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From the Blink of an Eye to an Eternal Image

The Fine Art Photography of Bob Tabor  

They say that a person’s signature carries their energy. In the case of photographer Bob Tabor, his signature style carries an energy that feels almost three dimensional, creating vibrant images people not only want to view but live with intimately in their homes. He even attends every installation, deriving a deep artistic satisfaction. “I want to see your eyes when the image becomes part of your life. I never name my work. It’s only a number because I want you to write the script. It’s your beach, it’s your splash, it’s your horse, it’s all you.”

An Executive Creative Director for top New York City ad agencies for over forty years, Tabor has worked with the best directors, photographers and graphic designers in the business. “When the time came to broaden my horizons, instead of critiquing others work I started to do my own,” explains Tabor, “I don’t just shoot the surface which I call God’s palette, I go deeper below.”

Tabor’s graphic acumen is another signature element in presenting his limited editions, carefully composing not only the shot but the way it is cropped. His equine images, earned with the horse’s trust, capture their soul and the cropping puts a different spin on his visuals. He was discovered by the people from Ralph Lauren and his work is in their shops on four continents. His images have such a painterly quality that the manager at the Ralph Lauren store thought it looked so much like a water color that he asked him to take it out of the frame. 

And while he exhibits internationally, it is East Hampton where he has been since 1978 and eventually built his own home where his creative spirit thrives. “There’s nothing like it on earth,” he says. Tabor is especially passionate about his work when he heads to the beach, recently debuting his “Splash” series.  

“At the beach I am visualizing every moment that changes. I see the image before I take it. I am able to get it down to one frame and know where I am going with it. I use a long lens to flatten out the visuals and make a presentation of the final image that is very graphic.” Interior designers love his work not only for its visual appeal but because he can print in all different sizes to suit the specific space in a home. Some are single prints, others triptychs, and his Splash images are even part of a limited series of surfboards he has created.

You could say that Tabor is old school, he prefers books to Kindle and told his students at the School of Visual Arts to find a way to turn off all the technology. “I would tell them; you look but you don’t see what you’re looking at.” He is also not necessarily a fan of very conceptual art. He tells the story of being in an art show where the installation next to his was a brick on the floor and a tattered piece of cloth with haphazard paint and a hole in it. “That was the show and six times the cost of any of my pictures,” recounts Tabor, “And it sold! I asked the artist ‘What is this?’ and he said, ‘You don’t understand the force with which that brick went through that painting which is a representation of my inner being, my heart and broke it.’ I gave him the name of my therapist and said you should call him.”

Bob Tabor

Tabor speaks about the importance of support as a creative person and credits Andrea McCafferty and Kat O’Neill at the White Room Gallery in East Hampton for their long-term guidance and representation. “They have an eye being both artists the way they curate the shows and it’s also lovely the way they take care of their customers.” From the photographer to his subject, from the art to its buyer, and from everyone who keeps personal connections to keep the creative arts alive and well, it may be just one click of the shutter, but it is a lifetime of enjoyment.