For more than 35 years, Lee Stalsworth has specialized in the photography of contemporary art. His motto is Not all photographers are created equal. For Lee, his craft is an art form. He’s a trained art handler and has a natural eye for lighting, which lets him explore every facet of mixed-media art.
Lee recently retired as the chief photographer at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. His experience includes working with major art museums, MOMA, LA County, National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Phillips Collection, and dozens more throughout the United States, Japan, Russia and Europe.
“I’ve photographed the work of some of the most renowned artists within the contemporary genre,” Lee says. “Being chosen to photograph the Art of Artists, Galleries and Museums from around the world is a great honor, and to work among some of the greatest artists of our time is, frankly, very humbling.”
Lee is always concerned with the most minute of details. He specializes in large- and medium-format cameras and is an expert in digital photography and editing. He has long been a master of lighting. His eye for lighting and its plays with each artwork is a central part of his identity as a photographer.
“No matter how big of a ‘problem child’ an artwork presents, I look at it as a challenge to capture the artist’s intent, and their mastery of the chosen medium,” Lee explains. “Determining the type of lighting, the specialized techniques can be challenging and is dictated by each piece, to document the artwork while ensuring safe handling during the photographic process is a major priority.”
Lee is equally at home photographing Paintings, Sculpture, Mixed Media, Site Specific installations, Works on Paper, or the many eclectic styles and media associated with Modern and Contemporary art.
An art aficionado himself, Lee is also a trained art handler. This experience means Lee is qualified to set up and dismantle artworks as necessary, although he prefers to remain behind the lens. But it illustrates Lee’s commitment to the craft, his ability to work around the most delicate pieces, and his love of the experience and opportunity to work with so many magnificent artworks shows in his photography.