Posts Tagged ‘Kristiansund’

Working in the Realm of Celebrity: Gorman Form

Nordic Light International



Day 5: Final day, printing and wrap-up.


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Day 4: critique morning. Talking about the nature of light and being conscious of where portrait light exists, especially using screens, and ensuring handlers watching the light as they hold the panels.

lunching diningLunching and Dining @ Nordic Light




Day three 9/5 – Beginning of Critique discussion: Bringing out the subject. Really getting in and taking control. I asked to what extent celebrities are knowledgeable about the photographic process, and whether it makes sense to describe that activity. But Greg points out, from plenty of experience, that the celebrity form creates certain conditions on a continuum that stretches toward insecurity or solitude especially since celebrity folks do have experience in front of the camera.

Greg is one of the few persons I do not bother arguing with because the presence of his empiricism is so full and broad, it is simply good knowledge.

Using Lightroom in moderation. Clarity –
Day two 9/4 – End of Critique discussion: A general discussion about what constitutes photography versus graphic design, and where the line is in determining the differences. What I find interesting is the emphasis Greg places on photographers and high-concept artists, for example, and little discussion of magazine editors, art gallery owners, and all what constitutes the industry decision makers (similar to academic worlds of peer reviewers determining disciplinary boundary).

Critique: Finding areas of interesting light – tips and techniques. Talking about portraits. Introduction to Light Room and beginning to see some differences between Leicas, Canons, Nikons.

Greg Gorman reads a long quote written by Rob Carr, professional retoucher: “We can split an atom to light a city or destroy a city” – as a quote is applied to discuss photographic Light Room retouching, in a refractal kind of way, in attempt to make the image meet the human experience. Retouching influences the viewer on where to look, and does not affect an artificiality of the logic of the camera [paraphrase of the quote]. “Does Placido Dominigo’s clenched fist underscoring a [musical point represent an artificial contribution]?”.

Hannah yesterday1

yesterday two

Working in the Realm of Celebrity

Day One.

engine1engine2man reading

9/3: Greg Gorman. Need to spend time, break down the barriers and building a relationship with the subjects you shoot, working as a team. Taking 15 to 20 minutes to take the shot. Spend 15 minutes setting up the shot, lighting, getting things calm, and then have your 5 minutes to take your shot. Single point light source in most cases, and additive, higher ISOs with LCDs.
Gorman An introductory treatise on the courage to take risks in the role of creativity and to withhold the commercial response so strongly present in our lives, e.g., 20 years ago, Greg would shoot Tom Waits over a 10 hour period, whereas, last year for the London Times, he was given 30 minutes (in a Chinese restaurant in L.A.). Talking about his covers for Interview Magazine. The power of celebrity and familiarity (showing images of Bet Midler, Tom Cruise, Schwarzenegger, Jagger, Basinger, Coster). Shooting motion picture campaigns, Tootsie, Big Chill, Meet Joe Black, Pearl Harbor (a couple hundred movie posters).

Never listen to whatever anyone has to say about the person your taking photos of, just use your own judgment and you have no idea about what anyone is going through at any one time, e.g., Al Pacino on the set of Scarface. Finding models that are exceptional for style (e.g., Bruce Weber). Finding personal subject matter versus the commercial drive. Taking a lot of work when you young, because it is available. Commercial assignments maintaining the integrity of personal style.
everyone As Gorman shows us, his career spans back to the late 1960s, and has included photographing Everyone. When you are doing your work, the layout, design, you have to maintain control. You have to direct the project to the final form. When shooting, walk 360 degrees around the subject to see what starts to make sense. Greg also presented images taken on streets in South Asia which represent quite a contrast to the familiarity of his celebrity photos.

Critiques of images coming up now, with professional comments by Greg on images we have given him for initial assessment. Soon to breaking out in two groups, lighting, models, infrastructure.

Critique #1: tonality matching skin tone, bringing more edge in the picture. Stressing not centering images. Moving images out of center. What is in the image that does not add anything to the photograph. Cropping: crop the images for the images, don’t compromise the integrity. Move more closely into the subjects. Getting rid of as much excess as you can. The more you can move (draw) the person into the image the better (vs. Mary Ellen Marc who privileges surrounding). Strengthening the image.
Critique #2: my photographs. Good composition. Balance of frame is fine. Filling the frame with information. Look for horizon lines.
Critique #3: Kicking light up into the eyes; squaring off eyes; shaving light off bald heads tops to cut down attention.
Critique #4: Push your black points to retain depth, because losing three-dimensions is common when moving to a two-dimensional world. Look for cropping and shifting to black and white.
Critique #5: You don’t want to give up information but if it is distracting from the subject you need to crop it.
Critique #6: When you’re the photographer, you know the subject, the context, the situation – and the work is to make the photograph create the context after being truncated from its historical condition. When there is an abrupt lack of information our eye dismisses it, so you have to bring things into view.

How to see light – never be able to do better, than to understand single point light (natural) – pay attention to how light drifts off, and how much is available, and hitting the subject. Watch ratio of lighting.

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