Artist spotlight: Ellen Hoverkamp

Photographer Ellen Hoverkamp will present on the art of scanner photography at the Edison Club on Wed., March 8.Photographer Ellen Hoverkamp will present on the art of scanner photography at the Edison Club on Wed., March 8.

By Kristin Schultz

A camera isn’t the only way to capture striking images. Scanner photography is the art of arranging items on a flatbed scanner then editing and printing the results. Connecticut photographer Ellen Hoverkamp has been creating compositions using this technique since 1997, and on Wednesday, March 8, will give a talk and presentation at the Edison Club at a program hosted by the Garden Explorers.

Scanner photography produces vividly graphic, sometimes three-dimensional looking images, and while the end product may look simple, creating the work of art is no easy feat. To begin, the items – flowers, bird nests, food or other (usually) organic material – are arranged on the bed of the scanner upside down in order to capture the arrangement correctly.

“It takes a lot of practice,” said Hoverkamp.

Once arranged, Hoverkamp turns off the lights and scans the items. Then, she digitally retouches the image. It can take her between 30 minutes and two hours to arrange the plants just right and another one to three hours to retouch the image to achieve the perfect effect.

Scanner photography

“Then, of course, there’s the time involved in collecting the flowers and foraging the plants from people’s gardens,” said Hoverkamp who herself is not a gardener or horticulturist. “That’s the best thing, the element of generosity keeps me going.”

Neighbors, friends and farmers offer Hoverkamp access to their land so she can collect items. She seeks to capture those places and that moment in the garden in her work.

“My compositions are inspired by other art forms, paintings, sculpture or the garden itself,” she said. “I try to recreate the aesthetic of a place distilled using a couple of items.”

Hoverkamp’s work has appeared in publications across the country with the highest concentration of her work featured in Natural Companions by Ken Druse, published in 2012. She travels frequently, presenting her art and technique and selling note cards, prints and silk scarves.

Her work and more information about this former public school art teacher is available on her website myneighborsgarden.com. For more information on Wednesday’s program, email gardenexplorers1@gmail.com.

An Introduction to Floral Scanner Photography, Wednesday, March 8 – 7 p.m., Edison Club 891 Riverview Road, Rexford, gardenexplorers1@gmail.com, $5 admission.