Telling the VAC Story Through Photography
Telling the VAC Story Through Photography by Valley Art Center Staff
When you visit Valley Art Center’s website, open their invitations or see their ads in the local paper, chances are you’ll find photography by Michael Steinberg. Since 2012, Michael has provided the pictures that illustrate the Valley Art Center story. It’s a story of thousands of people deeply engaged in art-making in the Chagrin Valley. And Michael will tell you, wherever people are absorbed in creativity, it makes for great portraits.
Michael Steinberg taught photography and darkroom at Valley Art Center in the seventies until his commercial photography business consumed his time. As the years passed, he found himself returning to teaching and, around 2011, Valley Art Center hired him to offer photography classes again. “One class stands out,” Michael recalls. “I had five students. Of the five, one became a photo editor, two became professional photographers and one traveled the world and published a book of photography.”
Michael says it was a natural transition from teaching to shooting around the Center, and now he has become the go-to photographer for all of Valley Art Center’s publicity photography. He provides all of his work as a volunteer, stating that, “in semi-retirement, shooting at the Center helps me keep up my camera skills and I am able to experiment with art photography which I have not done until recently.” Naturally, his time and expertise are a gift that the nonprofit regards with deep gratitude and, two years ago, Michael was recognized with VAC’s Distinguished Service Award.
“People here at Valley Art Center really appreciate what I do, and that makes it very rewarding,” he says. “In commercial work, you don’t always know how the photography will be used. It’s very satisfying when people find great ways to work with your photographs. Valley Art Center uses my work really well.”
Photographing art students isn’t the same as shooting the interior of a nuclear power plant or two miles down in a longwall mine, but to see Michael lying on the gallery floor or climbing on ladders for the right shot, you wouldn’t think there was a difference. Michael tries something new with every shoot and his attention to detail, enthusiasm and humor show. “People should look at the photos and see what’s actually happening—it’s not posed,” he says. “I will do minor things like ask students to move an easel, but once class is started, I’m pretty much out of the picture.”
Take a look at Michael Steinberg’s photographs on Valley Art Center’s website and you will see the real deal in every portrait of an art student, artist or art aficionado. How does he do it? “Take your time and wait for the right moment,” Michael says.
See the Student/Faculty Art Exhibit
View a showcase of faculty and student artwork in Valley Art Center’s Margaret “Peg” Bowen Gallery, June 30 through August 1. Join us for light refreshments on Friday, July 7, from 6:00 to 8:00pm.
ARTSHOP | MAY 4–5
ART BY THE FALLS | JUNE 9–10
SUMMER CLASSES | JUNE 18–AUGUST 11
ANNUAL STUDENT/FACULTY ART EXHIBIT | JUNE 29–AUGUST 1
RECEPTION 6–8PM FRIDAY, JULY 6
FALL I ADULT CLASSES | SEPTEMBER 10–OCTOBER 20