Behind 'Behind the Scenes'

RENO, Nev. Thanks to Artown, the public is exposed to hundreds of different forms of art, but how often do you think about the time it took to bring that art to life?

A local photographer is trying to bring light the hidden side of the arts.

It's a side most artists don't often let the public see. But it's a side where countless hours of sweat, frustration, and determination come together to create beauty.

That is the side of art award winning photographer, Jeff Ross, tried to capture in his series, 'Behind the Scene'. Developed just for Artown, the purpose of the series is to lift the veil on art, and expose the grit and hard work that goes into creating the finished pieces presented to the public.

"People see a painting and think 'Oh I could do that', well probably not if they knew how long it took to get there," Ross said. "So I try to capture it."

Ross spent months meeting with local and international artists- from dancers to craftsmen- to get inside their heads and capture their motivation for doing what they do.

"At first I came in with the cameras and the light and they were a little reserved," he said. "But once we spent a few hours with them, they let down their guard and they let me be the fly on the wall."

But there's something in the images that make to moments come to life. It could be the method used to print the photos- a silver based paper rarely used- or it could be because of the artist behind the camera, not in front.

"I think in a still image, I always try to create motion and emotion," Ross said. "And some of that is with the personality of the people I'm photographing. But also with lighting and camera position."

Ross has spent more than 30 years learning how to summarize a life-long passion into a single moment.

"For me it's kind of the blend between art and science. I think if you do not have command of your tools, lighting, composition, no matter how creative you want to be you can't get past that."

Ross says though this series was created specifically for Artown, he plans to continue the work.

"There are so many more artists I want to meet."

'Behind the Scenes" is currently being displayed on the first floor in Reno City Hall. A special meet the artist reception will be held Thursday evening from 5-7 pm at Reno City Hall.