WPPI: You’ve been printing on metal for a while
now. How did you get into it?
RF: A few years ago I met Alan Blazar, founder of
Blazing Editions, when he saw my work on display at
Art Miami. He introduced me to the idea of printing
my photographs on metal—something his company
specializes in. So I started experimenting with
ChromaLuxe’s aluminum surfaces, which use the
process of dye sublimation to infuse images onto the
metal. What’s great about printing on metal, besides
its richness, is that I can get any surface I want out of
the prints. Also, the durability is amazing. The metal is
archival and I don’t have to put glass in front of it.
WPPI POWER OF PRINT
Robert Farber on the Evolution
of his Signature Style
PHOTO © ROBERT FARBER
WPPI: What do you find the most beneficial
about your relationship with Blazing Editions and
RF: They’ve perfected the use of applying metal
to various surfaces. And we’re able to experiment
together with new media. Now we’re experimenting with printing Polaroid SX-70s on metal—they’re
able to put it together so there’s matte paper on the
outside and glossy metal in the center so it has the
feel of SX-70s.
WPPI: What body of work are you most excited
RF: “Deterioration Series: A Collaboration with Time”
(pictured left) is a project that I’m about to release
that’s really special to me. I noticed film I had taken in
the 1970s were stored in non-archival plastic sleeves
and had started to deteriorate. They were from my
classic fashion series with supermodels of the time. I
was upset when I first noticed what was happening,
and I returned to revisit them from time to time. Then,
I noticed a perfect natural e;ect that had happened.
At that point, I scanned the transparencies, resulting
in new life in the works themselves, all-natural,
organic images; no Photoshop, just a collaboration
with time. This is the most important project to date
for me and I’m bringing it to life on a gloss metal that
ChromaLuxe is producing for the series. 21st Editions
is also publishing a large-format book of the project,
and they chose to use one of the images in the book
as a dye-sublimation print—to me this confirmed the
credibility of a metal print being accepted into the
fine-art photography world. They worked with
Alan Blazer of Blazing Editions to produce the
Visit ChromaLuxe at their booth (#555) and attend their Power of
Print seminar at the WPPI POP Show Floor Theater. WPPI will be held
at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, February, 25-28. Learn more about
ChromaLuxe print o;erings at chromaluxe.com.
Having spent the last four decades photographing
nudes, still lifes, landscapes, fashion, beauty and
Americana, Robert Farber has become a master of
his craft. But getting to a place where his work is in
demand by international galleries and major fashion
and advertising clients came as the result of trial
and error and developing a consistent style.
We caught up with the photographer, who recently
worked with ChromaLuxe for a retrospective that
appeared at the PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo later this year.
WPPI: How did your photography career begin?
Robert Farber: My first love was for art and painting.
I’m self-taught in photography, and my technical
mistakes in film—the graininess, not knowing what
kind of film I should be using, the resulting soft
tones—produced a painterly e;ect that became my
signature style. My career started o; in a unique way:
My fine-art work and my commercial work in fashion
photography came to fruition at the same time. It all
began at an outdoor art show in New York City where
a creative director took notice of my photography. In
1976, my first book, Images of Woman, was published.
At the same time I got my first commercial assignment, a fashion ad for Cotton Incorporated. And then
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis gave me a stamp of
approval when she commissioned me for a book at
Doubleday, By the Sea. Let’s just say it all happened
WPPI: Your aesthetic has remained the same
with both film and digital media. How did you
make the transition so smoothly?
RF: Digital doesn’t have the same personality as
film, so I started using a point-and-shoot to capture
interesting e;ects with filters in camera, playing with
the ISO to get blur and soft focus and digital noise to
evoke the graininess of my film images.