My approach to shooting for artists is much like that of a jeweler who makes custom jewelry. Each photograph is its own unique creation, intended to show off the piece of work to its best effect. I am not a cut-rate photo shop where everything is shot under the same lighting and the work is run through as quickly as possible. I shoot and light each piece individually to make sure each photo is as good as I can make it. I take the time to get it right because I understand what is riding on the images. My images represent the piece of art, and the artist, to the world. They need as much care and expertise applied to them as the artist has applied to the work itself.
Some photographers prefer to work alone. Not me. I invite the artist to come to the studio and participate in the photography. You know your work better than I ever will. You can help me find just exactly the right angle to show off the work to the best effect. If you see something you like, or something you don’t like, just tell me. The beauty of working digitally is that I can keep shooting and tweaking until we’re completely happy with the image. At the end of the day you will know exactly what you have, and the pictures will be as good as we can possibly make them.
For me, photography is about control. Control of everything in the photographic process, from composition and lighting to proper handling and enhancement of the final image. I bring a high degree of skill and attention to detail to my work, in particular to the lighting. To light something properly one must have the proper tools, but the tools are not enough. One must also have the necessary skills to use those tools, and those skills only come from serious study and experience. The right tools, properly and skillfully used, let you put the light exactly where you want it — and only where you want it.
The play of light and shadow in a photograph creates a sense of mood, of drama. I don’t always need to see everything. What I choose to de-emphasize, or hide in shadow, is just as important as what I choose to highlight. A good photograph will evoke emotion. Photography without drama is barren, clinical.
The simple fact is that the viewer of a photograph of a piece of art will very likely never touch the object in the picture, so I touch it for him with light. I skip light off rough surfaces to reveal texture. I wrap it softly and lovingly around graceful curves. I let the viewer caress with his eyes that which his hands will never touch.
I don’t take pictures. I create photographs.
It is all about the light.