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Photographer Says Details Are in Technique

Light and shadow play, creating color.

Fine arts photographer Jan Bartelstone says he merely records the surreal blush and shadow's dim left by light's frolic.

Owner of Eyes of New Mexico Art Co., Bartelstone since 1984 has created framebusting telephoto images so rich in tone, detail and depth that they are best appreciated in person.

Many of his pieces are more than 8 feet in size, depicting expansive New

Mexico landscapes or cultural scenes: an Eagle Dancer backlit by city lights, a lone juniper tree beneath a canopy of stars, a potter preserving the past.

You may have seen some of his artwork on the walls of your bank or office building. His work hangs in about 30 corporate buildings in Albuquerque. He also represents many other artists as a fine arts dealer, and has decorated more than 1,000 corporate buildings in the state with works of other artists.

Bartelstone's works have also been sold to private collectors across the country. Some limited signed editions number as few as 11, he noted.

Bartelstone is "old school," photographing his subjects with a traditional film camera and hand printing black and white portraits in a dark room. His color photos are also done from film, transferred to archival prints, and then digitally scanned and printed onto art paper.

During an interview inside his gallery and showroom at 1441 San Mateo NE, Bartelstone says he sticks to film for more than sentimental reasons.

"Finally, film is getting to the pinnacle of its development, in terms of its tonality and beauty, and with the capability of being able to record at a faster shutter speed without sacrificing quality," Bartelstone said.

The digital revolution, he said, is fueled mainly by a desire for simplicity.

On a wall at his showroom, a large murallike piece depicts a dramatic panoramic, richly detailed view of snow-dusted Manzano Mountains wearing a cloak of gray clouds tinged in amber and rose.

Rather than using a single image taken with a wide angle lens, Bartelstone uses a telephoto lens snapping as many images as possible at different exposures, later assembled into a rich mosaic of detail and light.

"You can't get that tonality and detail with digital photography," he said.

Examples of his artwork can be seen at his showroom by appointment.

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