Monday, October 29, 2007

Ensemble Photography

I see more than a few image makers, myself included, struggling to produce consistently exceptional images. It seems to me the digital revolution is to blame, leastwise, when it comes to producing first-rate photographic images.

While digital technologies have made it easier for many to produce marginally competent images, producing exceptional images requires additional new skills.

Back in the day, what photographers needed--for the most part and in addition to creative vision--were exceptional photographic skills to produce exceptional images. Today, that's not enough. These days, photographers need solid photographic skills coupled with high-end, electronic, image processing skills in order to consistently produce superior images, i.e., images that truly stand out from the crowd.

When it comes to professional glamour photography, producing stand-out images is, most often, an ensemble production: MUAs, stylists, re-touchers and graphic designers, and the models themselves are all integral parts of that ensemble. Certainly this goes for fashion photography as well. (Often, with the addition of an art director.)

But today I'm going to remark on a different kind of image-producing ensemble. I'm talking about collaborative teams where photographers, make that image producers, pool their skills and creativity to enhance the quality of their work.

When thinking about collaborative teams, Markus Klinko & Indrani come immediately to mind. If you haven't checked out their work, you might consider doing so.

An article in Digital Photo Pro magazine states, "Partners in life as well as creativity are rare indeed. There are plenty of examples where one person focuses on the creative work while the other half of the team handles the financial and promotional side. Markus Klinko and Indrani are a unique team in which both partners drive the creativity of their projects, culminating in cutting-edge imagery that’s evocative and dynamic."

Certainly, forming a collaborative photographic team isn't easy to accomplish. Things like ego (or something as simple, yet difficult, as finding a suitable partner) might be to blame. Simply put, collaborative photo teams aren't for everyone. But I think you're going to see more and more of these Klinko & Indrani-ish teams surface as the skills and knowledge required to produce exceptional imagery becomes more and more difficult for a single person to achieve. Sometimes, technology doesn't simplify the process, instead, it amplifies the difficulty in achieving superior results when attempting to utilize and integrate all those hi-tech processes.

The pretty girl at the top is Britney. I captured this image of Britney a week or so ago while on a set. Lighting was my usual.

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