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Art Maker: Stephen Gingold

  • A collection of printed images by nature photographer Stephen Gingold is displayed in his Amherst home. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Nature photographer Stephen Gingold poses for a portrait in his Amherst home. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Nature photographer Stephen Gingold poses for a portrait in his Amherst home. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Nature photographer Stephen Gingold poses for a portrait beneath one of his photos in his Amherst home. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Nature photographer Stephen Gingold with some of his work in his Amherst home. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Mount Monadnock at dawn, seen from Enfield Lookout at Quabbin Reservoir.  Photo by Stephen Gingold

  • Bare trees in the snow on Quabbin Hill, Quabbin Reservoir. Photo by Stephen Gingold

  • Winter cascades in Hop Brook, Holland Glen in Belchertown, along the New England Trail. Photo by Stephen Gingold

  • A Hibiscus "Lady Baltimore" bud. Photo by Stephen Gingold

  • Nature photographer Stephen Gingold poses for a portrait in his Amherst home. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • A bullfrog in Poor Farm Swamp in Amherst. Photo by Stephen Gingold


Friday, November 10, 2017

From close-up portraits of leaves, rocks and insects, to expanded views of New England landscapes, Amherst photographer Stephen Gingold has focused his lens on nature since the mid 1970s, when he took a workshop with local photographer and naturalist John Green.

Now, as he approaches age 70, Gingold says he feels he still has “so much more to learn, and my skills, I hope, will continue to grow. Time is always providing me with new opportunities to improve my technique and see the world better around me.”

Hampshire Life: Talk about the work you’re currently doing. What does it involve, and what are you trying to achieve?

Stephen Gingold: I prefer spending my time locally, especially within the Quabbin watershed. I have various ongoing projects involving different aspects of the land there. Time, weather and light are all variables, so while there are certain enduring views, appearances change and even previously worked subjects reveal something new with each visit.

H.L.: What do you draw inspiration from? Do you ever have any “Eureka!” moments?

S.G.: There are definitely times when some new way of seeing brings things into focus that had eluded me before. Composition is a constantly changing way of seeing things.

H.L.: How do you know when your work is finished?

S.G.: I’m not sure it is ever “finished.” As my skills improve, which is a lifelong process, I will often revisit a location or subject. Same is true for processing skills. Ansel Adams often would rework his iconic images, although I am pretty sure it was for aesthetic purposes rather than skill level.

H.L.: Have you ever had a “mistake” — a project that seemed to be going south — turn into a wonderful discovery instead?

S.G.: One reason most photographers archive even their “failures” is the possibility of doing something new with them down the road. Whether through better software or improved skill, some things can be rescued, and I’ve had that happen.

H.L.: Name two artists you admire or who have influenced your work. What about their art appeals to you?

S.G.: Eliot Porter has always been a great influence on my photography, especially his way of distilling chaos into something that is both appealing and of visual sense. Winslow Homer’s control of dim lighting has also influenced my shooting in early morning light.

H.L.: What’s the most recent exhibition/concert/book that you’ve experienced and enjoyed?

S.G.: Guy Tal’s collection of essays, “More Than A Rock.” [Subtitle: “Essays on Art, Creativity, Photography, Nature, and Life.”]

H.L.: Dream dinner party — who would you invite?

S.G.: A gathering of the members of The Hudson River School talking about light and composition would definitely be a dream. And what landscape photographer wouldn’t love to spend a few hours with Ansel Adams?

— Steve Pfarrer

Stephen Gingold’s photography was recently on view at Mass Audubon's Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton. His website is stephengingoldphoto.com.