Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cultural Heritage Artists Project: David Ottenstein

Three questions for New Haven photographer David Ottenstein about his experience with the Orchard Street project.

As a local (New Haven) artist, were you aware of the Orchard Street Shul before the project?
Yes, I was aware of the Orchard Street shul. Several years ago someone in the community brought it to my attention. I photographed it then, but had always intended to go back and do some more work. This project presented the perfect opportunity for me.

Can you describe the technique you used for your photograph and how they fit into your portfolio?
Unlike much of my work, all the photographs included in the project were captured digitally. Usually I photograph on 4x5 film, then scan my negatives and print them with pigment inks. The 8 smaller images are individual exposures; however, the large, central image was created from 16 separate digital files that were stitched together in my computer. I had been experimenting with this stitching technique prior to my work on this project, but this is the first time I produced a finished exhibition piece using the technique. The prints were made with the same inks, paper and type of printer that I typically use.
To most viewers, I expect that these photographs will be indistinguishable from my 4x5 work. Combining multiple files to create a single large print yields clarity and resolution at least equal to what I can achieve with a scanned 4x5 negative.
How important for you are artist networks such as CHAP?
This is the first time I have been involved in a project through an organization like CHAP. It has been a very rewarding experience. Being part of a diverse artistic community, guided by a common theme, is a great way to work. It provides inspiration and energy in a way that working in isolation simply cannot do. I'm looking forward to seeing the exhibit and meeting more of the artists. I will likely pay attention to future opportunities for working with similar networks.

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