Topic: studio (4 posts)


This is a heads-up post. We are moving my studio from Allston, MA, where it has been for almost ten years, to Acton, MA. 

Why? The new space is far closer to where I live and it is also larger, as the old space was feeling pretty tight.

The current studio a couple of years ago at Allston Open Studios

I have been searching for a new space since I moved to Acton almost two years ago.

Since open-heart surgery in June, my work has been in a kind of limbo. With some smaller projects in process but no shows on the horizon and no effort being made to create new shows.

The new studio is in an office building where I will be the only artist. In order to make it suitable, the owners are knocking down walls to open the space up. The move is February 1 and we will shut down printing and framing in Allston on January 1 to get things ready for the move.

The new space in Concord

To a career artist such as myself a studio represents more than just a place to work and perhaps house a career's art, it is one's identity, a visual and physical marker of the work made and the person that made it as well. An invitation to come to my studio and look at work allows me to share not only some portfolios of prints but also to share my workplace. A studio such as what's described should be a warm, quiet and attractive space with good light for it is where my ideas are brought to fruition, where shows are made and framed, where work is housed and made easily accessible and ideas are made real. 

An artist studio, whether in a backroom in your home, a repurposed garage or a separate small building on your property, says you've made a commitment to being an artist.  It speaks to a level of professionalism and that there is history, years of work represented there. 

Committed to your art? A dedicated studio space says just that.

I can't wait to get in the new place.

I welcome your ideas. Reach me: here

Topics: studio,Studio Move

Permalink | Posted November 18, 2021

Invitation to Studio

The blog is back and I am hereby inviting you to a print viewing event at my studio in Boston.

It seems I spend a great deal of time speaking about and writing about the value of printing, complainng about how too few do it, how it serves as the qualitative arbitrer of our imagery, how important it is to see what we do presented as an actual print, how prints serve as a way to file a group of photographs in a portfolio, to store a group of prints as a group and so on.

Well, now's your chance to see prints I've made throughout my career. On two consecutive evenings in September Panopticon Gallery and I are opening my studio for people to come and view work. And I am inviting you to join us.

Details are here:

Panopticon Gallery and Neal Rantoul Photography announce:

An Evening with Neal Rantoul

Monday, September 16th 6:30-8:30 pm

Tuesday, September 17th 6:30-8:30 pm

Join Neal at his studio for some light refreshments and a chance to look at portfolios that span his career. From the first series of vintage darkroom prints of Nantucket made in 1981, to new work just printed from Iceland this past July, this is a unique opportunity to look at original work and to meet with this prolific photographer.

Join us for one evening or both.

Please rsvp to:

Jason Landry, owner, Panopticon Gallery

or 617-267-8929

An email will be sent to you with the address of the studio. There is plenty of free parking and the studio is centrally located in Allston near the Mass Pike.

We hope to see you there!

As a  general guide to those that are planning on attending: you might want to look at my site to see which portfolios you'd like to look at when you arrive.

Topics: studio

Permalink | Posted August 21, 2013

Studio Move

This post is a little removed from writing about photography, but it does relate in that it concerns what happens to someone who has made photographing, making prints and exhibitions a profession over several decades.

In January I will move out of the studio I've had for 22 years into a new one. One of the wonderful percs of the job I had at Northeastern University was that I was given a studio in a school-owned warehouse rent free. Now that I am retired I needed to move on.

I searched through late summer and early fall for a space that would be large enough, affordable, secure and pleasant to work in and found one in a building in Allston MA, near where I live in Cambridge. Finding a studio can be tough, at least here in the Boston area.  I learned to persevere and to network. 

If you've looked at the work on my site you may be thinking to yourself, "What's he need a studio for, he doesn't shoot in a studio?" Very true, and in all those years I only used the studio as a place to make photographs a few times. This is an aside, but my students did use it many times, with the most notable instance being when two male students built a mock up of a WW II B-52 bomber in bas relief in the space to display on its side pinup photographs in the Vargas style. 

A studio for me is where I store my work, where exhibitions come back to after being shown and where I do the matting and framing needed to get shows ready to go out. I also do any scanning necessary there. Just as important, the studio is where I show curators, collectors, colleagues, friends, etc. my work. So my studio becomes a place where I want to present myself professionally and it is a reflection of my aesthetic. 

Does this mean the studio needs to look high end and "designed"? Not at all. What  little furniture I have is more "hand me down" and "Ikea" than anything else. But organized and neat is important as well as emphasizing the work, both in the storage of the sets of portfolios I have but also in the display of work on the studio walls.

This is my studio a few years ago, ready for a Sunday afternoon event that was by invitation only where I showed work to friends, museum directors and a few collectors:

This is the same space now, packed up and almost ready for the move in a couple of weeks:

Obviously, studios are different things to different people but one thing seems to be  clear. Studios are a place that is somehow dedicated to the creative process. In my case it is about looking at my photographs, editing them, making them into portfolios, making them ready to show, and so on.

I print my own work and presumably always will as I like the control over my pictures this gives me. Plus it is cheaper. I print at home and bring the results to the studio to finish the work. Where I live is too small to house all the work done over my career. I have a friend who has her work space in the top floor of her house. She prints there and makes the work ready for display there too. I admit to being a little envious of this and maybe I will do this one day too. On the other hand there may be some good in separating out work from your living space.

If you're serious about photography I believe it is important to get your act together about your work. There is discipline in being a full time artist, a need to be organized and a financial investment too. A studio can help in making the commitment and is a place to immerse yourself in your work, hopefully without distractions. I recommend it highly.

Topics: studio

Permalink | Posted December 22, 2012


Portfolios....not a big word but one with huge significance these days. It also can have many different meanings. I have been teaching recently on the topic of making portfolios, what a portfolio is, what a portfolio needs to look like and what it is for. It seems I will be doing more workshops over the winter and spring, 2013 on portfolios.

For me a portfolio is a cohesive body of work designed to show off your photographs in the best way you know how. The key here is "cohesive". This doesn't necessarily mean the photographs are from the same place or time. It simply means that the work represented is edited, has a sequence and is shown in the best way you know how at this point in your development.

If you've seen any of my work or spent any time with it on the website, you''ll know I work most often in series. Each one of the groups on the site is backed up by a portfolio of prints that are from 13 x 19 inches on up to perhaps 40 inches across, laid out in a specific sequence, boxed and labelled, sitting on shelves or in flat files in my studio.

Besides the downsides of the labor involved, the cost of printing and boxing each series and needing the storage space to hold and highlight a great deal of work, there are some obvious advantages in working this way. If the work is well organized, it is easy to look at bodies of work made over a whole career. This is key for me as this is the way I show curators, collectors and gallerists my photography. Another big plus to this way of working is that when I have finished a portfolio I can move on to the next. Don't underestimate this in terms of importance. I can't get to new work without finishing and putting to rest older work. 

An additional benefit is that one new outcome of having a website that is as deep as mine is now becoming is that I am able to ask those who are coming to my studio to look at work for the first time to preview various series and come with the request in hand to see specific bodies of work. 

In future blogs I will go into more specifics about portfolios and their preparation.

As always, you  can email me with your comments: Neal's Email

Topics: portfolio,studio,Commentary

Permalink | Posted December 7, 2012