Rock-Solid Art Exhibited on Lightweight Fabric

©Leslie D. Bartlett,

By Kelly Price

Arrive, to look. An artist’s statement can’t get much simpler than this. And these three little words accurately express the philosophy of Leslie D. Bartlett, the accomplished landscape photographer who now creates painting-like photographs of the beautiful natural stone formations that can be found deep in the historic quarries near Cape Ann in Massachusetts.

The formations are all that remains of the region’s once-thriving granite industry. In the early 1800s, Cape Ann inhabitants started cutting the peninsula’s 450-million-year-old granite into blocks at stone for the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, parts of the Statue of Liberty, and thousands of streets worldwide. 

Now, using the natural light reflecting off the Atlantic Ocean, Bartlett captures the richly textured stone motifs that have been forged by extreme weather, salt air, and the colors bleeding out from the oxidizing granite.

He then prints these images onto Water-Resistant Satin Cloth from LexJet using ImagePrint RIP software with his Epson Stylus Pro inkjet printers. The prints look so dimensional and detailed that many viewers feel as if they can almost reach out and touch the textured surface of the rock. The lightweight, wrinkle-resistant fabric makes it easy and economical for Bartlett to transport the prints from one site to another and hang them in different-sized gallery spaces.


Multiple Exhibitions: After he showed a few of his rockscapes at the Park Ave. Armory in New York, Bartlett was invited to present a four-month solo exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA. Entitled Chapters on a Quarry Wall, the exhibit shown above contained 40 large images, including the series of five vertical panoramic prints (24-in. wide and 77-in. high) shown below. These prints show how the colors on the surface of a rock face changed in spring, summer, fall and winter.

InFocusBartlessChaptersQuarry WallCapeAnn
These five images show the seasonal changes in the rockscapes from one spring to the next. ©Leslie D. Bartlett.

The Chapters on a Quarry Wall images were so extraordinary that Bartlett was invited to show some of them at the Soho/Photo gallery in New York in May, 2009. Now, he is preparing to present an updated, more extensive exhibition at the Vermont State Capitol this summer.

When the Chapters on a Quarry Wall images were shown at the Cape Ann Museum, Bartlett knew that many visitors to the Cape Ann Museum would like them, simply because they had lived near or grown up near the quarries where many of the images were shot. But he wasn’t sure if the images would evoke the same type of quiet contemplation when they were shown in New York. The Soho/Photo gallery in TriBeCa was established by a group of photojournalists from the NY Times and focuses more on extraordinary photography than local landmarks and history.

When visitors to the New York gallery reacted the same as people who saw the images in the Cape Ann museum, Bartlett realized that he had unearthed a real niche for himself as an artist.  Although his photographs aren’t actually paintings, he has since had them critiqued as if they were. This willingness to seek advice from artists has helped him bridge the gulf that sometimes separates those who use paint to create art from those who use cameras.

Bernard Chaet, the artist and well-known art professor at Yale University, wrote about Bartlett’s rockscapes in the show at the Cape Ann Historical Museum. Chaet commented “In the rocks of Cape Ann, he gives us a long extended trip of time and space. He must know that the viewer cannot scan his images; We must see his images slowly. His photographs hold amazing secrets.”

©Leslie D. Bartlett,
©Leslie D. Bartlett,

Rebecca Reynolds, curator of the John and Margaret Manship Sculpture collection, noted that “Bartlett’s stonescapes are a sensitive tribute to the basic elements of earth, air, fire, and water. Demonstrating how careful documentation can become poetry, Bartlett records the world as he finds it, but with a frame of vision that intends to act upon the viewer and shift one’s perception.”

The power of each image comes partly from Bartlett’s willingness to watch and wait for that perfect gleam of light – often immediate light. He visits sites repeatedly to observe how the exposed surfaces of the stone warm and cool as the light shifts and the seasons change.

He meticulously edits each captured image to replicate the light, color, and details exactly as he saw them.  He uses the Nik Sharpener Pro plug-in to Photoshop to adjust how the large prints will appear from a viewing distance of 20 to 25 feet—the same distance from which he photographed the rockscapes.

To render the exquisite shadow and highlight detail when he prints the images, Bartlett uses ImagePrint RIP software with the correct printing profiles for the LexJet Water Resistant Satin Cloth. The images are then output one of the two pro-model inkjet printers he purchased from LexJet:  a 44-in. Epson Stylus Pro 9800 and 17-in. Epson Stylus Pro 3800.

When Bartlett first began specializing in natural stone photography six years ago, he printed exclusively on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper and framed the images behind glass. But framing quickly became impractical after he started shooting vertical panoramas and horizontal prints as large as 40 in. x 13 ft. He prints big because he wants viewers to experience the rockscapes in way that’s very real. The glass used in framing distracted from the dimensionality and distorted the look of his meticulously sharpened prints.

Byobu Folding Screen

Printing on LexJet’s Water-Resistant Satin Cloth now proves to be the perfect solution.  The inkjet-receptive material produces the rich detail his images demand and is ultra-easy to transport and install. Plus, there are no insurance and liability issues related to shipping the prints from one locale to another.

Bartlett is so pleased with the versatility of LexJet’s Water-Resistant Satin Cloth that he is using it to convert his rockscape artwork into a new line of byobu folding screens, and privacy screens for indoor and outdoor use. To learn more how to print superb photographic and art prints, you can contact Leslie Bartlett for a personalized printing consultation.

To learn more about the exceptional versatility of LexJet’s Water-Resistant Satin Cloth, call me or one of my associates at LexJet at 888-873-7553. We can recommend a variety of ways to turn your images into products that can help you expand your photography business.

Easy-to-Ship Photo Exhibition Honors World War I Veterans

An exhibition of extra-large photographs can be a powerful way to tell  important stories. Large, professionally produced photographs have the power to make people stop, look, and think. 

When a photo exhibition is particularly well done, it’s wonderful when people in other cities can also enjoy the experience of viewing it.  But the costs of shipping large, framed prints from city to city can quickly add up, making it impractical for photographers and non-profits or publicly funded groups to produce as many traveling exhibitions as they might like.    

An article entitled Education in Fabric in  Vol. 4,  No. 5 of LexJet’s In Focus newsletter describes how photographer David DeJonge used an inkjet-printable fabric from LexJet to create a lightweight, easy-to-ship photo exhibition that honors veterans of of World War I. The exhibit is scheduled to visit 1,000 school districts and be seen by as many as 2.5 million schoolchildren, teachers, and other viewers.

Photo banner honoring James Russell Coffey
Photo banner honoring James Russell Coffey

DeJonge, who owns DeJonge Studio in Grand Rapids, Mich., started photographing the remaining veterans from World War I about 14 years ago as part of his Faces of Five Wars series, which depicts veterans from World War I through Desert Storm.  The initial project led to vast amounts of press coverage, an exhibit in the Pentagon, and the drive to build a national WWI monument. 

When the first exhibition was shown at Creekwood Middle School in Humble, Texas, DeJonge’s images were printed and framed. All together, the images weighed around 400 pounds and cost nearly $1,000 to ship round-trip.

The first exhibit was viewed by 3,000 people and raised more than $14,000 for the restoration and expansion of the World War I Memorial on the National Mall. Still, DeJonge realized that packing and shipping the framed prints to multiple sites would not only be expensive but cumbersome.

After DeJonge started researching ways to make it more feasible to present his photo exhibition at multiple sites, he chose LexJet Water Resistant Satin Cloth. He used the fabric to print 14 large banners that showcase the images and life stories of 13 Allied World War I veterans, including 108-year-old Frank W. Buckles who is the last living American veteran of World War I.

DeJonge printed the banners on his 44-in. Epson Stylus Pro 9880 wide-format inkjet printer. Each banner is 42 in. x 6-1/2 ft.  By presenting the photos as fabric banners instead of framed prints, DeJonge eliminated about 330 pounds from the shipping weight of the exhibition.  Plus, the banners can be rolled up for shipping, making it easy to transport the exhibition from school to school within the 1,000 school districts the tour is scheduled to visit.

As for the quality of the image reproduction, DeJonge says he was very pleased with LexJet’s Water Resistant Satin Cloth: “It provides good flesh tones and smooth transitions between the shadow and highlight areas.” He also praised the clarity of the text reproduction on each banner, adding that, “I have never experienced anything like it with a similar printable material.” 

To read the full story in LexJet’s In Focus newsletter, click here.  

To learn more about how to use Water-Resistant Satin Cloth to produce easy-to-hang photo banners, contact a LexJet account specialist at 888-873-7553. 

For other creative ideas for using inkjet-printable materials and pro-model wide-format inkjet printers, subscribe to LexJet’s In Focus newsletter.