps it more exciting, and I am getting to know many artists whom I would not have found on the internet. I also always visit the local art museums and institutions, their directors are always very helpful too in suggesting artists to visit. I try to photograph the artists in their studios or homes, or we go to where their artwork is, often in public places, like murals or sculptures. I have photographed performing and writing artists too, in which cases I come up with an idea when we meet. Sometimes we go to the border itself.
Q: How do you offer La Frontera edition prints to whom?
A: In support of my project I am offering the LA FRONTERA Limited Edition Portfolio Box with 12 16×20 inch signed and numbered prints (+1 bonus print of the US-Mexico border).
The box comes in a limited edition of only 15 and is curated by New York based curator Julie Grahame. The single prints are available in an additional edition of 15 and every other image from the project is also available as single edition prints in 3 sizes. I am offering the portfolio box and single prints mostly to collectors and to individuals, companies and institutions who have a special interest in US-Mexico border issues.
Q: Which Hahnemühle Digital FineArt paper do you print on and why?
A: We print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag® Ultra Smooth 305 gsm paper because its obvious quality in reproducing vibrant colors, a very neutral white, an overall stunning impression and an outstandingly nice ‘touching’ quality which is important because the prints come in a box and will be taken in and out of it for viewings. – of course with cotton gloves.
Q: Who does the prints?
A: My trusted printer is Carl Saytor, the owner of Luxlab in New York. His favorite paper is Hahnemühle and he suggested the Photo Rag® Ultra Smooth 305 gsm when we started to print the series for the portfolio box and for an exhibition at Photoville 2014, New York. We used the same paper for the exhibition. After years of seeing my own photography on computer screens only it was pure joy and excitement when Carl showed me the first run of the prints. It is a totally different experience and the excellent quality of the reproductions of my work on Hahnemühle paper definitely had a lot to do with it!
The online page showing my prints is at http://borderartists.com/shop/
Q: You are working for LAIF photo agency and as a commercial photographer as German in NY. What´s your daily business?
A: Besides photographing interiors for regular clients like Saks Fifth Avenue and shooting editorial stories and portraits for international magazines I am very busy with bringing my La Frontera project to the next level. Additional funding is my main focus at the moment. More visits to border artists are planned. A book about it has already been published in Germany last year and I am now working on the US-Mexican version. Maybe even more important is my goal to create a great website for the project that one day may connect artists and art institutions of the entire border. My humble version of it is already online at borderartists.com. And I´m realy excited about displaying my portfolio at Triennale of Photography in Hamburg (Germany) in June. I am also preparing a project about the art scene in Detroit.
Thanks to Stefan Falke and good luck for the ongoing project!
STEFAN FALKE PHOTOGRAPHY