A Large Format Platinum Portrait Project

I don’t know Cleveland-based photographer Herbert Ascherman personally, but I’ve known of his commercial work for many years thanks to a mutual friend. So you can imagine my surprise when he turned up in a recent American Society of Media Photographers bulletin showcasing a tremendous personal project: 8×10 platinum portraits of The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota. Mr. Ascherman closed his commercial photography studio in the wake of the digital revolution and picked up an 8×10 Deardorff view camera instead. Using black & white film to photograph Native American tribes in much the same way Edward S. Curtis did almost 150 years ago, Mr. Ascherman has created a long-lasting body of work with an antique process perfectly suited to the subject and his style of shooting. Please visit the ASMP web site to see a variety of portraits from the project, as well as an interview with the photographer himself.

http://asmp.org/articles/best-2010-ascherman.html

I don’t know Cleveland-based photographer Herbert Ascherman personally, but I’ve known of his commercial work for many years thanks to a mutual friend. So you can imagine my surprise when he turned up in a recent American Society of Media Photographers bulletin showcasing a tremendous personal project: 8×10 platinum portraits of The... Read more

The Thunderbolt Port

Apple just announced its newest version of the all-in-one iMac. Along with the notable performance-enhancing features that tend to garner the most attention (memory, processor speed, hard disk size, etc) it includes a little something extra that could be the first foray into a new input/output option to replace Firewire and USB. It’s called the Thunderbolt port, and Apple says it’s “the fastest and most versatile” port ever. It can be used for connecting external drives, RAIDs and monitors. Ten times faster than Firewire 800, at 10 gigabytes per second it could become the preferred connection for folks who need to transfer lots of data at high speeds—like us photographers and videographers. Check it out at Apple’s web site to see for yourself and decide if Thunderbolt really is the next big thing.

http://www.apple.com/thunderbolt

Apple just announced its newest version of the all-in-one iMac. Along with the notable performance-enhancing features that tend to garner the most attention (memory, processor speed, hard disk size, etc) it includes a little something extra that could be the first foray into a new input/output option to replace Firewire and USB. It’s called... Read more

Alex MacLean’s American Landscape

If you happen to be in San Francisco in the next two months you’re in luck: one of my favorite photographers is having an exhibition of new work at the Robert Koch Gallery. Alex MacLean, an architect turned pilot turned aerial photographer with a penchant for photographing the places where man’s world intersects with the natural world, makes interesting images full of meaning that are also intensely beautiful. If you can’t make the show, check out a sampling of the work online, and consider picking up one of his many wonderful books filled with his aerial photography of the American Landscape.

http://www.kochgallery.com/exhibitions/index.html

If you happen to be in San Francisco in the next two months you’re in luck: one of my favorite photographers is having an exhibition of new work at the Robert Koch Gallery. Alex MacLean, an architect turned pilot turned aerial photographer with a penchant for photographing the places where man’s world intersects with the natural world,... Read more
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Laszlo Willinger

A friend walked into my office the other day with a big beautiful black and white print of leading lady Vivien Leigh, best known as Scarlet in the movie Gone With The Wind. He’d purchased it for $20 at an antique shop just a few minutes before. The print was poster sized, although it looked old it didn’t look like a traditional darkroom silver gelatin print. Most intriguing, it was signed and numbered. The signature was almost impossible to read, but after a bit of Googling we found out who created this gorgeous image: Laszlo Willinger, a Hollywood photographer of epic skill. Most of us are familiar with the work of Clarence Sinclair Bull and George Hurrell, but that’s generally where the household names end when it comes to photographers who captured all the stars during Hollywood’s golden era. Turns out Mr. Willinger belongs in their company too. He was a master portraitist with a fascinating personal story. Read all about him and see a large sampling of his work at the Iconista blog, then see what else you can dig up about the man and his prolific body of work online.

http://theiconista.blogspot.com/2008/08/laszlo-willinger.html

A friend walked into my office the other day with a big beautiful black and white print of leading lady Vivien Leigh, best known as Scarlet in the movie Gone With The Wind. He’d purchased it for $20 at an antique shop just a few minutes before. The print was poster sized, although it looked old it didn’t look like a traditional darkroom... Read more

The Man Who Shot The Sixties

Ending our video-centric week of learning from great photographers, here’s a neat film about photographer Brian Duffy. Duffy was an iconic London fashion photographer from the 1960s. At the time, he was a downright superstar. Then one day he decided to up and quit, going so far as to burn all of his negatives. And now after a 30 year hiatus, he’s taken another picture. Prompted by his son Chris, he picked up a camera once again. Chris made this documentary about his father and his work, and you can watch the whole thing online at Vimeo. Not only is it interesting and informative, like all good documentaries it’s very entertaining, too.

http://vimeo.com/9141202

Ending our video-centric week of learning from great photographers, here’s a neat film about photographer Brian Duffy. Duffy was an iconic London fashion photographer from the 1960s. At the time, he was a downright superstar. Then one day he decided to up and quit, going so far as to burn all of his negatives. And now after a 30 year hiatus,... Read more

Dan Winters In His Own Words

One of my favorite photo blogs is called A Photo Editor. This recent three-part interview with one of my favorite photographers working today, Dan Winters, illustrates precisely why. It also showcases Winters phenomenal creative talent. Sure he’s the cream of the crop of portrait photographers, but he’s also a talented illustrator, sculptor and wielder of scanning electron microscopes. Read all about how Dan became as talented as he is—as well as the many tools and techniques he uses to express himself—in this wonderful interview conducted by Rob Haggart.

http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2011/04/13/dan-winters-interview-part-1/

One of my favorite photo blogs is called A Photo Editor. This recent three-part interview with one of my favorite photographers working today, Dan Winters, illustrates precisely why. It also showcases Winters phenomenal creative talent. Sure he’s the cream of the crop of portrait photographers, but he’s also a talented illustrator, sculptor... Read more

Learning From The Best

Continuing with my theme of improving your photography by learning from the best of the best, the masters of the medium, the most iconic photographers of recent years…allow me to direct you to a wonderful web site called the Shooting Gallery. It’s a collection of videos highlighting world class photographers who have agreed to discuss how, and why, they make their work. From Ryan McGinley to Alec Soth, Cindy Sherman to Hiroshi Sugimoto, these photographers are world class artists and creators and it’s downright fascinating to see them dissect and discuss how they work.

http://shootinggallery.tumblr.com

Continuing with my theme of improving your photography by learning from the best of the best, the masters of the medium, the most iconic photographers of recent years…allow me to direct you to a wonderful web site called the Shooting Gallery. It’s a collection of videos highlighting world class photographers who have agreed to discuss... Read more

Arnold Newman

Yesterday I mentioned the presentation I attended by Gregory Heisler. Part of what made it so great was that the photographer also went into great depth to tell us about his experience working for one of the greatest portraitists of the 20th century, Arnold Newman. Mr. Heisler clearly has the utmost respect for Mr. Newman, and as he showed us a few dozen of Mr. Newman’s most renowned photographs it became clear the influence Mr. Newman had on Mr. Heisler’s own work. And that reminded me of the influence Mr. Newman should have on everyone’s photographs. To that end, please let me direct you to a great and inspiring resource about Mr. Newman. It’s the Arnold Newman Archive, a collaboration of his heirs and his gallery, dedicated to carrying on the legacy of this great photographer. It’s perhaps the best online resource for information about the man and his work, and a little time spent studying the gallery is probably equivalent to a full year at a great photo school.

http://www.arnoldnewmanarchive.com

Yesterday I mentioned the presentation I attended by Gregory Heisler. Part of what made it so great was that the photographer also went into great depth to tell us about his experience working for one of the greatest portraitists of the 20th century, Arnold Newman. Mr. Heisler clearly has the utmost respect for Mr. Newman, and as he showed us a few... Read more

Gregory Heisler

I recently attended a lecture by Gregory Heisler. What a great speaker, what an enjoyable evening, and what a ridiculously talented photographer. He showed a video of himself in action and he explained the creation of dozens of his images—including iconic Time and Life magazine covers you’re doubtlessly familiar with. A friend and I were struck by how much the video of Mr. Heisler working in studio reminded each of us of our own studios, and the general energy and approach we take to every photo shoot. What was different, of course, was the end result—proving to me, anyway, that it isn’t about the gear or the technique so much as it’s about the creativity. And it probably doesn’t hurt if you’re a true photographic genius, as Mr. Heisler seems to be. So I recommend that you rush out to his web site right away to view a variety of his portrait galleries. Then head over to YouTube to watch him diagram the lighting he used on a few famous shots, courtesy of his lighting sponsor, Profoto. Then think about all of Mr. Heisler’s great advice and wonderful photographs, and go out and put that information to use in your own work.

www.gregoryheisler.com

http://www.youtube.com/user/profotovids#p/u/16/x63bvpNUxLE

I recently attended a lecture by Gregory Heisler. What a great speaker, what an enjoyable evening, and what a ridiculously talented photographer. He showed a video of himself in action and he explained the creation of dozens of his images—including iconic Time and Life magazine covers you’re doubtlessly familiar with. A friend and I were struck... Read more

Give Yourself Assignments

I’ve long been a believer in self-assignments. That’s when you give yourself a photo assignment rather than waiting for the phone to ring, or instead of sitting around waiting for a stroke of magical inspiration. Give yourself an assignment and make yourself follow through with it; you’re bound to make something great. I’ve even had arrangements with other photographers in the past where every week we gave ourselves and assignment. This incorporated the pressure of not letting down your partner, as well as afforded the opportunity to learn from another photographer and get feedback from a trained eye. For proof that self-assignments really do work, take a look at these amazing steel mill images from photographer Carl de Souza. He made them after giving himself the self-assignment to photograph at a factory while on another assignment in Pakistan. The images are beautiful, surreal and immensely informative all at the same time. His newspaper, The Guardian, even selected them for inclusion in as special slideshow edition. Once you see them—here featured on Rob Galbraith’s web site along with the story of their creation—you’ll understand why. And hopefully you’ll see why self-assignments can be so rewarding.

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-11412-11418

I’ve long been a believer in self-assignments. That’s when you give yourself a photo assignment rather than waiting for the phone to ring, or instead of sitting around waiting for a stroke of magical inspiration. Give yourself an assignment and make yourself follow through with it; you’re bound to make something great. I’ve... Read more