It is always difficult to begin writing an Emerging Artist blog. I am biased, obviously, but I always hope to translate my personal excitement and awe in an artist and their work to the readers, or viewers. I have been holding onto this next Emerging Artist for a while and I am thrilled to finally present Gallery500’s next Emerging Artist, photographer Will Foerster.
Born and raised in Florida, Foerster is currently a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), a highly ranked art school in the southeast. He noted that SCAD was his only option as he required access to the studio immediately, an honor that many schools only allow at the junior or senior level. SCAD clearly saw his talent and determination.
While Foerster is young and in the early years of his career as a photographer, his skill, knowledge, and professionalism in the field is anything but early. In creating his works, Foerster formulates an idea. It often “pops” into his head when he least expects it. From there, magic happens. He will thoroughly plan his images, approaching the camera with a complete concept and finished image in mind. He is trying to accomplish something, purposefully creating the scene he wants the viewer to see, or “shoot the concept” as he calls it.
He will often work in a series. In the series currently on display at Gallery500, Grecian Stone, Foerster was inspired by ancient sculpture and “god-like figures” such as Augustus. He wanted to make live people look like stone, a feat he accomplished. When asked about editing his work, he noted that he will edit primarily in camera, meaning using lighting and angles to create the image rather than post processing alterations. If he does edit after the fact, it is meant to be obvious, to exaggerate an element of the photo or push the concept.
Continuing the series, Foerster focused on fabric and drapery, an element often featured in ancient sculpture. He uses angles and lighting to “trick the eye,” making the viewer question what they are looking at, man or stone. His props are minimal, practically non-existent. His focus is the model, the person. He prefers photographing people, although he will shoot a landscape when traveling if he finds a scene that holds his interest. He deems people “the most interesting.”
In discussing his early years of photography (he realized his passion for the media in High School), Foerster thanks his Deland High School art teacher Brian Carson for pushing him to explore his interests further. Although he prefers digital, he appreciates film photography as well. He argues that the medium is dependent on the project and a photographer should be proficient in various types of photography, film and digital.
There may be an aspect of Foerster’s work that I have not mentioned: the color, or absence of it. The artist works solely in Black and white. Foerster notes:
I primarily prefer to shoot in black and white, as I feel the unity and simplicity of the works have an elegance that is not commonly found in color imagery. My work often has a great amount of contrast, which I feel helps to establish strong focal points and create visual interest.
I continued to be impressed with Foerster throughout our conversation. I was most struck with his knowledge of photography and his deep appreciation for the art of the media. He strives to set a scene in his images. He wants the model to play this role that he has created. He loves to see his viewers react to his work, to be amazed at the images. His favorite response is “how did you do that.” He is not attempting to impart a certain emotion or reaction on the viewer with his work. Rather, he wants his viewer to be astonished. He wants his viewer to question reality, to be intrigued and ask more.
I hope you can stop in the gallery to see his work in person, on display now through Jan. 1, 2023. You can meet the artist during Gallery500’s ICONS artist reception, Friday, December 9th from 5 – 7 pm at Gallery500.