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Terry Rishel

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, photographer Terry Rishel began his interest in the medium in 1980. Within the next three years he was shooting commercial work in large and medium formats receiving multiple photographic awards with numerous companies including NIKON, HASSELBLAD, ILLFORD, POLAROID, etc.

He started teaching nature and model photography classes and opened a studio/gallery with friends in Tacoma. By 1986 Terry was shooting tabletop commercial work: models, public art projects, black and white hand-colored prints; and working with Historian Michael Sullivan shooting archival large format photography.

From 1990 through 2009, he worked as the Tacoma Studio Manager and Chief Photographer for celebrated glass artist, Dale Chihuly, and they quickly became good friends. After building Chihuly’s studio in Tacoma with a crew of fine artists, he started working with Chihuly to mock-up, build, and photograph the artist’s installations nationwide. Eventually, when Chihuly started building large public art-glass installations worldwide, Terry Rishel was entrusted with the oversight of the construction and photographing these installations across Europe, The Middle East, Mexico, and Iceland. Over these years he has been the photographer for over fifty fine art books and hundreds of art publications. He and Chihuly also worked together to rebuild the artist’s archive glass and fine art collection, as well as his vast vintage Americana Collections.

From 2009 to the present, Terry has worked at large format printing with friend, Tony Valenzuela, for private collectors, commercial architecture photography, lighting, design work, public arts projects, and other projects of interest.

In the past thirty-five years as a professional photographer, Terry Rishel, now 62, has shot approximately one million photographs. In addition to his many years collaborating with Dale Chihuly, he has worked with and photographically archived work for numerous important artists including the late painter and sculptor, Italo Scanga, one of Chihuly’s best friends, and an artist with whom Terry also became good friends. Scanga recognized Terry’s talents just as Chihuly had and quickly made Terry one of the few principal photographers he trusted for many of Scanga’s books and materials, up until the artist’s passing in 2001.

Terry has also worked with many other notable glass artists, including Martin Blank, James Mongrain, Diane Hansen, Brian Brenno, Lino Tagliapietra; and lighting artist, Christopher Thompson.

…Bringing alive a simple thing like a flower; I walked by these beautiful things for many years before looking closer.” – Terry Rishel, October 2015

Through his many years collaborating with Chihuly, Terry was responsible for a good deal of the photography of the artist’s numerous public installations in prestigious institutions and public gardens worldwide including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; the deYoung Museum, San Francisco; the Tower of David, Jerusalem; The Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Tacoma Art Museum; Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle; The Museum of Glass, Tacoma; New York Botanical Gardens; the Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh; the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, England; and many more.

What drew all these fine artists to Terry wasn’t his technical prowess with a camera, alone. It was his deep understanding of the subtle, hidden elements in their work, his talent for patiently seeking that most elusive aesthetic, Light; and his ability to brilliantly translate myriad three dimensional mediums, like glass or sculpture, into a breathtaking two dimensional format, photography. In short, what drew these great artists to Terry was what is clearly evident in this exhibition, LIGHT DYNAMIC – the photographer’s own artistry.

Light Dynamic

Artist Statement
When I chose the title “Light Dynamic” for this show, the two most important terms in photography (at least to me) came to mind. Most experienced photographers over time are concerned much more about light. We spend the majority of our time chasing light, focusing light, and changing light; always for the photo-shoot as well as the processing of the image.

To most, the word “dynamic” means changing energy, a motion, alive in photography. Composition and technical aspects are so important but the artist’s eye or the aesthetic goes a long way to determine the dynamic of the finished piece.

In this show I’ve used High Dynamic Range (HDR) software, at a low level, on many of these photographs, not to change the work but to enhance the light as well as the dynamic feel of the work.