Last week we watched Side By Side, which is a documentary narrated and produced by Keanu Reeves. The film deals with the issue of the movie industry transitioning away from film and towards digital capture by opening up a dialogue with directors, directors of photography, editors, and other key individuals. Loved the documentary, go on Netflix, find it, and then watch it to get some insight from the people who matter in cinema.
Then this week a friend let us borrow his copy of BRUTUS (Japan Mag) which had an issue devoted to Hiroshi Sugimoto, fine art photographer and all around badass. Last year he worked with Hermès for there latest Editeur series of scarves. Confused? Check it: Hermès Editeur. Anyway, the magazine went in depth with him about his photography and the creative process. He still shoots film, and if you look him up I’m sure you’ll understand why he piqued our interest in writing about film again. He can take these amazing minimalist photos, but the process behind them is deeply involved. Some things just cannot be done digitally.
What I feel we’ve lost is the process of the photography. Digital has made it easy for others to go out and just wing it. The collaborative process between client, art director, and photographer is at stake.
While it is true that there are many types of shoots that do not require intense planning, I think the industry would benefit from key players making the time to make things work right. Showing up to a shoot and expecting everyone to fall in love with whatever you choose to shoot that day is ridiculous. Why would some many photographers (at all levels) try to figure everything from creative direction to lighting at the last minute. Convenience? Lazinesss? I have no idea. But what I do know is that we have photographers showing up with one idea, and the agency/client is expecting something completely different. It’s bullshit to expect that you can just change everything on the fly if it doesn’t meet expectations.
My opinion is that a lot of the art is gone as well. Everyone coming on set without a clear idea as to what to create undermines the artistic nature of fashion photography. I’m not saying every shot needs to be planned. It’s common to come up with an amazing image in the middle of a shoot. What’s important to remember is that a body of work, the art, is a sum of all the parts. It extends beyond the series to incorporate everything from the model to the clothing rack, to the location.
We aren’t shooting hundreds of polaroids per shoot. We aren’t even shooting film. But we do enter a creative process for a shoot. We think, get inspired, get motivated, find messages, and create.