The Portfolio of Marc Jaffe of South Salem
Written by Richard W. Stevenson The Westchester County Times January, 2005
A man who runs with horses is a rare bird indeed, but a guy who takes pictures as he runs with horses is probably unique.
Marc Jaffe of South Salem does just that, and when his pictures are printed on large-scale canvases they make a painterly and riveting impact. “It all happens in the camera,” said Jaffe, meaning that there are no postproduction tricks involved in what he does. He creates images where, as he said, “something is still and something else is whipping,’ resulting in photographs that look like Impressionist paintings.
He uses film, he is deep into digital photography and he has long been devoted to the arts and mysteries of light painting, the fiber optic technique from the last years of the 20th century that still has its adherents.
Whatever the project, Jaffe craves instant gratification so he generally processes his work right away to see how it went. “It’s either right or I go back and do it again,” he said.
As a kid, said Jaffe, “I grew up around art, my dad is a photographer, sculptor and a painter. Seems to be in the genes. I am happiest when I can use all the different skills I have developed; Web guy, technician, fine art photographer, designer and consultant.” In his 44 years Jaffe has been an editor for an extreme sports video company, owned and operated a commercial photography studio, owned a full service custom photo lab, been an airbrush illustrator, a retouch artist and darkroom technician.
In addition to his life as an artist, Jaffe is currently a Web site designer and a Mac/PC technician proficient in the fine points of “all electronic devices related to computing, networking, photography and handheld devices.”
This business of being equally able with both sides of his brain – the mechanical as well as the artistic – began early for Marc Jaffe, as a boy growing up in Vermont’s ski belt. “I built a robot when I was six,” said Jaffe. “I installed a tape recorder in its head so when I got the timing right I could talk to it and it talked back.” Later, when he was 13, Jaffe took his dirt bike apart and put it back together again, just to see if he could.
After high school Jaffe went to the Museum School of Fine Art in Boston, absorbing the basics of drawing and design. This stint was followed by some time well spent on the west coast, at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He took courses that would help him get a job in advertising. After school he worked as a freelance past- up artist working as he said, “wherever I could get a gig.” As he made a living as a commercial artist, as a photographer, a video editor, and a Web site designer, Jaffe’s life as an artist also evolved. A major epiphany happened when he found light painting, which led to years of experimentation and success – commercially, artistically and technically.
Light painting gives the photographer the same control over intensity and style that a brush and pigments give an artist, explained Jaffe. “It gives very fine control to the quality and color of light,” he said. “One area might have a soft almost dreamy quality
while there might be a hot streak of color in another. Over all there is a mood created by using this technique that’s unparalleled.”
As an artist whose medium is photography, Marc Jaffe has created two interesting bodies of work – a series of landscapes he calls “Altered Reality” and his equine efforts, which