ALASTAIR ORPEN FINLAY
1943 – 2009
Alastair Orpen Finlay was born to English parents on November 29, 1943, in Maracaibo, Venezuela, where his father was an oil company executive. He was educated in England, where he excelled at art, following in the path of his great-uncle, the renowned portrait painter Sir William Orpen. After school, he began to work in advertising and publishing firms in London, where he was immediately attracted to photography. Finlay moved to New York City in 1968, at the age of 24. For the rest of his life, he worked as an editorial and advertising photographer, although he was increasingly drawn to art photography and won numerous prizes for his experimental work. His last series, which he called the "Vortex of Light," consists of 16 x 20-inch digital color prints created with Iris inkjet technology from traditional black and white prints derived from single and multiple-exposure negatives. The "Vortex of Light" series is printed on deckle-edged Somerset paper, which is handmade in England. "I have dealt with my life, sometimes in a solitary state," Finlay wrote, "with a sense of poetry juxtaposed with an interest in Science and the Ethereal." Finlay died in New York City on December 8, 2009, after a brave fight with cancer. Finlay leaves behind a compelling body of unique work, which is, perhaps, the most important thing one can say about an artist.