Renowned photographic artist Alan S. Maltz has garnered international acclaim and awards, but you'd never know it based on his down-to-earth, unassuming persona. “For me, it's a labor of love,” he says. “Photography is how I express both my artistic and spiritual vision. This is my gift, my passion, my dream.”
Maltz's images pay homage to nature, depicting the unexplored realms of secluded beaches, untouched landscapes, and exotic wildlife.
“I see my subjects as paintings in my mind's eye,” Maltz explains. “The process happens naturally and instantaneously with little conscious thought. I have an intuitive sense of knowing what to do and when to do it.”
Maltz is the featured artist at Baptist Health South Florida Homestead Hospital, a 388,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility that opened in May 2007. Seventeen pieces from Maltz's portfolio were selected, including three 6′ × 4′ murals for the main lobby.
“The proper selection and placement of art can reduce patient stress, create a sense of serenity, promote bonds between patients and caregivers, and perpetuate an image of excellence for the facility,” says Kathy Hathorn, CEO and Creative Director of American Art Resources, Houston. Upon being introduced to Maltz's work, she quickly recognized the power of his art for the healthcare environment and featured his work at Homestead Hospital.
Florida Hospital East Orlando swiftly followed suit, purchasing five new mural-sized works (6′ × 9′) for their “healing art” qualities. They are exhibited in the hospital's main corridor. Most recently, Maltz's work has been featured at two Steinway Child and Family Services (SCFS) mental health clinics in New York.
“People of all ages come to our facilities to seek help in dealing with depression, anxiety, hopelessness and related issues. They expect a sterile environment and are surprised to find a gallery-like atmosphere, more like a spa than a clinic,” says Susan Appelman, Program Director for SCFS's Howard Beach Clinic.
She explains that patients feel less stressed and more hopeful when surrounded by the beauty of Maltz's inspiring images. Often patients transplant themselves in his works to elevate their moods, which has proven a useful therapeutic tool.
“It's most rewarding to know my art provides comfort for patients and their families in times of need, as well as for visitors and staff,” Maltz says.
Maltz has always been guided in his art by instinct and intuition. During his college graduation ceremony from Long Island University in New York, he received a message from his inner voice instructing him to “pick up a camera.”
The next day he left for Europe with friends, camera in hand. Two days later he took his first picture, titled “Meeting in Marseilles.” That image is still featured in the Alan S. Maltz Gallery in Key West, Florida, and remains a best seller.
Since then, Maltz has perfected his technique, but his initial vision remains unchanged. He chooses to photograph studies that reflect the joys of life, mainly through nature and wildlife.
Capturing the light
A true romantic, Maltz is influenced by the elusive nature of light, which inspires him to create imagery that is immediate, eternal, abstract, and impressionistic. Preferring only a 35mm camera and slide film, he seldom uses filters to achieve his final vision. Instead, he relies on natural light and the beauty of the moment, often shooting very early in the morning or very late in the day. He transforms these captured moments into works of art that have the same visual impact as a fine oil painting.
“I need a lot of light and a fast lens,” Maltz explains. “These two elements give me the spontaneity to capture incredible images and the quality to produce mural-sized images as large as 12′ × 8′.”
Creating a final print begins with an original 35mm slide, which is scanned to create a raw digital file. Maltz then uses his artistic and technical expertise to direct a painstaking proofing process in the studio. “At times it takes weeks before I'm satisfied with results,” Maltz says. “Striving for perfection is the only way that works for me.”
The final proof becomes the master to create the limited edition series, which is printed in-house utilizing a state-of-the-art process with seven archival pigmented inks on carefully chosen 100% cotton archival canvas or watercolor paper. Maltz approves, hand-signs, and numbers each archival print before it is fitted with a custom frame designed to complement and enhance the completed work.
Maltz is the author and publisher of several award-winning art books, including Key West Color and Miami City of Dreams. His latest book, Florida … Beyond the Blue Horizon, was selected as the Official Coffee Table Book of Super Bowl XLI and received numerous awards such as Best Florida Book for Adults and Best Interior Design by the Florida Publishers Association. His fifth book, Visions of Beauty: Fort Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, will be published in fall 2008.
Maltz has been featured in leading national and regional publications, including Artnews, The New Yorker, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, New York Post, Newsday, and others. He has been named the Official Fine Art Photographer for Florida by VISIT FLORIDA and the Official Wildlife Photographer of Florida by the Wildlife Foundation of Florida.
But Maltz hopes his work accomplishes more than awards and designations. “As an artist, I want to share a poetic interpretation of the beauty and mystique that surrounds us,” he says. “At best, I want my images to open a door of perception that leads the viewer to see the world with new eyes.” HD
For more information on Alan Maltz, contact the Alan S. Maltz Gallery in Key West, Florida, at 305.294.0005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.