Updated: Oct 5, 2020
We have all been missing genuine connection in this very difficult year. The Main Gallery’s Meet the Artist Interview Series was born in the hardship of that absence. We have missed you, our friends, neighbors, colleagues and patrons, and missed the magic of seeing art morph into a new form based on your reaction to what you see. No digital image can take the place of seeing original art in person: the size, the texture, the movement… the tiny, crafted details that mark the artist’s journey of choices through the piece.
Until we have the opportunity to see you in person, we thought you might like to know a little bit more about the unique and talented group of artists that make up The Main Gallery. It isn’t a substitute for our genuine interest in you and the connections that make us thrive, but we hope it helps give you a bit of a sense of the person behind the art. Please let us know your thoughts on this series, and what you’d like to hear more about. Click here for contact options:
We’d love to hear from you!
Where did you grow up and how do you think that influenced your art?
I was born in India. My father used to work in a Tea Garden at the foothills of the Himalayas. I grew up immersed in the pristine beauty of the Himalayas, an influence strong enough to influence my art many years later. I didn’t realize my artistic inclinations until I finished my study in Computer Science and migrated to the United States in 1992. I remember seeing the first snow in my life in Yosemite on the Merced river. The intense beauty of the scene brought tears to my eyes. I decided to capture the splendors of natural landscapes and bought my first camera.
Have any particular artists influenced your style? What intrigued you about them, and/or what did you learn from them?
Back in the year 2000, I was strolling through the famed Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley, a fine art photography gallery founded by the father of fine art photography, Ansel Adams. Suddenly, my gaze was fixated on this exquisite photograph of a pine tree in fog. Something happened to me at that moment. I had goosebumps all over my body! I had no idea that a photograph could be so subtle, yet so expressive, until this moment. The name of the photographer was Charles Cramer. I immediately signed up for a fine art printing workshop with him in the fall of 2000. Charlie would eventually become my mentor and inspiration, the person single-handedly responsible for bringing me to the fine art photography world. Charlie taught me to play with subtleties of light and color, the nuances that make a photograph truly “sing.” Other than Charlie, I have been influenced by Joel Meyerowitz’ sensitivity with color, the use of emotions in landscapes by Paul Caponigro, the minimalist images of Franco Fontana, and the poetic landscapes of Yuan Li, to name a few.
Tell us more about your process of making fine art photographic prints.
It starts with capturing the photograph. I am drawn to subtle, expressive, diffused light. So, I find myself busy with my camera in “bad weather.” Fog, storm, snow, and clouds add mood to my landscapes. Forests and trees are my favorite landscape subjects. I visit the same landscape again and again so that the landscape accepts my presence and allows me to look deeper. I try to capture the mood of the landscape that resonates with my feelings. The next step is to make a fine print from the photograph. I make global adjustments in Adobe Lightroom and then import the image into Adobe Photoshop. In Photoshop I refine the image in successive adjustment layers, remaining true to the feelings of the original scene. I am a big believer of the quote by Ansel Adams, “Negative is the score, print is the performance.”
How do you keep yourself motivated and growing as a photographer?
It is true that years of working on the same subject in the same style can restrict the growth of your artistic soul. I try to add new dimensions to my portfolios from time to time. For example, after working on pure landscapes for a few years, I started experimenting with adding human figures to landscapes, and my “Chit Chat” series was born. A few years after that I started experimenting with floral closeups. Recently, I have become fascinated with Indian classical dance and have been taking photographs in dance recitals. Venturing out in different directions keeps me engaged and motivated in my art making process. Also, I try to expand my artistic visions by learning new styles of photography from the masters of photography in their respective fields. These days online courses have become a boon towards photography learning.
What advice would you give to a newly emerging photographer?
With the advent of digital photography, making a technically sound photograph has become relatively easy. So, my advice to emerging photographers is to work on developing your unique vision, bringing out your authentic self. Immerse yourself in the works of masters of photography and other fine art media. Visit fine art galleries and museums. Borrow books from local libraries on fine art photography and painting. Sign up for photography workshops with photographers whose work you truly admire. Keep taking photographs. It will take some time to forget the existence of the camera, but with enough practice, it will become an extension of yourself. At that time your photographs will become works of art.
What do you hope your collectors and patrons take away from your work?
My photographs are not literal recordings of the landscape; rather they are my interpretations of the landscape that resonated with the feeling I experienced at the time I photographed it. If the same feeling resonates with collectors of my photographs, I will feel successful as an artist.
For more information about Arup and his artwork, please visit Arup Biswas