There are few areas of photography that demand as broad a range of skills as wedding photography. Wedding shooters have to have the keen eye of a documentarian, the artistry of a portraitist, and the attention to detail of a food or still-life photographer. They also have to have the stamina it takes to shoot all day long. I had the pleasure of speaking with some of the best in the world this spring. Read my American Photo article to hear what they had to say about their craft and see a selection of their images.
Like a master chef adding just the right amount of seasoning to bring out the flavor in a carefully prepared dish, there is a subtle hand that puts the finishing touches on the most expertly prepared photographs: the retoucher. It’s the retoucher who whisks the photographer’s raw image files away to a magical Technicolor land where their weaknesses are overcome and they become the images they were meant to be. We brought our questions about the craft to Jason Tuchman, who at 31 not only works at the highest levels of his field, but also runs his own shop, Pistol Studios.
How do you get ready for a trip to Antarctica to photograph 5,500-year-old moss or a journey to the Balearic Islands to shoot 100,000-year-old sea grass? Fine art photographer Rachel Sussman talks to Tenba about traveling the world to photograph the oldest living things.
You can read the interview on Tenba.com.
Stephen Lighthill, ASC, chair of the American Film Institute Conservatory’s cinematography program, talks about what his students know about light that the rest of us don’t, how lighting a set is like playing pool, and why a light meter is the primary tool of the cinematographer.
You can read the interview on Sekonic.com.
What is it like to travel from Shanghai to Mumbai to San Juan on a professional photo shoot? New York-based photographer William Vázquez talks to Tenba about traveling the world to create images for commercial clients.
You can read the interview on Tenba.com.
How does a pro handle the logistics of shooting a wedding in Marrakesh or Mumbai? World-class wedding photographer Dina Douglass talks to Tenba about the ins and outs of traveling to photograph a destination wedding abroad.
You can read the interview on Tenba.com.
Scheimpflüg Digital founder and production expert John Engstrom gives a step-by-step rundown of how to scout a location to prepare for a cine shoot.
You can read the article on Sekonic.com.
Just as the end of the Dark Ages gave rise to the Renaissance man, so a modern polymath arose from the ashes of the film age: the digital tech, a.k.a. the capture tech. Working on set by the glow of a well-calibrated screen, this discreet Leonardo mingles artistry with acumen to immortalize the photographer’s vision in binary code. Shannon Roddy, at 34 a sought-after New York tech, talked to me about how she got her chops, what it takes to make a shoot go smoothly, and where the unpredictable life of a digital tech has taken her.
In this economy, you might think a person would have to be some kind of superhero to open a successful photography gallery as a young newcomer to the New York art world. And you’d probably be right. I recently interviewed 28-year-old Kris Graves, collections photographer at the New York Guggenheim museum by day and co-owner of +Kris Graves Projects gallery by night, about how he accomplished this amazing feat. You can read the interview in the Fall 2011 issue of Resource Magazine and (in a slightly longer version) on MAC-On-Campus.com. Check out Resource‘s redesign, too.
I usually write about photography. And now for something completely different . . .
Ever hear a crowd of protesters belt out a Queen song? Me neither. Until I went down to the Occupy Wall Street encampment, that is, and heard a bunch of protesters launch into an enthusiastic rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was a moment that crystallized the impressions I’d been gathering over an afternoon in Zuccotti Park: There’s something new happening here. That was during the first week of the “occupation,” and when I went back during week two, my impression only grew stronger that the Occupy Wall Street effort is the first distinctly 21st century grassroots American political movement, and it’s not going to just peter out when the temperature drops.
And yet, with the occupation in its third week, I continue to hear the protesters dismissed as hippie wannabees spouting vague left-wing rhetoric and flattering themselves to think that their public slumber party amounts to something important. To be certain, you can find people in Zuccotti Park who will reinforce that view if you look for them. But step away from the drum circle and head into the heart of the park, and you’ll encounter something else: clusters of people gathering in working groups to address every aspect of building and sustaining an effective effort; twice-daily “General Assembly” meetings where a large crowd gathers to make proposals, announcements, and decisions in a remarkably calm and collaborative manner; and a media center that is deploying all of the tools and networks of 21st century technology to organize, get messages out, and brainstorm on a grand scale.
Much has been made of the fact that this nascent movement has yet to put forward a cogent set of demands. This is an entirely valid point, and the fact that the group prioritizes an egalitarian decision-making process and describes itself as “leaderless” leaves open the possibility that just anyone with any uninformed opinion might be seen as a spokesperson or representative in media reports. But I believe there’s a method to this seeming madness, and that it’s not simply a sign of incompetence. Ask yourself: If the protesters had shown up with a clear political identity and set of demands, how quickly would their movement have been defined, digested, and dismissed by the media-consuming public? If they had staked out a position in the American political landscape, how long would it have taken people who identify with a different position to decide the protests weren’t relevant to them? By keeping the discussion flowing and not rushing to define its position, Occupy Wall Street has gained momentum and kept its movement open to participants of all political stripes.
The protesters have also managed, in a time of extreme divisiveness and animosity in American politics, to find a point of unity to define their movement. Do you know anyone who doesn’t agree with their fundamental contention that something has gone wrong with our financial system and its relationship to government, and it needs to be fixed? This point of unity has served as a starting point for a process that has no political-party support or corporate funding or major news outlet to serve as a megaphone, but is being carried forward in the long-standing American tradition of people putting their heads together and rolling up their sleeves.
Last weekend, I sat in on a meeting of an outreach working group that had gathered to discuss ways of drawing new participants. The moderator, a clean-cut looking guy who opened the meeting by explaining how to signal for points of order and information, began the discussion on outreach with this: “At our first meeting, people talked about wanting to get the Tea Party here. So this is not an exclusive organization. We’re not trying to bar anything. Don’t think it’s only lefty organizations that we’re looking for here. It’s literally everyone.” As the meeting proceeded, participants created an agenda, covered it point by point, and talked about setting up Google docs for collaborating on outreach work. It was not exactly a scene from Hair.
Today, I listened to one of the protesters call in to Brian Lehrer’s radio show to ask Wall Street traders to come to a meeting and contribute their expertise to the effort. “It’s not going to be a mob discussion,” he said. “It’s going to be a discussion in order to fine-tune the message. . . . It needs to focus; it needs to get on point about how we guide this to a real legislative process.”
I think we should all set aside old preconceptions about political protesters and stay tuned.
[My friend Sean Captain has noticed the difference in these protests too. To journalists and photographers in places where the protests are happening: They're worth covering. I'd love to see your take on them.]