For purchasing, exhibition, or general inquiries, please contact inquiries@norihall.com.

Nori Hall (1950-2017)

Nori Hall died in January, 2017. Her photography continues to live on, and is now in the care of her family. All her work is available for exhibition.

Personal History, A Note from the Artist

I graduated from Smith College in 1972 with a degree in fine arts and economics, and I went on to obtain graduate degrees in architecture at Rice University and business at Stanford University. I found work as an architect and, later, in real estate. After marrying and having children, I discovered photography. From the first, I felt that something auspicious was happening in the darkroom. The wonder of seeing a picture emerge on a piece of paper sloshing about in an open tray of liquid chemicals in a darkened room was thrilling to me. In addition, the quiet order of development and printing processes was somehow both exciting and meditative.

My first major project consisted of a theatrical visualization of the Cinderella story illustrated with photographs. My children, husband, and neighbors acted as models, and fragments of garden photographs provided a background for the story pictures. I translated Charles Perrault’s 16th century tale from French to English, made costumes from old clothes and trim, and used my living room as a stage set. I placed the text and hand-colored images over photographs made with infrared film of a friend’s garden in Half Moon Bay, California. I subsequently transformed the background garden photographs into large format images in their own right.

I have been interested in creating photographs that have a dreamy, sometimes dark, and always mysterious mood. My images do not portray what I see through the lens of my camera. I achieve a personal kind of impression, rather than an explicit depiction, typically first by the compositions I choose, and ultimately by suppressing detail and using blended, subtle, and somewhat unrealistic color. I print on heavily textured watercolor paper which softens edges and lends a certain aura to the prints.

I use both analog and digital techniques. I shoot film, and print digitally. My basic tools are a Hasselblad 501 C/M medium format camera, a wide format digital printer, and highly textured paper which I suspend in shadow box type, simple wood frames. My prints most often are 32” x 40” once framed.

For the past decade, I have been devoted to landscape photography. I have drifted from a diptych or triptych format to creating singular images. I have begun to open up my sepia-dominated palette to include full, though stylized color. I have worked in my backyard and those of my friends, formal English gardens, and the rural Kentucky landscape. The aesthetic possibilities of landscape work are infinite and have led me to explore a wide variety of compositions, subject matter, points of view, mood, and color.

While I have found in photography a great outlet, a refuge from the demands of daily life, and a mysterious, magical arena where I can play, the basic purpose of what I do as a photographer is to offer myself and viewers of my work pure aesthetic pleasure. By discovering and emphasizing order and solidity that I find in the landscape, I arrive at a kind of abstraction of color and shape. I am interested in creating sensitive arrangements of form, color, and texture that are beautiful. In that respect, my work is decidedly romantic and nostalgic, though not without contemporary relevance. My imagery rarely includes urban phenomena per se, but insofar as it challenges the viewer to find beauty in modern surroundings, it does, nonetheless, ultimately reflect and engage the modern context where we all live. While they may seem to be impossibly pristine in light of everyday places and concerns, my images are of beautiful settings which exist today both in our dreams and in reality. It is in their dark, mysterious mood that these photographs exhibit a kind of irony about the tension between ideal places and more typical environs.

Professional History, A Note from the Artist

Before delving into photography, I worked as an architect in New York City and, later, as a project manager for real estate development companies in the San Francisco Bay area. My education includes an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (1981), a Master of Architecture degree from Rice University (1976), a Graduate Diploma from The Architectural Association (1973), and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College (1972) where I majored in economics and fine arts. Throughout all of my professional and domestic phases, as well as my student days, I have made art.