3724 Oxford Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63143
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MARQUESS GALLERY HISTORY
Don Marquess has been a fine art photographer for more than 25 years, specializing in close-up studies of color and form. Though he has formally studied the technical side of photography, Marquess earned most of his photographic education from professional photographers on a personal basis.
Marquess uses a 35-millimeter Contax camera for all his photographs, and credits the Zeiss lenses he uses, made with German glass, as "the real secret to that camera. It's the best glass in the whole world." Also contributing to the clarity and brilliance of Marquess' images are his use of very slow 50 ASA film, and his insistence on shooting everything handheld, without a tripod, in natural light.
Early in his career, Marquess sold his prints primarily to corporate clients. He also entered a number of photography contests, earning various local and national awards, including an honor award from Kodak in 1982 for his piece, "Harlequin In Venice."
In 1992, EverColor, a California company, developed a process called pigment transfer, in which digital scans of images are transferred to non-light reactive paper, with the colors laid on top of the paper, rather than the paper reacting to them. To demonstrate the quality of the print they were producing, EverColor assembled "Moments in Time," a portfolio of photographs using this process. Marquess' photographs of hot air balloons, which featured an explosion of color, were selected for the collection. Marquess was one of only ten photographers in the nation to be chosen for this collection
The increased national exposure that came with inclusion in this portfolio allowed Marquess to open Marquess Gallery in suburban St. Louis' Plaza Frontenac in 1993.
In 1998, inspired by St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire's pursuit of the major league home run record, Marquess, a life-long baseball fan, got the idea to photograph 62 smashed baseballs. When the balls arrived, he liked how they looked so much that he decided to photograph them before crushing them. Taking the balls outside into the late afternoon light, Marquess laid them all in a pile and took the photograph that would become "The Balls of Summer," then shot the photographs that became "Old Glory," "Patriot" and "Smokin'." It was the first time he had ever taken photographs of a baseball.
Just four days after Marquess hung those four prints in his gallery, McGwire himself walked in for a visit. McGwire liked the prints and spread the word; in the next few weeks, more than half the Cardinals team visited the gallery and bought prints."
Since then, Marquess has become the exclusive photographer of Sammy Sosa's 66th home run ball and McGwire's 70th home run ball, and has worked on projects with Cardinals legends Lou Brock, Al Hrabosky and Jack Buck. Marquess baseball prints hang in the homes and offices of players and front office personnel from more than 25 different Major League Baseball teams, and his baseball-themed prints, posters and cards are available in team gift shops and clubhouses across the country and at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
In April 2000, Marquess brought his gallery to historic Union Station in downtown St. Louis, where the business, with its focus now on baseball, has continued to grow. With the launch of baseballfineart.com, Marquess hopes to make his baseball prints available to a worldwide audience over the Internet.