In PDN’s 20th-anniversary issue, in 2000,the magazine presented its list of the “20 Most Influential”—the photographers who “have created a body of work that has inspired imitators, forged a path for admiring colleagues and stirred young artists to become photographers.” One of the people on that list was Jay Maisel. Maisel’s accomplishments are legion, from the cover of the best-selling jazz album of all time (Miles Davis’ Blue) to numerous books, including Jay Maisel’s New York (2000), and decades of award-winning commercial work.But Maisel, whose work can be found in many private, corporate and museum collections, is also widely admired as an instructor. In the late 1990s, he stopped taking commercial assignments in order to focus on his personal work, including giving lectures and leading the intensive, boot-camp-like Jay Maisel New York Photography Workshop. Since then, he has earned a reputation as an inspiring teacher. Inspiring and, well, charmingly profane. “In the past, I’ve gotten calls from people who wanted to know what the hell they’d be getting themselves into if they were to take my class,” he explains in “Jay’s Personal Course Description” (you’ll find it when you click on “The Workshop” at jaymaisel.com). “Fair enough,” he continues, “but if you want to know exactly what the class will be, that’s impossible because it’s a free-form living thing that also depends on what you bring to the
group dynamic.” Maisel says what he means, and he means what he says. His is a kind of photographic tough love, and people thrive under it. They respond to his mix of cranky New Yorkiness and pure passion. “To become a better photographer, become a more interesting person,” he once said. He also said, “Carry the camera because without it, it’s really tough to take pictures.” Among the people Maisel has inspired is Dan Steinhardt, who was a professional tabletop/advertising photographer before moving into marketing. He’s currently the marketing
manager for Epson but is once again making time for photography. (He describes himself as a “quintessential amateur.”) Steinhardt took Maisel’s advice to heart and keeps his camera with him wherever he goes. “All of my images are things I see between meetings at Epson,” he says. “Once, a colleague and I were going to an appointment early in the morning, and I yelled at him to not touch the rental car because there was this beautiful light hitting the dew on the car’s rear spoiler,” recalls Steinhardt. Which brings to mind another of
Maisel’s maxims: “When you see the extraordinary in the ordinary, seize the opportunity— because it may never happen again.”
The other thing the two men have in common? A passion for fine-art prints. For years, Maisel has relied on Epson Professional products, such as its Signature Worthy papers, a select series of papers that are of the highest quality. “As Jay once said,” says Steinhardt, “‘In the end it’s all about the print, and it’s the print on which you can build your reputation.’”Although it may also be about space. “I’ve got 13,000 square feet of space to exhibit prints,” Maisel says,“ and because of Epson technology, I’m making so many beautiful prints, that
I’m running out of space.” If only we all had such problems.
courtesy of www.pdnoneline.com