I have an ongoing fascination with artists’ studios.
I suppose it’s partly curiosity, partly looking for usable ideas and partly, I must admit, looking for confirmation that I’m not the only one whose working space is crammed wall to wall and floor to ceiling with drawing boards, easels, palettes, jars, tubes, racks, frames, shelves, boxes, computers, monitors, flat files, books, papers, comics and toy dinosaurs (everyone has toy dinosaurs in their studio, right?).
Beyond that, artists’ studios are fascinating in that they are a kind of work by the artist — a self-portrait of sorts, one that while deliberate in some respects has also evolved organically over time to accommodate the artist’s working methods.
Bradford Bohonus is a Seattle based photographer who specializes in 360° panoramic images. Among his VR galleries are a number of themed projects, one of which is a series of Seattle Artists in Their Studios.
These are presented as interactive “Virtual Reality” stye panoramas that can be panned completely around and up and down, as though the camera were a single point floating in the center of the space. In addition, they can be zoomed out or in to take in more of the scene or view greater detail.
There are two unfortunate drawback to the presentation. One is that though there is a thumbnail page that lists the artists and gives links to their websites, the thumbnail images show the artists’ faces rather than their work, so if you’re interested in the studios of artists working in particular mediums, you’re left to guess.
The other issue is that whoever created the Flash module in which the VR interactives are presented was too lazy to script the “Here’s how you use the VR controls” window to go away once you’ve seen it, so you must click to close it every single time you view an image, even if clicking through with the “previous/next” arrows at the top.
If you can get past that, the images themselves are wonderful. Seeing a space like an artist’s studio in a 360° panorama is very different from looking at single images, and gives you much more of a feeling for the space than even a series of normal photographs. The sample shots I’ve included above are screen captures in just one position that don’t begin to convey the 360° effect, I’ve just tried to show some of the variety of the artists’ working spaces Bohonus has photographed.
These range from expansive industrial spaces to the cramped spare bedrooms and corners of basements and attics so familiar to many. They also range from crammed to organized, chaotic to serene and dark to light, with a variety of mediums, tools and types of art.
In addition, Bohonus, like a National Geographic adventure photographer peering into animals’ dens, has captured the artists themselves in their natural habitat, along with examples of their work.
Given my assertion that an artist’s working space is a kind of portrait, and the usual assumption that an artist’s work is representative of who they are, you could say Bohonus has created a tri-leveled portrait of each artist, as well as one that is visually expansive and invites exploring.