4 Questions for Photographer Israel Anderson

Art Photographer Israel Anderson

Israel Anderson, a photographic artist from New Zealand specializing in a rare medium called High Dynamic Range (HDR), invites the community to his gallery exposition of Fine-Art HDR work at the Anthony Grant Studio Gallery, 917 Front Street, Louisville (Downstairs). The show is composed of very unique, colorful, vibrant images of 100% local scenes.  Opening night is Saturday August 7th, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm and will be showing all through August. Anthony Grant said about the show:

I am excited in presenting Israel Anderson’s unique and engaging art medium to Anthony Grant Studio Gallery. The viewer experiences a distinctive photography art style like no other. Mr. Anderson’s beautiful landscapes are appealing on many levels and I am very happy to be able to show them off at my gallery!”

Boulder Jewish News caught up with Israel for one of our “4 Questions” interviews:

Did you develop the HDR technique? If not, how did you come to use it and become professional at it?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and actually goes back to the 1850s and the invention of film. The first film was unable to capture a good exposure range in one shot, so several films were used, and then layered to make a better quality image.

Fall Road

I now do a similar thing to create images that are akin to what the eye can see, but even the best digital SLRs can not. Made of of up to nine images of the same scene taken with differing exposures, they are then composited to create a single image with all the brightest and darkest areas of the image simultaneously perfectly exposed. The resulting image is vastly more saturated and has rich deep color that captures the eye of everyone that sees them. These HDRs are then printed using Giclée onto canvas. The result is likened to a very finely detailed oil painting instead of a photograph.

Though other photographers dabble in HDR, I believe I’m the only one trying to turn it into a legitimate art form.  To our knowledge and our googling, this is the first HDR gallery ever, in the world. I also appear to be the world’s first professional HDR artist. Hard to know though. For sure, there’s not many of us. This is a unique art form that I think the art-minded people in Colorado would love to know about. I hope you can tell them about our gallery opening night on the 7th of August.

What brought you to the US from New Zealand and how did you decide to stay?

Reflecting Indians

I am from New Zealand, and have lived in the US now for five years. I made Boulder my home three years ago.  I have been dabbling in photography since I was a child and have traveled the world shooting. But it was here in Colorado that I fell in love with the scenery and developed my HDR skills in order to truly capture the majesty of Colorado for all the world to see. I have always been a traveler and guest of many cultures. America is not my final destination, but I’m sure enjoying it while I’m here, and the beauty of Colorado will mean I will be here for a while yet.

Your interest in Judaism pre-dates your move to the US. Did it start in New Zealand, or somewhere else? How did you first get interested?

Indeed it does. My studies of ancient cultures and a connection to the divine that I have enjoyed all my life has taken me in one direction, toward knowing HaShem. My interest goes beyond a mere fascination. I explain it to people like this, some people are Jewish because their mother was Jewish, and some are Jewish because they find themselves in-tune with everything that is Jewish. There’s a calling, a drawing of my heart to know the one true G-d, and I believe that is HaShem, the G-d of Israel.

Would you say that anything you’ve learned about Judaism has informed/affected your art or your “eye”?

Painted Field

I attribute not just my art, but all my abilities to be gifts from G-d. I see HaShem all around me, and I am just capturing HaShem’s handiwork. The world is in such a tragic state right now and man has lost the beauty of HaShem amongst the world’s problems. I hope that in some small way I can remind people through my art that beauty did not disappear and we need just change the direction of our vision to see a brighter world.

More about Israel Anderson and his art at his web site.

About David Fellows

I've been writing things since grammar school, and served as a writer, photographer and/or an editor on my junior high and high school newspapers; the Daily Trojan at USC (where I earned my journalism degree); the student newspaper at the Anderson School at UCLA (where I earned my MBA); and written and edited countless business documents and presentations in the ensuing twenty years. I've been involved Jewishly since my bris and in Boulder since 1995. I'm married to my Executive Director Cheryl, and we have two children, Lauren and Ethan.

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  1. Just a slight correction, HDR is neither rare nor exclusive, though it IS technically difficult. Many are doing it although purist photographers may deny it is a photographic technique. Any internet search will offer a wide array of styles worth viewing. There are many computer applications that automate the HDR process, including some Photoshop plugins. To get started with HDR, use the "Bracketing" feature of any high-end digital camera. This takes 3 different exposures, which are then combined using software to make one HDR image.

  2. As a graphic artist, i was asked to critique Israel's work… if there is the assertion that HDR is not a rare technique, and you could indeed argue the case.

    However many do not use this technique and it seems they are still unaware of it (as I was until Israel introduced me to it some time ago).

    You will still find the beauty of the images in the way they are produced and presented, they are stunning.

  3. Whatever kind of digital or film technique your a fan of, whatever level photograher you are, and whatever kind of camera you have (from your old bar/bat mitzvah Kodak Brownie or Instamatic, to the pro level Nikon D3S, check out the great Israel photography trip being offered by http://www.byahadtrex.org October 13 – 17. Click on the ad, below.

  4. Hi, I'm the artist. Actually HDR is not just rare, it's insanely rare. Having the tools built into Photoshop does not make you a creator of HDRs. Of the 6.6 billion people on our planet, I am the only one printing HDRs onto canvas and pushing it as a legitimate art form. I think that's surely within the definition of "rare". Hope to see you at the showing.