After almost 40 years of making platinum prints, chemical fumes had harmed Tom Millea’s lungs to a point where he could no longer go into the darkroom. He says, “Closing my studio was traumatic in the extreme.” He didn’t believe that anyone else was capable of printing his work as he envisioned it. He liked computers but had no desire to try to make digital prints look like his platinum prints. “One technique could not replace the other,” he says. He selected prints from his inventory to sell in gallery shows and considered himself retired.
But by 2004, when the color palette of digital inks had changed, Millea thought his prints were beautiful, and comparable with his darkroom images. He began making digital color photographs full-time using an Epson 2200 printer. Over the next five years, he says, “By myself, step by step, I learned to use the computer to make images I felt were uniquely my own.” He eventually put together a complete digital studio with Apple computers and two Epson printers, the 4800 and the 9800. He could then make his own prints up to 40x60”.
The last thing I ever want to do is pose someone. On my travels I want pictures of people acting naturally, doing what they normally do, and if they acknowledge the camera at all, or pause for a portrait, I want them to do it in the most natural way. The people I photograph are always aware of me, but I never want them to play to the camera—which can be tricky because the very presence of the camera changes the situation.
Nov 21, 2011
Published: Oct 01, 2011
Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated with 3D viewing of photographs. In grade school, in the 1960s, the school library had a simple viewer with pairs of black-and-white stereo images. I loved to look at those over and over again.
Many commercial lifestyle/portrait shooters turn first and foremost to studio strobe to light their subjects. Not Ann Elliott Cutting. Her studio features a south-facing window that she utilizes to the max. I know, it’s not the proverbial north-facing skylight that we’ve been taught to strive for, but it does the job—and quite nicely. More than that, her penchant for employing window light doesn’t mean she shuns brawny power pack systems. She owns and uses those as well, but they’re not always the go-to gear even on commercial assignments and often play a subordinate role.
“Say it isn’t so!” exclaimed photographers all over the world when they heard the news about the end of Kodachrome film. Due to dwindling sales, Kodak made the difficult announcement they would no longer manufacture Kodachrome on June 22, 2009. The one remaining developer in the world, Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas, ceased processing the film early this year.
Oct 31, 2011
Published: Sep 01, 2011
It was 9pm on a Saturday night in April of 2008, and I had spent the day, as I spend so many days, at my computer, editing and retouching. My husband was out of town and I was feeling antsy and bored when an e-mail arrived with a list of goings-on in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Sandwiched between a Jewish Singles social and our community theater’s latest production was a listing for a “Dances of Vice” costume party at the Montauk Club. I sat up straight. The Montauk Club is modeled after a Venetian palazzo and I’d long admired the exterior. This was my chance to finally see what was inside.
You’d think that with the variety of gear available today, I’d be able to find exactly what I want. Well, for the major stuff, like cameras and lenses, I pretty much can, but when it comes to several key accessories, call me The Modifier.
Oct 12, 2011
Published: Sep 01, 2011
Shooting architecture has always been a complex matter and while the challenges remain the digital medium has helped overcome many hurdles. Challenges such as color balance, lighting consistency, and the need to hide every single light and cord have been lessened. In this article I will describe one challenge that exemplifies how I now use digital to make images that would have been logistical nightmares in the past.
Is it possible to communicate through photography the energy as well as the quiet moments of rock ’n’ roll? These photos, selected by Graham Nash for the recent Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock ’n’ Roll Photographs exhibit at the George Eastman House, answer with a resounding “yes!” Nash, of The Hollies and Crosby, Stills and Nash fame, started taking pictures long before he became famous as a musician, and few may be aware of his talents as a curator, collector, and photographer.
Jonathan Robert Willis knew where he was going at a young age. “In school, imagery always spoke to me louder than words and numbers. My interest in black-and-white photography was sparked during my high school years by music-industry portrait photographer Michael Wilson, a family friend. His work really resonated with me and I just fell in love with the idea of making pictures for a living and shooting the music that I listen to.” In fact, Willis switched to a public school “because that school had a decent darkroom that nobody was using. I knew I wanted to make photographs.” It was there that he taught himself black-and-white processing and printing. And in college, “I pretty much lived in the darkroom.” Fast forward and we now find Willis comfortably settled in his Cincinnati, Ohio-based studio, although we may find him shooting on location just as much, if not more. Willis’s creative team consists of first assistant Scott Meyer and digital retoucher Patrick White, with Laura McMurray serving as production assistant/studio manager.
Outdoor and nature images are Michael’s specialty, and he’s been photographing for over 20 years in two of the world’s best locations for great outdoor imagery: Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. In fact, his images appear on posters sold by the National Park Service in their visitors centers. He also runs Visions Photographic Workshops, which regularly journeys to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
I got a brand-new piece of gear shortly before I left in late February for a three-week trip to Vietnam. Not a camera, lens, or flash; it was more important than those. You see, I’m always looking for easier, lighter, faster, and more secure backup for my photos when I travel, and I’d heard for almost a year that this one, this new backup hard drive, was coming, and as luck or perfect timing would have it, it arrived two days before I left. (Because I’m always looking for something better, the camera store in New York City that I deal with, Foto Care, is on the lookout for anything that might interest me; they know I travel, and they’re always telling me about the latest and greatest that’s coming along.)
Aug 04, 2011
Published: Jun 01, 2011
Photographing airplanes and other flying machines is not something one routinely finds on a list of preferred occupations. It is in fact one of the more esoteric slices of the professional photographer’s pie. Not surprisingly, aviation photography is a demanding and potentially dangerous occupation. It requires a high level of arcane expertise in a very specialized subject area. Understandably, there is little room for error. Hanging out of flying machines with a camera in your hands is not a run-of-the-mill photo assignment.
Travel and photography are two intertwined subjects for me. Ever since I first had the freedom to travel, at age 18, I have been exploring the world, absorbing and photographing the unique cultures I encounter. I have developed a love for environmental portraits. In this style of photography I can capture not only the character of a person, but also the world in which they live.
Years ago Dale Huncovsky, owner of the only grocery in Cuba, Kansas, had a heart bypass operation. Since then several men from town show up once a week at Dale’s store to unload the semi that brings the week’s supply of groceries. That’s how the personal and the practical play out in Cuba.