Category Archives: Interviews or Guest Posts


I believe having good images of your work is one of the most important things you need.  Before I met Joel, back in the days of slide submissions, i had some work photographed.   When I met Joel, I showed them to him, and without taking a close look, he said they were too blue and the color was not corrected.  Watching him photograph artwork and spending time in photoshop, I finally asked him to write a guest blog for me about the advantages of using a professional.

Joel Conison was a commercial photographer for over 20 years in Cincinnati.  During that time he photographed countless works of art for the Taft Museum,  so he has extensive expertise in photographing all types of artwork – both 2d and 3d work.   At the end of what Joel wrote, I included two images, one that was corrected and one that wasn’t.   I think you will be able to tell the difference between them.  But I will say since they are images of my work, I know the second image is right on with the correct color.

The following is Joel’s blog

There are a number of reasons to hire a professional photographer to photograph your art work. One of them is that they are a professional and have done this before. A pro knows how to properly light your work with the proper equipment. Yes, you can buy the same equipment, I’d be happy to tell you what I use. But, do you want to go that expense? Do you want to take the time and practice to learn how to do that when you could be making art?
A professional also has a light meter which allows them to know if the light is evenly covering your work. Also a professional is using a professional camera. A point & shoot camera  will work but only records jpg files. That’s fine for the web & submissions but not if you want prints unless your final size of the file is the size you want to print. 
Another issue is photographing pieces that have been framed & behind glass. What is needed for this are two filters, one for the camera & one for the lights, each light. The light needs to be polarized in order to remove the reflection. Without filters on both camera lens & both lights you can not remove the entire reflection. 
There is also the need to bracket on occasion, which means making a lighter and darker exposure than the “normal” exposure. This allows the photographer to choose the “correct” exposure. This is essential when using the polarizing filters because a meter reading is too difficult to take as you can’t take the filter off of the lens because the filter is turned (rotated) until the reflection disappears. The correct exposure is determined by placing a black & white step wedge next to the art work & determining the correct exposure by looking at the step wedge. A step wedge is a series of increasing darker grays beginning at white & progressing to black. For really good files you want to capture that art work in RAW format, which brings another question. 
Are you competent with Photoshop, or do you have a few months to battle through the learning curve? A Pro is going to provide two files for every art work. One will be a jpg file for web, submissions & email, and also a psd file (hi-res) for publications. All digital files should be neutralized, meaning there is no color bias in the file (is it too red, too blue, etc) and also sharpened. No matter how well you focus the camera all digital files need to be sharpened. It’s the nature of the way digital capture works that sharpening is required for all files.
So in summation it’s a good idea to have a pro photograph your work because they have the proper lights, camera, photoshop experience and additional  skilsl that you might not posses. Submitting bad files digital files is the same as submitting bad slides.
If you are interested in getting your artworked photographed for a reasonable fee, contact Joel at


Lance and I have not only painted together for years and we have even shown our work together many times.I was intriqued about his new “Face” series and I wanted to learn more about his process. I knew he began by seeing a face in an inanimate object (i.e. the more obvious ones are seeing a face in a house or the front of a car), but I wanted to know where he went from there, so I posed several questions to him.Read on and see his answers to his interesting approach to art.

I know you are an architect by trade, but when did you begin shifting over to fine art? I took a painting class about 15 years ago and was hooked immediately. It brought back alot of memories of creating art in my youth. (Painting to the left is FAMILY+REUNION)

Has your style changed from when you began as an artist? I don’t think I really had a style to begin with, it was just a matter of putting paint on paper. As I progressed, a certain style emerged. For a while, I vassilated between abstract and something more representational. But, I have pretty much adapted an abstract style. However I make personal connections to literature, music and pop culture.

Can you explain this series? This series began with finding a face (of sorts) in the still life (basically a grouping of objects). I find a rudimentary face and base my initial composition on that. As the painting progresses, the face may appear and disappear and the composition that remains becomes the most important thing.

What medium are you using? For the face series, it was back to basics for me. I had become enamored with mixed media where I could throw together a bunch of varying media and then solve the final composition with a little drawing. I wanted to see if I was using the drawing (on top of paintings) as a crutch. So, I limited myself to acrylic paint on canvas for this series. There was some collage in a few, but this was from “painted over” previous paintings.

Of the 4 images displayed here, I see the palette is very similar. How did you choose the palette? Because I work on several pieces at the same, I am using the same colors on all when I’m finalizing the image.

I see the relationship between the titles and the paintings, except for the one titled “Without at Name”, will you explain this? That is the name of a song by Kisschasy. I know it is pretty obscure, but it held meaning for me. (Painting to the left is WITHOUT A NAME)

What visual elements do you repeat in this series? There are alot of curves, to make it lyrical. There is also a good change in values, and I use some form of stripes and bands in each one.

How do you know when a piece is finished? I like to get outside the critique, because for me, an internal knowledge or satisfaction that I know it is complete works for me.

Do you have any plans to exhibit this series in the future? Sure, any ideas? I have submitted it to competitions and galleries. I will keep you posted when it is up somewhere.

Who is your favorite artist? I don’t know if I have a favorite, as there are several artists that speak to me. I get an adranline rush out of Ann Hamilton, but I was super excited when I recently saw the back of a Rubens/ I am also influenced by great architecture for le Corbusier to Graves to Calitrava

Who do you consider your biggest influences in art? My mom and dad and brother had plein air outings when I was a kid. They all had easels while I did somersaults in the grass. I think in some ways Franz Klein and Rodin. Wierd combo, eh? But, their work both dealt with human figures and also drawn to bodies and faces.

What do you see in your future as an artist? My future is so bright. I will just continue to create art and see where it takes me. I am taking paths as they come, but not really forging new territory or looking for wealth of fame. I wouldn’t turn it down if it came. (Painting to the left is WISE AND DEEP AS THE SEA)

Thank you Lance for taking the time to answer these questions thoughtfully and honestly. However, I have to disagree on your last answer. I think you are forging new territory by continuing to learn and explore new techniques in art.

After reading this, if you think I have left anything out, please leave a comment. And you can continue to follow this series with Lance on his blog.