Q. How long have you been a professional
since 1982, when I lost my last "real" job, which was, believe it or
not, as a chauffeur for the entourage of the Queen of England.
(Yes, that's another story.....)
Q. What sort of lighting do you use?
setup is rather simple. I use a large (4x6') softbox placed at
about 45 degrees off the camera and elevated to about 15 ft.
Usually, we place a large white reflector directly off the shadow
side of the model and another below and in front of the set.
The set is elevated so that a reflector in front of the model
is not visible from camera.
In the studio, we use any of a number of
brands of strobe equipment, including Norman, Dyna-Lite, Speedatron,
Elinchrome, etc. Most of the top brands of studio lighting would
achieve the same effect. As long as the reading is between f.8
and f.11, I'm happy.
I'm also currently doing a lot of natural light work, using reflectors and hi ISO camera settings.
Q. What cameras, lenses and film do
you favor for this work?
A. For the b&w studio work, I'm
very partial to Hassleblad equipment. It's rugged and consistent
and can be rented in most large cities - and they don't pay me
to say that. (I wish they would, but they don't.)
Really, any good medium format equipment
will work - I simply use the camera I'm comfortable with. That
way, I'm thinking about the image and not the location of the
shutter release button. The camera should, ideally, be an unconscious
extension of the photographer's eye.
For digital work, I use the Nikon D2X, with an 18-200mm zoom lens.
In the studio, I almost always shoot the b&w work with a long lens. The 150mm or the 180mm lenses are both nice.
One drawback to the long lenses is the added weight they appear
to give to the models - which may be why most fashion and figure
shooters favor thin subjects.
If I'm shooting film (less and less common these days) I generally shoot Plus X, overexposed
by about a half-stop. I've tried using fine grain film, but
I really like the look of a nice
prominent grain pattern when I'm working under the enlarger.
And I use a special diffusion technique which eliminates most
of the grain from the final print.
Q. Do you process and print your own
no - print, yes. I prefer to have the film processed
and proofed by a trusted professional lab. That way, I get consistent results and I save myself a
lot of tedium and drudgery. I did my own processing for quite
a while, but when I began to get bigger budget jobs, I turned
that part of the work over to the experts.
Printing is another matter entirely. For
many photographers, the printing is just as tedious as the processing,
and they pay others to do it. I believe, however, that the final
print is the best expression of my original vision. Recently, digital printing techniques have gotten very good, so I'm also exploring that world now, and I'm seeing promising results from the new technology.
In the darkroom, I don't consider myself a master craftsman
by any means, but I've developed a technique for making prints
that I'm proud to present to collectors or galleries.
And I want them to have the knowledge that the final print is itself an art object, created, for better or worse, by the
photographer with his own hands