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 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Chicago-based food photographer Jeff Kauck (www.jeffkauckphotography.com) developed his artistic eye through years of training as a watercolorist. While attending Central Academy of Commercial Art, in Cincinnati, where he also studied advertising, “I picked up my father’s camera—a twin-lens Rolleiflex—and really enjoyed playing with it. And to help support myself through art school, I did a lot of color printing for a wedding photographer.” But he soon realized that his time and talent were better spent on photography than painting. And Cincinnati proved to be the perfect location for a start-up food studio, since it was the home of Procter & Gamble, which became his first client, and a major one at that. But a larger market—Chicago—beckoned to him after 18 years, so he made the move and hasn’t looked back.
Brute horsepower, large diesel engines pulling thousands of tons of freight, heavy plumes of exhaust pouring from their stacks, sand being put down on the rails for traction, and the rumble of steel wheels passing by—all are part of the American railroad scene. For both the novice and advanced photographer, the challenge of capturing the drama of moving trains and finding suitable locations is all part of the excitement.
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.
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.
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.
Right from the start it sounded like it was going to be a challenge. In late summer last year I was hired by the Taiwan tourist bureau for a 10-day shoot to take pictures for a travel magazine advertorial. Since I’d never been to Taiwan before, and my usual way of working is to make all my own plans, schedules, and lists of places to shoot, I did some research as soon asI got the assignment. What I found wasn’t promising.
Well, it’s really only one city—New York—but the assignment called for Jon Ortner to capture images so different in spirit and approach that he might as well have been in two very different cities.
There was not only a dual nature to the job itself but also something of a split personality to the building Jon was hired by developer J.D. Carlisle to photograph. Located between 29th and 30th Streets on Sixth Avenue, the 54-story structure in fact has two names and natures: from the street to the 25th floor it’s the Eventi Hotel; at the 26th floor it becomes the Beatrice and rental apartments.
When the Virginia Tourism Corporation needed a series of illustrations, to help publicize tourism with imaginative style, photographer Keith Lanpher, based in Norfolk, was chosen for the job. This was a location project that called for seven days of shooting with numerous models as well as a passel of dogs and a large smoke machine.
Automotive photography involves more than cars, although these vehicles make up the bulk of this genre. Automotive can also mean motorcycles and practically any motorized conveyance that hits the road. Tackling these vehicles may appear overwhelming at first, but not to veteran automotive photographer Richard Izui.