Ellen Cantor is a Chicago born photographer and book artist. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Interior and Architectural Design. After several years in an Interior Design career, Cantor made her decision to shift her focus to fine art photography in the year 2000. Most of her art studies originated from photography classes at Santa Fe Workshops. She also spent time learning under Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant in Canada as well as Aline Smithson at the Los Angeles Center for Fine Art Photography.
In one of her most recent series entitled "Prior Pleasures", Cantor uses book arts and photography to express the source of her favorite childhood memories as well as her love of literature. The piece is meant to combat the phenomena of technology replacing the tactile experience of reading a book. The series embodies and celebrates her youthful experiences of the magic and immersion she felt getting lost in the pages of fantastic tales.
"This series explores memory and preservation of the past while ensuring the creation of a visual legacy for the next generation. The books photographed for this series are the ones I have carried with me since childhood. My mother read them to me and, in turn, I read them to my children, carrying on a tradition of the written and spoken word." (Cantor, on her Prior Pleasures series).
In this series, Cantor used over twenty five of her most favorite and treasured classic childhood books, some of which include Alice in Wonderland, Little Women, Nancy Drew, and Raggedy Andy. Using multiple exposure technique, Canor explores concepts of memory, nostalgia, immersion, and preservation. Canor explains that the end results were created by the photographing of each individual page, then compiling a composite of the photographs. The process allowed her to depict the excitement of the fluttering of book pages as the story comes to life for young readers. While creating this series, Canor describes how she was transported back to a time and place that allowed and encouraged fantasy and imagination. Her documentation lead her to realize how we often find our selves honoring and valuing objects that encouraged our creativity in our childhoods.
"Ultimately, Prior Pleasures is meant to remind us that books can excite and enrich our lives."
Since 2002, Ellen Cantor has been exhibited in more than 100 shows throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. She is also a founding member of a fine art photography collective based out of South Bay called The Peacock Group. Cantor is also a member of Gallery 825, the Jewish Artists Initiative, and the Los Angeles Art Association (LAAA); a prestigious non-profit organization meant to support developing Los Angeles artists. Cantor's work has also appeared in Lenscratch, F-Stop Magazine, and Fraction Magazine.