A Spotlight Series About The Technique Of Photographic Imagery by Photographers For Photography!
WHAT IS YOUR SPECIALTY:
I work in fashion and still life, with a focus on fine art conceptual pieces and commercial work. I know – vague.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS:
I’ve always loved it. When I was in high school I had a really amazing photography teacher named Mr. George Talley. This was before all electives were cut. He showed me how to develop film and work in the dark room – an experience that forever changed me. It wasn’t until I got published by Gawker and started attending fashion shows that I really looked at photography as a career. I had access to an industry I loved and the moments to make good pictures were plentiful.
FAVORITE TOOLS FOR YOUR TRADE:
I use a 5D Mark II and have a Leica D‑LUX 5 for my blog. I work with a variety of lights, from Impact to ProFoto, I’ve even worked with Alien Bees. Each shoot is different. I’ve really wanted to work with Broncolor but I’ve never had a chance to. Recently I’ve become obsessed with Hahnemuhle Baryta for my fine art show.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “ON THE GO” CAMERA TO SHOOT WITH AND WHY:
I try to always keep my Leica D‑LUX 5 with me. I really want an M9, but that’s really just a dream till I book more commercial work. The small camera takes really honest photos. When you have a DSLR with you, the camera takes over the moment, people try to pose, we’re in an age of over-styled street fashion and everyone’s watching out for cameras, they’re either drawn to them or afraid of them. I really like having a small “walking about” camera. But readers on blogs are really judgmental and they need a good photo. If you can’t make a good photo for your blog, they turn away quickly.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE PHOTOGRAPHIC REVALATION GOING ON OUT THERE WHERE EVERYONE HAS A CAMERA?
It makes educating the client harder. I’ve had clients tell me they can’t afford to work with me because they spent 4k on a camera and don’t know how to use it. They wonder why they can’t get the same pictures I do with the camera we both have. It breaks my heart, because for half that cost, we’d have enough cash to make some good photography.
Photography has really moved away from the camera, it’s just a tool we all have. It’s become more like sculpture. Michael Weschler (@MichaelWeschler ) a photographer friend of mine likens being a photographer to being a director. We produce photography. We make the picture happen. That’s what people don’t really get about photography. We need to make the photo. Then you also have to know how to record the image you’re making. It’s a holistic 360-degree process, which people don’t get. You don’t just show up, point and shoot. Then fix everything in Photoshop. Photoshop can’t create a pixel. You need the right exposure to capture an image that Photoshop can improve on.
We can’t stop clients from thinking it’s the camera, but it would be nice if they spent more on photographers they liked, instead of gear they can’t use. It would help everyone and make better content.
Clients, especially new clients don’t understand how much time and planning photography involves. I also think this is effecting the top of the market, because art buyers seem very weary to try anyone new, unless they have proven themselves a countless number of times.
WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHY INDUSTRY AS WE APPROACH IN 2013:
Have no clue. Probably the same as 2012, I don’t see technology effecting us greatly. I think their needs to be changes. Lots of changes and I see no organization. Which is frustrating. Lot’s of young photographers are depressing their own industry because they’re jumping at every “Work for Hire” contract sent their way and lowering their rate to next to nothing. It would be great to educate and figure out a way to communicate to all the “cool kids” who don’t really understand the business of photography. I was one of them. Now I really understand how to estimate and say no and build value for my work. So much of art has to do with making your own market. I don’t know if my long road will pay off. I’m hoping it does. When an emerging photographer gives in to a “Work for Hire” contract everyone suffers.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR CLIENTS THAT GET TO BENEFIT FROM YOUR CREATIVE EXPERTISE AND PASSION:
My work is in two museums. The Museum at FIT and Leslie Lohman, I had a chance to work with Icon Fitness and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (she’s really sweet, smart and nice in person). Daphne Guinness is my hands down favorite subject and model, she was a joy to work with and I’m very excited to have been included in her Yale University book. I’ve worked with a variety of fashion designers and look forward to growing in that realm. I’m never satisfied with my work and always want to get better. I also love getting published on La Daily Musto – Michael is a lot of fun to hang out with, I love going out with him and taking pictures of club kids. Daily Intel hired me because they saw my work on his blog.
TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THE IMAGE YOU ARE CHOOSING:
I started applying my knowledge of fashion photography to food; I really loved the concept of manipulating and styling. So I just started making work and wanted to experiment with process and light. Finally it came together as a show, I’m trying to place it now and starting to build relationships with galleries that have a base.
I don’t know if it’s a unique technique per say, I think it’s obvious that it’s on a light table. It’s two lights above, two below. What does make it unique is my obsession with styling and creating the work. It took me two hours to find the perfect lettuce, take it home, and style it just right. Add water droplets in all the right places and redo it a few times. Eighty frames were shot. I finally chose one and spent two hours retouching and refining the printing process. All told each photo in the series took an average of eight to twelve hours to make.
Photography simply takes time, we become more efficient with it, but good pictures take time and patience and there’s nothing we can do about it. Everyone wants everything to happen quickly because of the just in time Internet culture. But to get something truly extraordinary – it’s simply, time, patience and planning and there’s simply no short cut.
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