Friday, December 20, 2013

Video of Craig Sterling - "Photographing the Familiar in an Unfamiliar Way"

After seeing my photographs, many individuals exclaim, "I've seen that before, but never quite like that." What better way is there to describe the imagery that I have created of noted landmarks here in Washington, D.C. and around the world?

This short video by talented filmmaker and photographer Dean Pagani, explores my creative approach for making meaningful images of places that we are all so familiar. Enjoy!

My studio and gallery is located in The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, VA

Friday, July 5, 2013

An Art Survey

Jay Leno, Bill Mahr and CNN have all at one time or another conducted surveys out in the street of typical Americans. They ask to name the Secretary of State, Vice President or the Governor of their home state. Much to my amazement, the vast majority of people surveyed don't have a clue ... AMAZING!

As most of the visitors to my Blog are aware, I have been a resident artist at The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia since 2001. We are a 76,000 square foot art center on the Potomac River right across from Washington, D.C. We are the major draw to historic Old Town Alexandria. We attract nearly 500,000 visitors from all over the U.S. and throughout the world.  I suppose it is safe to say that we are THE premiere art center in the U.S. and maybe worldwide.

Over the past few weeks I have been doing a little survey on my own. On a typical week I probably attract 100-150 individuals. I have been asking if they could name 5 famous photographers and or 5 famous artists ... sculptors, painters, etc. Out of nearly 100 very informal surveys, the predominate answer for "famous photographers" was Ansel Adams. Maybe 10% of the people knew specific photos, but not the name of the photographer. Maybe 50% knew of Annie Leibovitz. Names like Edward Weston, Richard Avedon, SebastiĆ£o Salgado, Keith Carter or Michael Kenna drew blanks. In fact, many visitors to my studio carry expensive cameras and claim to be photographers!

When it came to naming "famous artists," the overwhelming majority answered, Picasso, Van Gogh, DaVinci, Renoir, Rubens and Rembrandt. Most never heard of Willem de Kooning, Chuck Close, Richard Diebenkorn or Jackson Pollack or Damien Hirst for that matter.

What does this say about the public's knowledge of art? Do we only care about the Kim Kardashian, Beyonce and Duck Dynasty ... I guess so!   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Interesting Exhibition In Old Town Alexandria

2 of my images ( Pinhole & Holga images) are included in an exhibition ... Process: Photography at The Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia ... right up the street from my studio at The Torpedo Factory Art Center. It's a really cool show curated by their President, Twig Murray. If you interested in photographic process, definitely check it out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Venetian Comparison

iPhone Image
Holga Image
I spent 3 weeks in November 2011 wandering the streets of Venice. Late one evening on my way back to our apartment from dinner in San Polo, I walked passed the old entrance-way to Casa Goldoni. I had passed by this location many times over the years, but never payed much attention since the doorway had always been blocked with bars and a heavy door. That night in November was different ... the door was open. Upon peering inside I saw these ancient steps and what appeared to be a well-head. I thought the lighting was amazing. My camera was in our apartment and image-making was beckoning. What to do? Well, I whipped out my trusty iPhone, rested it on the iron bars that blocked the doorway and made a few exposures. Very cool, but typical of camera phones, was grainy and noisy due to the auto ISO that most camera phones utilize. ISO 1200 on an iPhone is not particularly smooth! By the time I ran back to our apartment and grabbed my Holga, the door was closed ... darn, missed opportunity ... oh well!

As it turned out, I returned to Venice in March 2012 ... just a few months later. On my agenda was to revisit Casa Goldoni with a "real camera." After dinner (3 slices of pizza), I headed back over to check out Casa Goldoni. Ah, the door was open and the lights were on. There was no way I could use a tripod due to the position of the iron bars on the doorway. Consequently, I placed my Holga on one of the cross-beams and held it snugly in place with my hand for several bracketed exposures. Got it!

Couldn't wait to see how much BETTER the film shot was in comparison to my iPhone photo. Boy, was I surprised ... same subject, same vantage point and basically the same lighting. Not the same aesthetics though. Check them out for yourself ... two totally different images.

Lesson learned ... sometimes the best camera for the job is the one you have with you!