NWC News Desk

Legendary photographer speaks at Northwest College on October 6

Posted September 22, 2008

P O W E L L,  W y o. - Internationally renowned New York City photographer Jay Maisel offers his insights on "Light, Gesture, Color and Perception" Monday, Oct. 6, at Northwest College in Powell.

Maisel's lecture/slide program begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Nelson Performing Arts Center Auditorium.

In terms of pure name recognition in popular culture, Maisel is right up there with Ansel Adams. When explaining his innovative stature and impact on photography, many commercial photographers rank him at the top. Maisel is recognized for elevating urban color photography to a fine art in the same way Adams did with black and white nature work.

Born in Brooklyn and now a passionate resident of Manhattan, Maisel lectures extensively across the United States and conducts several annual seminars, including one for the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops as well as his own "Jay Maisel Workshop" in New York City.

Maisel originally planned to be a painter and earned his bachelor's degree in painting at Yale University. After he discovered the immediacy of photography, he transferred his artistic notions to the camera and soon began "painting" on film.

In 2002, the American Society of Media Photographers called Maisel "one of the most acclaimed and respected figures in international photography," saying his name is "synonymous with color photography that uses light and gesture to create images for advertising, editorial and corporate communications."

Maisel's very long "short client list" includes a who's who of corporations and magazines that stretches from American Express, Coke, Heinz, Kodak and Chrysler to National Geographic, Life magazine and Sports Illustrated. His work appears in numerous books and in private and corporate collections around the globe.

In 1996, Maisel stopped doing most commercial jobs in order to concentrate on his personal work, much of which involves cityscapes. He's developed a keen ability to discover the rhythm of a city through a camera lens and in doing so somehow manages to expose the city's soul, like an x-ray reveals the skeletal structure that gives shape to a human body. He's collected these city/place exposures into critically acclaimed books with titles like  "Mexico's Baja California," "Jerusalem," "San Francisco," "The Most Beautiful Place in the World," "Light on America" and "Jay Maisel's New York."

Also on the list is "A Tribute," Maisel's visual ovation to the World Trade Center published shortly after the towers were destroyed in 2001. Perhaps no other photographer was better prepared than Maisel to honor the American icon - for 35 years his bedroom window provided a view of the towers. They were the last thing he looked at before bed and the first upon waking.  He recorded them since the early days of construction through all seasons - photographing from the air, the street, other buildings and from as far away as New Jersey, Brooklyn and Queens. He donated a portion of his royalties from the sale of the book to the New York Police and Fire Widow's and Children's Benefit Fund.

During the course of his 54-year career, Maisel has been honored multiple times. The American Society of Media Photographers named him Photographer of the Year in 1986 and presented him its Life Time Achievement Award 10 years later. He received the Infinity Award for Applied Photography from the International Center of Photography in 1987, the same year the Art Directors Club of New York presented him his second Gold Medal Award for Photography. The same group inducted him into its hall of fame eight years later. Most recently, he's picked up lifetime achievement awards from the American Society of Media Photographers and the Professional Photographers of America.

His presentation in Powell is sponsored by the Northwest College Photography Department and SanDisk. Admission is free.