At the Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo Joseph Noga photographed each tree with his large format digital camera and specialized lighting. He had to rent a trailer to bring all the necessary equipment across the state of North Carolina to capture the beauty of the displayed bonsai. But, that’s just the beginning of producing a perfect photograph. Each photograph must be adjusted for perfection. And, adjusting the photograph depends on the final use, digital or printed. They must have specific profiles which depend on the paper, ink and press where they will be printed. All of this takes time and skill, knowledge and dedication which Joe is well known for.
Throughout the last fifty years I have met many photographers and have probably seen more photographs of bonsai from around the world than any other person, and I have the library to prove it. There are many good photographers who shoot bonsai photos. They are skilled and can take beautiful photos of the trees. However their job ends with the photograph and the final result is at the mercy of the printing companies.
In my opinion Joe Noga’s bonsai photographs are the finest I have seen, including Japan, because of their composition, lighting, details and most importantly they are color correct. Joe was a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, known world wide for excellence in printing and photography. He spent 38 years teaching in the school of printing and specialized in electronic color imaging and has traveled around the world consulting with printers about color reproduction.
The attached bonsai images from Joe Noga have been adjusted for displaying in this blog. The photo file size used for printing often exceeds 300 MB each.
Joe Noga is also the official photographer for the U.S. National Bonsai Exhibitions and his work can be seen in the four Commemorative Albums. He spends four days photographing nearly 300 bonsai and then three months to adjust the photos so they will print perfectly for appreciation and study. With perfect depth of field and focus the photographs show all details, even fingerprints on the containers after they are cleaned and polished. He is a master of lighting to create highlights so the trees don’t look flat.
All the covers and photographs in International BONSAI are adjusted and prepared by Joe Noga so they will print correctly on specific paper using calibrated ink on specific presses.
Bonsai is also one of Joe’s hobbies and he has studied classical bonsai over 35 years and has made numerous trips to Japan to see their masterpieces. He has displayed bonsai in each of the four U.S. National Bonsai Exhibitions as well as the recent Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo.
The bonsai community is indeed fortunate to have Joe Noga who spends countless hours photographing our bonsai for enjoyment and study. It is said that bonsai look better alive than in photographs. However, with Joe Noga’s photographs the bonsai often look better than when seen with the human eye because his lighting effects penetrate deep into the bark crevices and foliage of the tree.
Thank you Joe for using your talent and spending time photographing so others can see and appreciate bonsai from across the United States and bonsai world.