Sandra Lee Kaplan was a photographer of Hollywood sets, the Parisian fashion industry, and celebrities for four decades, until she moved to Colorado and turned her eye to horses, livestock, and western landscapes. Kaplan is best known for her large-scale prints on handmade papers from women’s collectives around the world. Her process is organic, approaching the subjects without a preconceived idea of the final image. In 2017, Sandra was awarded “Honorable Mention” at the Western Heritage Art Show.
AKG: Tell us about your latest award received at the Western Heritage Art Show?
SLK: I was one of the very few out of state participants invited to the show in Great Falls, Montana, making it doubly honorable to have been awarded “Honorable Mention” for “Power.”
AKG: What is the story behind the piece? How did you get the shot?
SLK: “Power” was taken in Craig, Colorado of wild horses being moved from the range in Spring. As these horses were being brought down, they broke free and raced towards me and my camera. If the horses charged me, I was told to basically stand up and wave my arms.
Instead, of course, I remained crouched down, eye glued to the lens, finger on the button, shooting away as the horses charged across the river towards me. “Power” was the remarkable combination of nature, instinct, and years of experience culminating into one frame. I was very lucky in so many ways– I wasn’t hurt and got the shot! A perfect day…
AKG: The paper and quality of the print is remarkable! Tell us more about these handmade papers?
SLK: The particular piece of paper used in “Power” has leaves embedded in the fibers, which gives the photo a more interesting texture. It’s a challenge to print this way, but always worth the results. It also gives me an opportunity to support women in their endeavors as many come from women’s collectives, and from an artistic perspective, the paper adds unique interest to the image that is not usually combined with photography.
AKG: What do you love about handmade paper, photography, and these women’s collectives?
SLK: I print on handmade paper because of the texture, and the excitement created when the product is finished. It is always a surprise, always exciting! It doesn’t always work, but I learn each time I print. Wherever I am, in any city, state or even country, I search for hand-made paper. You never know when you will stumble across just the perfect piece.
Just lately, I was in Los Angeles, California when I found an amazing paper shop, I paid $180.00/sheet for a very large size piece of hand-made paper! I had to purchase two (2) sheets just incase the first print did not work out. Generally it’s not that expensive, but it’s also very difficult to find very large sheets, and when I found these I just had to get them. When I say large, I’m speaking of 4 feet by 6 feet. Those are large and very difficult to work with, but perfect for what I love to do, which is “the larger the better.” It’s simply a personal preference.
AKG: Thank you, Sandy! We look forward to showing “Power” in the June 15th group exhibition, America at Heart: ‘It’s the West Honey..’ and seeing you at the Artists’ Reception.