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Photographer
N Butler
Posts: 63
South Portland, Maine, US


Brief interview with Norman Jean Roy in NY Mag.

http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/01/norman- … hotos.html

It's a photography-focused article, but the interview has nothing to do with gear, and there's a slideshow of about 15 of his images (many of which you'll recognize). 

"The camera is a very neutral prism, if you will. The camera has no opinion, no emotion, it just renders — and so the emotional components of a photograph live on each side of the camera."

Anyway, quick read, nice photos, interesting opinions.
Jan 18 13 03:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Section 008
Posts: 98
Chicago, Illinois, US


intersting, i still like and use film but digital is easier, i must say.
Jan 18 13 04:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J O H N A L L A N
Posts: 9,829
Santa Ana, California, US


Interesting.
Particularly the part about democratization of the process.
One aspect of that couldn't be more embodied than on sites like MM, where you see so many web models trying/demanding to control the process/experience, rather than just mousing-down and being models.
Jan 18 13 04:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David Parsons
Posts: 972
Quincy, Massachusetts, US


Sounds like he's stuck in the glory days, not adjusting to the realities of today.
Jan 19 13 06:36 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
BodyartBabes
Posts: 2,004
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


John Allan wrote:
Interesting.
Particularly the part about democratization of the process.
One aspect of that couldn't be more embodied than on sites like MM, where you see so many web models trying/demanding to control the process/experience, rather than just mousing-down and being models.

Same with the photographers, in all fairness.

The photographer has control up until he captures the image.

The the art directors, editors, CLIENTS. have the control.

The photographer does not steer the ship.  The guy with the deep pockets does.  Some of them are control freaks.   Others not much.  But they are captain and admiral  and even if your hands may be physically on the wheel, they point and you go.  Or, their money goes.

Scott

Jan 19 13 06:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJScalzitti
Posts: 12,491
Atlanta, Georgia, US


I was reading and thinking how can the camera be a neutral prism in one part and destroy it because it's digital in the next.

I undestand some of his points and he isn't all wrong, but digital vs film has nothing to do with it.
Jan 19 13 06:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GER Photography
Posts: 7,666
Imperial, California, US


IMHO what's been more detrimental to "Fashion Photography" is the " good enough " attitude of the magazine editors, advertising execs, clothing designers... That accept and use poor quality images, be they film or digital.
Jan 19 13 07:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Billh
Posts: 361
Raleigh, North Carolina, US


thanks, i enjoyed that.
Jan 19 13 07:13 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


The only thing that digital ruined was Kodak and maybe Polaroid.





Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com
Jan 19 13 07:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Yum Yum Photo
Posts: 442
Park Ridge, New Jersey, US


I wanted to hand the guy a kleenex.

He seems to forget Fashion Photography is a group effort...... With a group you can elevate a concept to a level that could not be achieved alone.

As an art director digital is a time saver you can quickly find out that the editor hates it....And you can quickly put it in a layout to making it easier to sell to the client.... And it has probally cut down on the cost of a shoot....So in shorter periods of time more elaborate shoots are being done.... W Magazine in particular is producing some great work.
Jan 19 13 07:23 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Daniel Sulla
Posts: 109
Chicago, Illinois, US


I do agree it is the little quirky details that make the image. I see retouch that destroys the image. Woman like cher and lauren hutton were great because they weren't perfect and in their imperfection they became more beautiful. Not just pretty. Some of my mistakes make the image interesting. I keep a file called shutterflubs, most are accidental just about everyone of them is very cool.
Jan 19 13 07:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Photographe
Posts: 2,350
Bristol, England, United Kingdom


Kodak was a fantastic company, they bought our uni a TV studio, a holography room, E-6, cibachrome, C-41, a huge photo studio with these huge flashes that would knock you off a ladder when they blew, sadly I miss all this.

In the good old days the llama popped by the studio/agency and you sat together and looked at the contacts and discussed/explained which are the best shots for potential clients to be seeing, or their agent requested shots. Everyone was happy, everyone learned something and everyone was in agreement which shots should be used. The photographer, magazine, might choose or guide the choosing, but as you said, it is a group effort.

I think the problem with the "democracy" is that some llamas are satisfied with a standard of work that is only acceptable to other photographers, the llama only intends to make money from photographers. If llamas are just accessing an entire CD of photos and not actually finding out why some weren't picked or some were, or learning anything at all about the editorial process, no-one's going to be happy or learn anything.

There's sod all use for overly-retouched, I'm trying to cast someone over the internet and they are messing their face?
That's a case for trading standards and compensation lol...
Jan 19 13 07:41 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,450
Paris, Île-de-France, France


I saw some of the first series he did, so long ago. A sort of newer version of what Cartier Bresson was doing before.

The gist of what digital has ruined is nothing to do with being film or not, but the work flow the time between production, and other notions that had the luxury of time and leaving the photographer as the key player.

I work magic with LR on my pix long after. With film we had these tiny little very fuzzy Polaroids that you had yo use a loop to get an idea of what was there Well not when I shot 8x10 BTW. 

You had time to ingest the shoot, do test dev, etc days later.

That is what he is saying is ruined.

For some it is what they want everyone critiquing the monitor between times where they are watching their cell phones rather than doing their thing.

For me it is just a recollection, everything has changed, I had to change with it.


The rest of the stuff about the teams, I don't have a clue as to what he is talking about.
Jan 19 13 07:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


What I learned from that article is that William, in the comments section, LOVES the sound of his own voice.
Jan 19 13 07:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


Neil Snape wrote:
I saw some of the first series he did, so long ago. A sort of newer version of what Cartier Bresson was doing before.

The gist of what digital has ruined is nothing to do with being film or not, but the work flow the time between production, and other notions that had the luxury of time and leaving the photographer as the key player.

I work magic with LR on my pix long after. With film we had these tiny little very fuzzy Polaroids that you had yo use a loop to get an idea of what was there Well not when I shot 8x10 BTW. 

You had time to ingest the shoot, do test dev, etc days later.

That is what he is saying is ruined.

For some it is what they want everyone critiquing the monitor between times where they are watching their cell phones rather than doing their thing.

For me it is just a recollection, everything has changed, I had to change with it.


The rest of the stuff about the teams, I don't have a clue as to what he is talking about.

Part of the article made it sound like he was saying digital was responsible for that. And maybe that's partially true because it fostered a culture change in photography. But it's one that permeates everything, not just photography...instant gratification.

I guess it's a chicken/egg argument but did digital propel that culture change or was digital introduced to feed that demand?

Jan 19 13 08:04 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


dp
Jan 19 13 08:04 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mortonovich
Posts: 5,305
San Diego, California, US


Interesting article.

I think that, there is a point to the fact that a workflow can have a huge impact on ones ability to create their vision. Some might prefer a much more tactile experience.
Jan 19 13 08:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,450
Paris, Île-de-France, France


ChiMo wrote:
Interesting article.

I think that, there is a point to the fact that a workflow can have a huge impact on ones ability to create their vision. Some might prefer a much more tactile experience.

Yes.

It can be digital as well though. At the conference with Sebastiao Salgado, he said it was hard to move to digital, but once done, he prefers this by far. And, he is one to be able to control every aspect of what he does.

So some have adapted, others have regrets, and many are reminiscent, as he is.

It's gone, done with, all but over for film.

Jan 19 13 08:12 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Star
Posts: 17,914
Los Angeles, California, US


I meet a lot of people who are surprised i am not using either medium format film or a medium format back when i meet them. I just did a portrait for FRAME magazine of a world famous artist and he couldn't believe i walked in with one light, my little 5d mkii and a tamron lens.

He likes my photos though.
Jan 19 13 08:35 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mortonovich
Posts: 5,305
San Diego, California, US


It would be interesting to get someone like Paolo Roversi's take on it. I recall seeing an interview with him where he said (paraphrased) - "The element of chance is very important in my photography."


The team thing . . . . I don't claim to be a "fashion" guy but so often it seems to me like music, you can do it really raw and stripped down or really heavily produced. Though I imagine at the top levels when a stylist is pulling next years stuff from high end labels, those labels aren't going to let it go out to just anyone. So it's a machine that feeds itself and it keeps ratcheting up, production value wise.
Jan 19 13 08:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,262
Salem, Oregon, US


i don't like working with models who are also photographers. too much testosterone.

John Allan wrote:
.
One aspect of that couldn't be more embodied than on sites like MM, where you see so many web models trying/demanding to control the process/experience, rather than just mousing-down and being models.

Jan 19 13 08:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJScalzitti
Posts: 12,491
Atlanta, Georgia, US


Neil Snape wrote:
I saw some of the first series he did, so long ago. A sort of newer version of what Cartier Bresson was doing before.

The gist of what digital has ruined is nothing to do with being film or not, but the work flow the time between production, and other notions that had the luxury of time and leaving the photographer as the key player.

I work magic with LR on my pix long after. With film we had these tiny little very fuzzy Polaroids that you had yo use a loop to get an idea of what was there Well not when I shot 8x10 BTW. 

You had time to ingest the shoot, do test dev, etc days later.

That is what he is saying is ruined.

For some it is what they want everyone critiquing the monitor between times where they are watching their cell phones rather than doing their thing.

For me it is just a recollection, everything has changed, I had to change with it.


The rest of the stuff about the teams, I don't have a clue as to what he is talking about.

Very well put.  It sounds like he is most frustrated with clients and their new expectations, but I don't think that is as different with digital.  It's the reason why we all should continue with personal projects.

In the end I guess I never looked at commercial work as my outlet for artistic expression.  As I was never a retocuher in th film days I enjoy the extra control I have now.  Sure I could have learned and maybe I should have, but I do now and it's great to have total control on personal projects.

Jan 19 13 10:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Managing Light
Posts: 1,840
Salem, Virginia, US


John Allan wrote:
Particularly the part about democratization of the process.
One aspect of that couldn't be more embodied than on sites like MM, where you see so many web models trying/demanding to control the process/experience, rather than just mousing-down and being models.

Norman Jean Roy: "...but photography is a dictatorship; it's not a democracy."

I have felt for years that photogs are closet control freaks, for the most part.

Yet, I routinely come across fantastic images that I find when I hear the backstory, were made through a colaboration between photog and model.

Apparently, it's not a "one size fits all" process.

Jan 19 13 10:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Managing Light
Posts: 1,840
Salem, Virginia, US


David Parsons wrote:
Sounds like he's stuck in the glory days, not adjusting to the realities of today.

I think that's a big part of his comments. 

But time, culture and technology roll on and you have to move with it.  And, there's certainly nothing wrong with mourning the loss of some part of the old order that you enjoyed.

So long as you don't let it paralyze you.

Jan 19 13 10:44 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Alabaster Crowley
Posts: 7,689
Tucson, Arizona, US


You know what kind of photographers I like best? The ones that embrace digital, and still use film if they want to.

(Like me, tbh.)
Jan 19 13 10:48 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Tim Roper
Posts: 146
Palo Alto, California, US


Fashion’s always been a collaborative effort, with the “dictator,” if there is one, being at times as much the fashion editor (for editorial) as the photographer.   I remember reading about one Vogue editor (can’t remember who) who would look over the photographer’s shoulder through binoculars, to make sure everything was looking correct.    But there were times, too, when it was just the photographer and the model out doing a shoot on the street.
Jan 19 13 11:08 am  Link  Quote 
Artist/Painter
sdgillis
Posts: 2,424
Portland, Oregon, US


they just pissed because people will snap iphone picts and post them online with tags faster than the "official photographer" of the event.  They might even be better. Frustrating, but you have to find a way to adapt and rise above it.
Jan 19 13 11:13 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


Star wrote:
I meet a lot of people who are surprised i am not using either medium format film or a medium format back when i meet them. I just did a portrait for FRAME magazine of a world famous artist and he couldn't believe i walked in with one light, my little 5d mkii and a tamron lens.

And I bet half the images that convinced them to book you were shot on a Rebel with a nifty fifty! big_smile

As I'm always saying... it's not about the equipment.

I do believe process plays an important role though, and trying to conform to the wrong process can fuck up a shoot quicker than anything. But process =/= equipment.




Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano
www.stefanobrunesci.com

Jan 19 13 11:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Patrick Walberg
Posts: 42,518
Salinas, California, US


Alabaster Crowley wrote:
You know what kind of photographers I like best? The ones that embrace digital, and still use film if they want to.

(Like me, tbh.)

Raises hand. "That would be me!"  smile

The quotes I like are; "When you shoot film, you don't have the luxury of seeing every single image coming out. And because of that, you stay very focused."

"Part of a perfect image is that it is imperfect. With digital photography, it's very easy to perfect the image. You kill the image when you perfect it. You basically suck the life out of it. An image, to me, lives when you can look at it and it's just slightly off."


Often times I slam off images on my digital camera as if I had an endless supply of ... memory cards?  Well I do!  lol  And I take a look every so often to see the images coming out.  With my film camera, I squeeze off every image usually with more thought and focus behind it.  However I am always striving to achieve perfection, yet always somehow I find an imperfection in every image I shoot.

Jan 19 13 12:57 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Patrick Walberg
Posts: 42,518
Salinas, California, US


David Parsons wrote:
Sounds like he's stuck in the glory days, not adjusting to the realities of today.

I disagree with you.  Did you read the entire interview?  I don't believe that Norman Jean Roy is "stuck" at all.   He is reminiscing some about the way things used to be, but he is doing just fine shooting both film and digital.  Heck, if I had a Portfolio and career like he has, I'd be doing some reminiscing too! 

The "realities" of today that he spoke of are the fact that we could be at a fashion event and shoot decent shots with an iPhone then down load it instantly to the web.  Social media has forced the fashion industry to change.  At least that is what I gather from his interview.  No where do I see an indication that he is falling behind, or "stuck" as you say.  I believe he was making reference to the changes in speed and availability created by digital, but not against it.

I found it interesting what he said about putting his memory card away for a couple days before reviewing them.  The way Social media has evolved, people tend to want instant gratification because they know it's available.  When I shoot social events like concerts, parties, and such, I am tempted to upload the images as fast as possible.   However, I don't like to upload images completely untouched to any place on the Internet.  So what do I do ... sometimes I sit on them for a day.  Then I make adjustments as necessary ... and most of my images have at least some adjustments made!  But "Hey!" I wish I had some of Norman's clients!   wink

Jan 19 13 04:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Alabaster Crowley
Posts: 7,689
Tucson, Arizona, US


Patrick Walberg wrote:
The quotes I like are; "When you shoot film, you don't have the luxury of seeing every single image coming out. And because of that, you stay very focused."

The zone system essentially accomplishes this.

Jan 19 13 05:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Patrick Walberg
Posts: 42,518
Salinas, California, US


Alabaster Crowley wrote:
The zone system essentially accomplishes this.

The zone system?  I'm sorry if I misunderstand you, but do you mean bracketing?  When shooting a subject that moves, often times we don't have the luxury of capture of the same exact images by bracketing.  Most of the models I've shot with are dancers and move constantly.  I know that I can ask them to repeat a pose, but I don't always want to do so as it can break up the flow of the shoot.  Also when I shoot live concerts, I only have split seconds to get some of the shots.  Many times I've had a "media babysitter" hanging over me making sure I only shoot the first two songs.  I do keep the zone system in mind, but I know what my manual settings on my camera should be in advance of the shoot, and try to stay with it.  wink

Jan 19 13 05:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jim Lafferty
Posts: 1,906
Brooklyn, New York, US


Poor guy. It's gotta be rough for him out there.
Jan 20 13 05:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Kelleth
Posts: 2,509
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I love that interview, I think he raises some really great points. Especially the bit about photography becoming a democracy.
Jan 20 13 05:21 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Sekkides
Posts: 70
London, England, United Kingdom


It's about the final product.. how you get there doesn't matter.
Jan 20 13 05:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MMR Digital
Posts: 1,670
Doylestown, Pennsylvania, US


Sekkides wrote:
It's about the final product.. how you get there doesn't matter.

case closed.

It's when they come to interview you about what you did to contribute to the art. What will it be that you (all of us) can say?

Jan 20 13 05:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mortonovich II
Posts: 703
San Diego, California, US


Process/workflow can have a huge impact on the final product. Every musician needs to find the instruments and methods that suit them best for their own personal voice.
Jan 20 13 07:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jim Lafferty
Posts: 1,906
Brooklyn, New York, US


ChiMo II wrote:
Process/workflow can have a huge impact on the final product. Every musician needs to find the instruments and methods that suit them best for their own personal voice.

I agree with you. Partly.

I think as creatives, photographers very quickly fetishize process and tools. We invest way to much faith and hand over way too much power to the tools of our trade. Really, has photography as a craft suffered so much now that digital exists? Is it that or do we often clutch to some romantic notion that film had something that is now inaccessible?

Like I said, I agree method is important. I also agree tools are important, to a degree. But at the end of the day there's so much more to an image, I think photographers are often too quick to get hung up on this stuff. We obsess over the qualities of a lens or a light, but I think often we're the only ones who notice this stuff.

Jan 21 13 08:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Rick Edwards
Posts: 6,155
Wilmington, Delaware, US


Star wrote:
I meet a lot of people who are surprised i am not using either medium format film or a medium format back when i meet them. I just did a portrait for FRAME magazine of a world famous artist and he couldn't believe i walked in with one light, my little 5d mkii and a tamron lens.

He likes my photos though.

This ^^^...
It's the tools you have and how you use them.  Digital has just made it easier for people to get into the medium and made the quantity of stuff available enormous.  That quantity just increases the amount of crap you have to wade through to see really great stuff.  I think it has also desensitized us by sheer volume and lead to a "good enough" mentality.  Compacted deadlines due to shorter editorial cycles (24 hour news, insta-blogs, etc.) has also lead to "good enough".  I think "good enough" has lead to an increase in folks calling themselves photographers.

Jan 21 13 04:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Section 008
Posts: 98
Chicago, Illinois, US


Rick Edwards wrote:

This ^^^...
It's the tools you have and how you use them.  Digital has just made it easier for people to get into the medium and made the quantity of stuff available enormous.  That quantity just increases the amount of crap you have to wade through to see really great stuff.  I think it has also desensitized us by sheer volume and lead to a "good enough" mentality.  Compacted deadlines due to shorter editorial cycles (24 hour news, insta-blogs, etc.) has also lead to "good enough".  I think "good enough" has lead to an increase in folks calling themselves photographers.

true, someone said to me, there were more pictures taken from i phones etc in the last year than the entire history of photography ... but most are just pictures not good pictures ~)

Jan 21 13 04:35 pm  Link  Quote 
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