Book Review: Imaginary Realms

Book Review: Imaginary Realms

George Fellner on Stones and Crystals

By Richard Malinsky, Arts Editor

IMAGINARY REALMS: THE VISUAL LANGUAGE OF STONES AND CRYSTALS, George Fellner (Stone Insight Books, 2016). 104pp with 77 full-color images. $57.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited

Stones and crystals have been a source of fascination throughout the ages, but through a most modern medium—macro photography—George Fellner (see his work in Vol. V #1) set out to reveal their visual language, one hidden for eons within the Earth. Imaginary Realms highlights these abstract compositions, spanning a wide diversity of evocative images.

This vibrant book also chronicles Fellner’s unique journey as a macro photographer, and in great detail. Fellner’s fascination with minerals began about eleven years ago, fueled by his keen interest in both art and science and his own collection. He embarked on an eighteen-month exploration of the macro-photographic process best suited to fulfill his vision, from lighting, and paper and printing techniques, to the more technical of lenses and camera settings. He finally arrived at the Canon EOS 5D Mark III SLR camera: “Its full-frame sensor allows for viewing an image with full extent capability of the Canon EF 100mm f2.8L lens.” For lighting, he uses one or two daylight-balanced CFL lights with two Photoflex LiteDome softboxes attached to the CFL lights. 

Stone and crystal staging area. ©2016 George Fellner

These technical experiments were supplemented with trips to local stone and crystal mineral shows, as well as the East Coast Gem Show in Massachusetts and a trip to Tucson, Arizona, for the Annual Gem and Mineral show, all to expand his source material.

When photographing his subjects, Fellner first tries to understand the multiple colors within the objects’ actual fractures and how they react to natural or artificial light. He then composes positioning relationships of angle/orientation to the light source, crystal, and camera. “Manifesting the Aura” illustrates this effect:

Manifesting the Aura, photograph. ©2016 George Fellner

Beyond the detailing of his actual photographic process, included in Imaginary Realms are seventy-seven full-color plates of his major works; a detailed description of the geological aspect of stones and crystals as it relates to mineralogy; and the formative influences of science and art.

The Falls of Cuyana, photograph. ©2016 George Fellner

The bedrock of Fellner’s lyrical abstract imagery is a broad knowledge of art history and a deep understanding of the pivotal movements in modern and contemporary painting. “The Falls of Cuyuna” demonstrates compositional line, pattern, color, texture, and two-dimensional form. 

In 2007, Fellner’s works were exhibited in his first two-person exhibition. The following year he was invited to participate in a three-person show and accepted into many adjudicated art exhibitions. In 2010, his first solo exhibition was held at the eco-art lab in Chester, Connecticut.

Today, Fellner enjoys a solid regional and rapidly growing national reputation. He is continuously accepted into major exhibitions and is represented in the significant permanent collection of the Smilow Cancer Hospital of Yale University, New Haven. Imaginary Realms provides not only a satisfying visual experience for art enthusiasts in general, but technical expertise that could prove invaluable to the most novice of photographers.

Winged Messenger, photograph. ©2016 George Fellner. Private Collection.

Copyright 2017 Woven Tale Press LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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