Read an exclusive interview with Neil Folberg
Neil Folberg was born in San Francisco in 1950 but spent most of his childhood in the Midwest. He became interested in photography around 1966 and soon after became a pupil of renowned photographer Ansel Adams at the age of seventeen. Folberg then continued his photographic education at the University of California at Berkeley and individualized study with landscape photographer William Garnett that led to a BA in Photographic Field Studies. In 1975 he married his wife and the following year they relocated to Jerusalem, where he began producing color landscapes throughout the deserts of Israel, Egypt, and Jordan resulting in his 1987 book, “In a Desert Land.” Folberg was commissioned by Aperture to document synagogues in the Jewish Diaspora across the world leading to the book “And I Shall Dwell Among Them.”
This was followed by a return to black-and-white in a series of night skies among ancient ruins of the Middle East, where separate images of the landscape and burned-in skies were digitally composited. This work was collected in the book, “Celestial Nights: Visions of an Ancient Land” winner of the New York Book Show Prize, First Place Photography, 2002. The world depicted in Celestial Nights here is composed of a delicately constructed order where earthly elements and the heavens mirror each other. Folberg sets an ancient land resonant with meaning against the awesome and eternal spectacle of the night sky. “Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists” was published in 2005 and his latest work, “Serpent’s Chronicle,” represents a further evolution of Folberg’s interest in staged photography. Galleries worldwide have exhibited Folberg’s work and his photographs are in collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Yale University Art Museum, Bibliothéque Nationale in Paris, and the Israel Museum, among others. Folberg lives in Jerusalem where he continues to produce work.