"Our commissioned work is our personal work." MONTALBETTI AND CAMPBELL
Denis Montalbetti and Gay Campbell have been working as an artistic partnership for decades. In that time they have developed a unique approach to image making that has garnered them an international reputation for excellence. Award-winning masters of the studio and of post-production, they harness the full potential of digital technology to create images with a nonetheless timeless quality. With a practice that spans commercial, editorial and fine art, they remind us that many of the artists of the past created their greatest works to commission and for a purpose.
"It is always a privilege to honor someone's presence with our photography, whether they have achieved a level of public account in their lives or not. It's never about their fame, it’s about the person." MONTALBETTI AND CAMPBELL
They are truly visual artists. While many contemporary practitioners begin a work with a concept and build an image that illustrates it, Montalbetti & Campbell begin with purely visual elements, fragments of a mental image. These visual fragments arrive from the ether unannounced – in a contemporary take on the classical notion of the muse, they describe these moments of inspiration as being delivered by the 'Cosmic FedEx'.
"Montalbetti & Campbell's portraits are uncanny in their ability to externalize the internal." SARA DASSELL, INDEPENDENT CURATOR
The images are developed through the symbiotic disciplines of the studio (costume, hair, make-up, setting, lighting) and post-production, where new layers of imagery are fused to the original photograph and the real and the imagined synthesis a new possibility. Ideas emerge from the purely visual, evolve through the act of making and find meaning in their dialogue with the viewer.
As Robert Cook notes in his essay, "Montalbetti & Campbell’s style does not attempt to emulate a specific period in art history.
"It is the shifting amalgam of references made coherent by their overall vision"..."You stare at the work and your mind is going in a million different places."
These are images that remain open for those that come to gaze upon them. They seduce but do not instruct. Once drawn into their imaginary realm the viewer is free to spin their own story; to follow their own path.
"Montalbetti & Campbell's portraits are invariably stunning, sometimes bizarre, utterly original, and always relevant." GREG HUNTER, EDITOR
It is the artists’ openness to possibility that brings such richness to their images, be it the intuitions of the Cosmic FedEx, the unexpected gesture of a model or the outcome of a random process.
ALASDAIR FOSTER, DIRECTOR, AUSTRALIAN CENTER for PHOTOGRAPHY 1998-2011