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Barnaby HallI was first drawn to photography through the private and mysterious world of the darkroom. The alchemy, craft and pleasure of printing remains an essential part of my professional and personal life. The sumptuous illustrations in the books I read as a child instilled in me a desire to make pictures. It seemed logical to create images inspired by the written word.
The Art of the Book Cover
My work, spanning twenty years in the U.K. and the U.S.A., can be seen on book jackets produced by most of the major publishing houses as well as magazines ranging from Penthouse and Esquire to Newsweek and the New Scientist. Over the years, I have developed a recognizable style of photo illustration. Reading, conceptualizing, and recognizing the parameters of an enormous variety of projects. Organization, shooting and enjoying the risk and excitement of experimental darkroom techniques have given me a wealth of experience and knowledge of the entire process.
In the past few years, I have been invited to speak about my work to students at both the International Center of Photography and the School of Visual Arts. These encounters enabled me to express and demonstrate the intellectual and creative exploration involved in translating the essence of a piece of writing into a photograph: the language of pure shapes, the elegant simplicity of conventional or unconventional cropping and composition, and the informed use of the inherent qualities of film, light and paper. I believe that discovery, understanding and the ability to apply these disciplines is useful in all areas of photography Whether it be fashion, photojournalism, still life or landscape, undying curiosity and an educated eye are vital. This is the key to the photographer’s ability to capture and print his or her vision with uninhibited passion and integrity.
My current challenge is to use my past experience as a photo illustrator, create my own projects and adapt my craft to the embryonic world of digital photography.
Barnaby Hall (April 2008)