After 40 years of success shooting corporate and advertising photography, Joe Baraban has submerged himself in the world of contemporary art photography. For the past two years, he has traveled throughout Texas documenting old windows. “I photograph the windows as they exist today, and use virtually no help from Photoshop,” says Baraban.
Following a one-man show of his Windows series in Houston and Austin, TX, his work is now represented by the Bering & James gallery in Houston.
When the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston recently added three of the images from the Windows series to their permanent photography collection, Baraban crafted the prints himself, using LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin 300g photo paper on the Epson Stylus Pro 7880 he had previously bought from LexJet.
LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin has the same finish as the luster photo paper he had been using for his everyday work, but feels more substantial. That’s because it is 11 mils thick and weighs 300 gsm, compared to 10-mil, 250-gsm paper he had been using. On a spec sheet, these may not seem like big differences, but most photographers and print buyers can immediately sense that Sunset Photo eSatin is something special.
According to Baraban, the extra thickness makes big prints easier to handle and exhibition prints less susceptible to dings and creases. He points out that “No one is likely to pay hundreds of dollars for a print with visible dings.” He recalls having to reprint one exhibition print that had been sold because it got damaged on the way to the frame shop.
Baraban has started using the paper in his everyday work and gladly recommends LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper to the many other photographers he meets at camera clubs, exhibitions, or in the many workshops he has taught in Maine, Santa Fe, California, Canada, Florida, and Texas. Joe is also an instructor in the online Picture Perfect School of Photography.
In fact, it was Baraban’s active involvement in the photography community that led to his images being accepted into the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. As an accomplished commercial photographer who had won dozens of awards during his long career, Baraban had been invited to judge the spring exhibition of the Woodlands Photography Club in Woodlands, TX. One of the fellow judges was Natalie Zelt the assistant curator of the photography collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. After he showed her his Windows series, Zelt called them to the attention of the museum’s internationally known photography curator Anne Tucker, who selected three of the images for the permanent collection.
“I started my series of windows quite by accident,” explains Baraban. On a road trip to Nashville, he decided to take some extra time photographing the countryside. As he was leaving small town in Mississippi, he noticed an old deserted building with an interesting front door.
“Halfway through my setup, I became bored with the light since the door was in shadow,” says Baraban. “So I walked around to the side of the building where I saw several old and interesting windows that were in bright sunlight. I settled on one particular window, and even though it had weathered poorly through the years, there was something almost mystical about it. Father Time, aided by the elements, had transformed the windows and the surrounding brick walls into a cacophony of colors, shapes, and textures. The contrast, from the bright sunny day, had rendered the various hues to the point of being surreal and exaggerated.”
The effect was so amazing that he didn’t feel it necessary look for a unique angle or height from which to take the shot: “Something was telling me not to distort the integrity of these amazing windows.”
Now as he goes “window shopping” throughout the state of Texas, he tries to imagine what the windows he photographs would tell him if they could speak.
“Most of the structures have long since been abandoned, and I can only wonder who the last person was to look out this particular window, and what they might have seen and thought before they left for good.”
To see more images from Baraban’s Windows collections visit his website: www.joebaraban.com.
For more information about LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin, visit LexJet’s website, or call an account specialist at 800-453-9538.