Diane Epstein, fine art photographer and pioneer in Fresco Photography

What is Fresco Photography?
Fresco Photography is an approach I developed that involves superimposing images of fragments of faded walls and textural remnants onto scenes of ancient trees, arches, columns, sculptures, still life, and vistas to create a fresco-like image. The ultimate result captures the splendor and balance of architectural and natural formations, as well as their imperfections that come from the evolution and unfolding of time.

Where did the term Fresco Photography come from?
I took inspiration for the term from the ancient art of frescoes, or affreschi in Italian. This method of art uses a technique of mural painting using freshly laid plaster where the painting becomes an integral part of the wall.

How would you describe the process of creating your Fresco Photography?
The fresco effect is created by overlaying  multiple exposures in varying degrees of translucency, keeping intact the integrity of the original photograph.  I aim to convey a certain mystique – to capture the genuine, underlying, visceral traces of what I see – rather than holding on to the literalness of an untouched photograph. 

What are the central themes in your work?
Themes in my work include illumination, the enchanting beauty of nature, as well as the residual and aesthetic effects of transformation through time. You can see these themes in almost all of my explorations of hidden gardens, birds, butterflies, ancient stone and trees, statues, angels, arches, cupolas, monuments, and across bridges and secret paths that I encounter in my meanderings.

What do you hope to bring to light and convey with your Fresco Photography?
I aim to capture the age-old patina of a fresco, yet convey a contemporary, visually poetic image. I like to experiment with illumination and give contour and substance to emotions and experiences we cherish – love, hope, nature, nourishment, cultural exploration, healing, solitude and connection.

I take a closer look at the story behind everything I capture, from a feminine figure or butterfly about to take flight to an immense, surreal Buddha sitting in a field, revealing a tranquil point in a revolving world.  I endeavor to capture those intimate places and spaces where time stands still in a way that allows the observer to feel a sense of abandonment, to breath in the fragrance of an unfamiliar place, and experience the luminosity of the present moment.

Which artists have influenced your photographic predilections?
Impressionism as a movement had a profound effect on me.  Renoir, in particular, whose figures emanated such vulnerability and strength has been a great influence. His sensual, almost spiritual interpretations of scenes, and the subtle layers of light he used have made a genuine impression on my artistic endeavors. Turner’s watercolor, “Modern Rome, Campo Vacino”, with its iridescent glow made me see Rome and the Roman Forum with new eyes. The Pictorialism photographers, particularly Steichen, the “Flatiron Building” and its chromatic study of architecture at twilight, as well as the circle of the movement he began, gave me great insight into the artistic potential of the photographic medium.

Which recent aquisitions of your Fresco Photography has brought a sense that you have reached a new level of respect for the work you do?
I was invited to the home of one of the largest collectors of the most prominent fine art photographers.  We talked of her vision with design and art, and her particular interest in photography.  She asked to see some of my images and invited me to view a private gallery of her collection, which included photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams.  I was with my twin sister, staring at Diane Arbus’s Identical Twins thinking to myself that these girls reminded me of my twin sister and me at that age.   I was thinking how wonderful it would be to have my fresco images in this private gallery, but wondered if she was interested in a photographer who was alive and working, and more importantly, if there was any space to be had in these hallways.  She eventually walked me into the adjoining room, and said she had only two walls left, which happened to be above the bathtub.  She spoke to me about what she envisioned, particularly nude frescoes, and soon after, these are the two photographs she acquired, Immersed and Derriere’.  I have such great admiration for her world-class collection, and felt honored and humbled to have my images share the space with, undoubtedly, the greatest photographs of our time.

A 44 x 65″ fresco photograph of Immersed is also presently being exhibited at the Gerald Bland gallery in New York City. 

Immersed (Female Torso in Water) Rome
Derriere  Rome


What are the challenges you deal with when it comes to being a photographic artist?

As a photographer I want to capture the physical splendor and the atmospheric impressions that move me. As an artist I want to create an aura of tranquility yet still find an edge, a depth in my creations.

My primary challenge is to be provocative, to give the viewer something to question, something to ponder, while also bringing out the beauty in decay, the residual effects of time and change, and to embrace the fragility we often deny in the world around us, especially when it comes to aging.

Where do you exhibit your Fresco Photography?
I have exhibited my fresco photography internationally in galleries, museums, boutique hotels, universities, as well as private and public collections in Italy, Asia and in the U.S., including exhibitions in Rome at the American Academy, the American Embassy, the Belgian Ambassador’s Residence and the Paolo Antonacci Gallery. I am presently showing my work in galleries or showrooms in New York, Boston, Washington, DC. and  San Francisco Bay Area.

If people are interested in learning more or acquiring Diane Epstein Photography, how should they contact you? You can contact me via email: Diane@EpsteinPhotography.com or visit my website: www.DianeEpsteinPhotography.com  Additionally, by appointment, we can speak by phone in the U.S: 415.916.2003

Fine Art | Fresco Photography by Diane Epstein | Gerald Bland Gallery, New York

Gerald Bland Gallery, Diane Epstein Phtography was shown at GB’s previous gallery on Madison Avenue, New York, and now her works are on display in their new location in the Fine Arts Building,232 East 59th Street, 6th Floor, New York.