Artist Profile - Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts

Artist Profile
An Interview with Larry Berman

14 July 2001

Photographer Lawrence Berman can sell you a piece of Asian history before it enters the past.

Three years from now, hundreds of miles of China's Yangtze River region will go under water, flooded by a multi-billion-dollar dam project. To capture images of the area, Berman and his wife took a five-day cruise down the Yangtze in October 1988.

"It's really a sense of history," said Berman, 51, of Russellton PA. Side trips took the couple into the Lesser Gorges, part of a much larger region that includes farmlands and cities.

The Yangtze photos dominate Berman's booth at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, but he's also offering a selection of still-life photographs featuring hand-painted props.

Toolbox by Lawrence Berman

Watering cans and gardening tools are among 
photographer Lawrence Berman's still-life subjects.

"We take ordinary objects and paint them," Berman said. "Then we paint the backgrounds. It gives us a way of controlling colors so they look unusual. "Watering cans, gardening tools and a pitchfork are among Berman's still-life subjects. The images can become so abstract, he said, that they don't appear photographic. "People look at them and think they're computer-generated, but they're not," Berman said. "It's just straight photography." 

Berman, a career artist who has appeared at the CPFA intermittently for 20 years, said his photography skill comes naturally.

"It's something inside of me that I didn't know existed until I picked up a camera," he said. "I started selling my pictures almost right from the beginning."

After his childhood in New York City, an education at Queens College and completion of a psychology degree in the mid-1970's, Berman turned to freelance photography as a livelihood.

Earlier in the decade, he started by photographing rock concerts, then switched to sports coverage as an employee of the NBA.

But by 1976, Berman began to see a more lucrative way to use his lenses: fine art.

"I discovered art shows where I could go out and make more money on a weekend than I did during the week," he said. A year and a half later, I quit my full time job and did the art shows."

Today, thanks to the patronage of other artists he's met on the art show circuit, Berman operates a side business on the Internet. Through his own web site, www.BermanGraphics.com, he builds other sites for artists, especially photographers.

Being self-employed is no simple task, but it can be a principled one, Berman said.

"It's never been a dream-come-true," he said. It's always been hard work. But it's hard work for myself and not someone else."

Berman's per item prices at CPFA range from $20 to $225. Profits aren't his sole concern, though.

"The joy you get from a self-employed art career is much greater than the joy you get from working for someone else," Berman said. "Here you take your work with you wherever you go, it's part of your life."

by Adam Smeltz
Centre Daily Times

All photos on this site are available for stock or fine art sales
contact Larry Berman for more information

Slide scanning for ZAPP and other digital jury systems

Jury Slide Photography

1970s ABA and NBA Basketball photographs
specializing in Julius Erving (Dr J) photographs

Order prints from any gallery

Support BermanGraphics

Contact Us

Participate in the Art Shows Forum

Web site content Larry Berman

email Larry Berman - larry@bermanart.com