I have alluded to this assignment in two prior posts, The End of the Affair and A Peek Behind the Curtain. In early September I had the opportunity to photograph George Bisacca, Paintings Conservator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
George is one of an extremely small group of specialists worldwide who have the experience and cross-disciplinary skills to tackle the restoration of artworks dating back to the 15th-century. Most specifically, panel paintings (paintings on wood.)
While the images here depict one of the traditional restoration studios at the Met, it would be just as likely for George to use X-rays, CT scans, and molecular spectroscopy in his work.
The was my first assignment with the Canon 1D X. I’ll just blurt it out, the 1D X has a mojo that the 1Ds Mark III and 5D Mark III didn’t and don’t have. I assume it has something to do with the chip. Maybe it is its wider dynamic range, maybe it hits a sweet spot in resolution versus noise? I’m not sure… but the 1D X simply draws the image differently and better than any of the Canon cameras I have shot with previously (all of the 1Ds models and the 5D Mark III.)
Because of the nature of the assignment, a studio filled with artwork valued between very expensive and priceless, I could not bring traditional strobes, not even battery powered ones. Heavier lights, cables, and larger light modifiers were a no-no. George let me know that some of their on site lights were LED so I was able to bring my own LED Litepanels, 1x1s and Sola ENGs, which were a perfect fit. Small footprint, no cables, natural feel when matched to the ambient light.
Middlebury Magazine: Restoration Hardware.
Middlebury Magazine: Restoration Hardware: Inside the Studio.
George on art, details, and intimacy (Metropolitan Museum of Art.)
George in the Wall Street Journal.
George in the New Yorker.
George in the Gothamist.