So, how to create more impactful images?
-Polish up on your historical literacy. If you don’t know the kind/quality of work that previous photographers have shot, how can you provide the marketplace (magazine/book editors, stock agencies, art galleries, and so on) with something different/better?
-Understand why you are shooting something. Are you shooting for the commercial market? Are you shooting for the fine-art market? Maybe you need to try some interesting effects. While iconographic images are always in demand (Eiffel Tower, pyramids, and so on), everyone and their mother has shot them, so you need to study what’s out there and come up with a unique view if you want to succeed.
-Learn to look critically at your work. Critically examine the work of other photographers as well as your own to understand why certain images work and why they don’t. Go beyond just looking at composition to explore other aspects of your image. What did you include and exclude in your frame? What kind of light are you using (golden light, midday)? What technique are you using, and why? Examine the moment that you captured that image. Is that the best possible expression of your subject? Figure 7.1 captures a dog gazing out of a window. This image has impact because of the feeling that it can evoke from the viewer.
How do you determine what conveys a sense of place, and do you research your
locations prior to traveling?
For me, a sense of place (which is very hard to define) comes from the ability to shoot emotion over content (which is a little easier to understand). Shooting emotion instead of content is the same: it’s difficult to define or describe, but you know it when you see it. You need to critically look at your own images and ask yourself “emotion or content?” Repeat it over and over like a mantra. Look at other photographers’ work and evaluate it - did that photographer shoot emotion or content? Eventually you will start to see it more clearly and then
incorporate it into your image-capturing skills. I generally research my locations before traveling there, but not too much. I don’t want to get so familiar with a place that I can’t see it with fresh eyes or I’m not surprised by it when I get there. But I do like to know how that place has been represented before so I generate fresh looks for the marketplace. Figure 7.2 was an image I pre-visualized after spending some time in Cuba. It seemed to say a lot about the place.
What essential gear do you pack when going on a travel photography trip?
Airline travel is always a challenge, or as I like to call it, a pain in the @#!. You can’t check your expensive and delicate camera gear. You have to pare down everything down to one, airline-legal, photo backpack or case and one smaller backpack.
My essential travel gear consists of:
-Two camera bodies and batteries
-Canon lenses; 14mm, 16-35mm, 70-200mm, 85/1.2, 9Omm TS-E
-Sensor cleaning gear
-Digital storage devices
-A good book
-Shutterbug Magazine. Travel and Location Special Issue. June 2011.
-Rangefinder Magazine (excerpt) (return to top)
Lorne Resnick left Toronto for Los Angeles 20 years ago, by way of (to name a few favorites) Amsterdam, Papua New Guinea, Cuba, Vietnam, the Bahamas and 22 countries in Africa. He is passionate about creating the decisive moment, that unique instant that transforms photography into a moment of universal connection. Here he discusses his views and creative approaches.
Tell me about your early life.
I was born and raised in Canada and studied business for one year at the University of Toronto. It wasn’t exactly a match for me, and when my best friend decided to go shooting in Europe, I joined him. I never regretted the decision. When I returned, I spent time shooting rock concerts, which led to publishing my first book, Live in Concert: 10 Years of Rock ‘n Roll. Shortly after the book was published, a job in came up in Amsterdam and I ended up staying there for 7 years developing my fine art and commercial projects into a business. During my Amsterdam stay a friend and I bought a four-wheel-drive Mercedes Benz and drove from Amsterdam to Cape Town [South Africa] which took a year. Africa, with its enormous empty plains, deserts and wonderful animals, was a transformative experience that changed photography from something I loved to do to something I could not do without.
Who were your photographic influences?
A. Some of my favorites are Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton, Sebastião Salgado, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Galen Rowell, Jan Saudek, Keith Carter, Elliott Erwitt, Richard Avedon and Walker Evans.
What is Live in Concert?
I have always loved music, and that love slowly became an obsession—to try and capture the top bands at their peak moments, which would visually express the auditory fire of a live rock show. I shot everyone from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. The book was my first anthology, which I also designed, produced and published in 1987.
Tell me about your travels and Cuba Dreaming.
Travel for me is a stripping away of ordinary life. Without normal comforts (home, clothes, job, friends), you are forced into direct experience, which I find thrilling. Of all the places I have photographed all over the world, Cuba and Africa have captured my heart and imagination, and I continually return to both. For Africa, it was the long periods of being alone in vast landscapes and spending time with extraordinary animals. Cuba was the interpersonal opposite. Teeming with children, families, passion and music, it brought me out of myself and more into people. I have been to Cuba more than a dozen times since 1995, spending a total of more than a year there. Cuba Dreaming is a series of images for a book in progress. It will be an extremely high quality, large-format coffee-table book including text by National Geographic award-winning author Christopher Baker, and about 40 transcribed Cuban interviews, plus music on a DVD. You can view some spreads from the series at www.cubadreaming.com.
Tell me about your fine art photography.
I try to make sure that my work is compelling in my eyes, and most importantly, that I have fun producing it, and that always leads to images I feel are interesting. I continually push my own creative boundaries to make art that is vital, original and has some level of meaning and connection. I feel it’s also important to know the domain in which you are entering, to know what has come before. I do a lot of research before starting a long-term project to make sure I am not copying something that has been done and that I can bring some aspect of a unique voice to the subject. For my style of work, the 35mm format fits best. I would hate to think about lugging a medium-format camera up Kilimanjaro or across the Sahara. I converted to digital a few years ago when the first professional full-frame sensor Canon DSLR came out. Their 11-megapixel sensor produced roughly a 33MB file. Since my fine art posters and large prints shot on film were drum-scanned at anywhere from 120–250MB, I didn’t think a 33MB file would allow me the same quality. However, I soon learned that there were major differences in ways that scanned film vs. digital enlarges. Even more important than the megapixel count is how the actual sensor translates the analog signal to digital. In the end, I was staggered by the quality of the Canon images. I sold all my film cameras and switched to digital after making a full test. In addition, shooting digital is way more fun than film.
Did your fine art work begin in black and white?
Yes, I was very heavily skewed towards black and white at the beginning and then shifted mostly to color. Right now it’s pretty evenly divided between the two. While working with film, I used to carry one camera with black-and-white film and one with color. Now with digital everything is shot in color, but I still see a scene in my mind in one or the other.
What sort of commercial work have you done lately?
Everything from annual reports, to a recent campaign shooting Johnson & Johnson baby soap in a studio, to photographing custom chairs on location in Death Valley to a major advertising campaign for Jacuzzi. Most of the work is on location, often with a crew and art director.
What are some of your recent awards?
PDN World in Focus Award, Black and White Spider Award, and recently I won the Travel Photographer of the Year Award. It’s a prestigious international competition entered by more than 10,000 people from 50 countries.
How do you apportion your work time?
There are often many things vying for my attention, so time management is an ongoing struggle. I try to be selective about what I do and have gotten better and better at the discipline of looking at priorities and making choices before I dive into the flow of a work day. Half of my business is commercial, including shooting for advertising agencies, stock, design firms and direct to client. The second half involves selling limited-edition fine art prints, working on books and creating commercial posters. I try to move each area forward daily in some way.
Do you have employees?
No full-time employees, but for the last few years I’ve had interns about four days a week. For commercial shoots, I hire a crew.
Were all the animals on your website shot in Africa?
Most were. However, I have shot locally with animals that work in the movies and commercials. The chimpanzee, baby tiger and cougar were shot in California, the chimp and baby tigers in my backyard. The animals in Africa look so tame you feel like there is no danger—until you see them come alive in pursuit of prey. Someone once said that a lion’s life is 20 hours of sleep and four hours of pure terror for some other animal. My goal with each animal is to be patient enough to capture a unique moment of behavior that speaks to the animal’s whole character, and even transcends that and speaks to a more universal and anthropomorphic truth.
What is the Young Stars School Project?
It’s a school-building project that my wife and I started during my honeymoon in Africa. We fell in love with the children at a small school just outside Bwindi National Park in Uganda. We feel that education is really the magic bullet and poverty is a cycle that will perpetuate until skills to contribute to the modern world are developed. The Young Stars School Project (www.youngstarsproject.org) is not only dedicated to building schools, but to strengthening communities and creating holistic, healthy learning environments. I feel so fortunate for the things I have been able to see and do in my life. My travels have opened up my eyes and heart and I feel the need to give back. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth.”
-B&W Magazine (excerpt) (return to top)
From his first book of photographs, “Live in Concert: 10 years of Rock and Roll”, published in 1987, to his latest work-in-progress, Cuba Dreaming, Lorne Resnick has always strived to create images that probe beyond the everyday facade to capture the essential meaning and character of his subjects.
"The authenticity of the moment is what I'm after, and I'm obsessed with what makes one moment more special than another," says the Los Angeles-based commercial and fine art photographer. "There's great joy in capturing a particular unique moment in time that represents an impactful emotion. It's a fascinating process.
"I like to spend a considerable period of time observing and searching for moments and behaviors that I would be less aware of if I weren't trying to capture that one special shot," says Resnick, much of whose early Africa work was photographed with infrared film to capture a new look and feel beyond ordinary wildlife images. “It takes time to get to that deeper level. It’s the same with people, it takes time to get to know an individual well enough to represent his or her true character in an image."
Resnick currently divides his time between ongoing assignment work and fine art photography. “Half of my work is commercial and half is fine art, the distinction depends on whether an assignment is client driven or driven by myself and my ideas,” he says "I try to bring my own aesthetic into how I shoot in both areas."
-Photoworkshops.com (excerpt) (return to top)
Original aticle can be found here:
Award-winning photographer Lorne Resnick was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. His passion for travel and photography keeps him moving around the globe exploring different cultures and countries, capturing unique moments with his camera.
Self-taught for the most part, he began his career photographing rock concerts in his home town of Toronto, capturing peak moments in the all-consuming fire and flash that is live rock and roll, featuring performers from Bruce Springsteen to Madonna. These images were published in his first book, Live in Concert: 10 years of Rock and Roll.
His pursuit of unique and compelling images has led him to Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Greenland, Cuba, China, across Europe and 22 countries in Africa. He has lived in Amsterdam for six years working on commercial projects. He's also spent over a year in Cuba and Africa working on long-term book projects, which you can explore further on his commercial website at lorneresnick.com.
Resnick’s striking commercial and fine-art images have been exhibited in galleries across Europe and America, and have been used commercially for annual reports, billboards, television, web sites and for worldwide advertising campaigns.
Well-established as a commercial and fine art photographer, the 44-year-old Resnick's interest in photography grew out of his love for music and travel. "I went to a lot of concerts in my hometown of Toronto, and I started shooting because of a real urge I had to capture that 'decisive moment," recalls Resnick, whose rock book featured more than 60 bands. "When my book came out, it became my introduction to photography, and through music I transitioned into doing a lot of traveling."
His first big trip was an overland journey to Africa, a continent that remains one of his favorite photographic destinations. I was away for a year, and drove from Amsterdam to Capetown, and returned with 200 rolls of black and white film," he says. "I then spent the next six months in the darkroom." It was many such intensive experiences in the darkroom, and the extraordinary quality of current digital capture, that led Resnick to largely switch to shooting digitally.
Resnick is currently busy completing what could be described as his magnum opus, a comprehensive book on Cuba, its people and culture. He first visited the island in 1995, and during subsequent visits has taken an estimated 20,000 images. "I fell in love with the country," he says. "I spent two months there during my first visit and have been back since then at least a dozen times.”
When completed, Cuba Dreaming: Life in the Moment, will feature upwards of 250 black and white and color images, a CD with music, along with numerous DVD interviews with Cuban people. "It will be a powerful, colorful book with the dynamic feel of Cuba,” says Resnick, "I try to use the camera as a bridge of connection to people, and I hope the book itself will help bridge the gap in understanding between Cuba and the rest of the world."
-Kodak propass magazine (return to top)
Lorne Resnick Talks about Connecting and Engaging
Direct marketing can serve as a powerful tool for professional photographers. Both as a way to stay connected with valued clients, and as a way to engage new ones. But knowing when to send what and how can often be a challenge.
Read on as award-winning commercial and fine art photographer Lorne Resnick shares his strategies for promoting his work to art directors, art buyers, gallery owners and collectors, and creating relationships that last.
Right Place, Right Time
“Marketing is always that 64-thousand-dollar question,” Resnick says, describing the process of figuring out when, what, and how as equal parts art, science, and frustration.
“The frustrating part is that you know that there’s probably someone, somewhere at least every day on the planet that if you were to connect with them, they would buy a piece of your art or commission you to create images. So it’s a right place, right time sort of situation.”
Then there’s the financial component.
“At one point I was sending out five different promo card mailings to art directors and buyers, 1,000 at a time,” he recalls, emphasizing that they were wildly expensive. “I concluded that you had to have a really big bankroll behind you to mail that many printed promo cards, and you have to do it every other month or every third month. And you have to send 6,000 to 10,000 because 1,000 doesn’t make a dent in terms of finding that right-place, right-time person.”
On top of that, he talked to art directors and art buyers again and again who told him they received 70 pieces of mail a day. “So you’re sending out this really expensive piece of mail and they might not even see it. It might go into the trash right away.
What Resnick finds to work well is e-mail marketing.
“It’s the easiest way to continually send new work,” he explains. “If I shoot something this week and I want to send it out in a printed piece, I’ve got to get it designed. I’ve got to take it to the printer, proof it. It’s maybe a month or two or three before I’m able to get that piece out. But if I shoot something now I could send it out this week in an e-mail promo.”
Make It Personal.
Though Resnick could have his e-mail promotions outsourced, he chooses to build them himself. “I want them to be very personal. So I design them myself, I build them myself, and every month I put it together. I choose the images and I put the text in and test it out, then send it out.”
He also strives to make his e-mails as recipient-friendly as possible, which means he never sends attachments. “People have sent me attachments and it makes me angry because it clogs up my e-mail,” he says. “These are HTML e-mails which means nothing has to be downloaded.” Resnick regularly adds the names of clients, peers, people who visit his website, and others who ask to be put on the list.
Make It Relevant.
“Even if you're e-mailing to a list of opted-in people, you can’t just send a couple of pictures and say ‘Hey, I want your business.’ If all I say is hire me for a commercial job or ‘buy one of my pieces of artwork,’ then it’s all about me,” Resnick cautions. “You really have to provide the people you’re sending it to with some kind of content in terms of what’s good for them, or what’s interesting for their site or their business.”
Because Resnick is a voracious reader, especially of books on the creative process, he likes to provide a little bit of what he learns in his e-mails. He calls these e-mail promos Museletters.
These Museletters celebrate creativity in all its forms, and include excerpts, stories, quotations, and various musings. More importantly, they allow him to share his thoughts, give a little bit of content, and separate himself from the herd, and from what everyone else is doing.
“I know there are a ton of other photographers that are sending e-mail promos out,” he explains. “Obviously, you have to have the work, and the work has to be good, but I like to add a little bit more so that people will stick on my e-mail for an extra three or four seconds or keep it in their inbox.”
A Disdain for Spam.
Resnick is very much against spam and it drives him crazy when he gets it. “The bottom line regarding spamming is this question,” he says. “Is the e-mail relevant to who I am or what I do?” So he adheres to all the rules to make sure his emials are not spam.
to ensure his e-mails are not classified as spam.
It’s important to note that while Resnick utilizes e-mail for the commercial side of his business, he does not use it promote his fine art.
Gallery and museum directors and private collectors don’t look at e-mail in the same way as art buyers or art directors. It’s not expected, so they may not look as kindly to receiving it,” he says. “Plus the list is much smaller – maybe 700 to 800. So I’ll go back to printed matter. Only this time, it won’t be as elaborate or costly. I’ll send out a monthly 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 card. One card with one photo on it and some details on the back.”
He will also use post cards to highlight recent news and achievements, such as when he won the 2005 Travel Photographer of the Year Award, or to promote new projects, such as his new book, Cuba Dreaming.
Resnick views his camera as a bridge to connect people, and he hopes his book will help bridge the gap in understanding between Cuba and the rest of the world. When it’s finished, the comprehensive book about the people and culture of Cuba will feature about 40 interviews with Cubans and over 250 black-and-white and color images.
A Lasting Relationship
Though Resnick has embraced digital capture, he still has a strong relationship with film. The images of Cuba Dreaming were shot largely on film – a combination of slide and negative film. “I shot a lot of the KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA Film, ” he says. “Especially on my last trip. I thought it was a really great film. Especially since I do my own scanning. It gave me a lot of latitude to work with. And Cuba is a place that has a lot of very contrasting light conditions where the light is sort of slanting into these alleyways or these houses, so it’s very dark inside the house and yet this bright sunlight is coming in. The PORTRA Film held everything together beautifully.”
Resnick also shoots KODAK PROFESSIONAL High-Speed Infrared Film to create images that transcend the ordinary. “I’ve been experimenting with that for so long,” he says. “The KODAK Infrared Film is just so special. It’s got a wonderful feel to it and I’ve gotten spectacular results. I’ve still got hundreds of images that need to be scanned and brought up as fine art prints from my trips to Africa with that film.
When Resnick first went to Africa, he took about 150 rolls of KODAK Infrared Film. “It was kind of tricky because I was going through maybe 25 different countries in Africa over a period of a year, and I actually took every single roll of KODAK Infrared Film and took the film out and in a darkroom bag put it into an unmarked canister because it said infrared on the film and we were going through some very tricky countries military-wise and if I was stopped with 150 rolls of film that said Infrared on it, who knows what would have happened.”
He remembers driving down south of Amsterdam through France and Italy and South of Spain with a changing bag on his lap, switching out all the film. “I had that film through deserts and for weeks on end and then I would mail it back for a friend to store in a freezer but I never had any problem with that film,” he says. “I was amazed. I had that film in Africa in 100° heat for weeks on end. And I never had a problem.”
-Lexar Pro Photographer Corner (return to top)
see original online article here.
-Some technical details...
Over the years I've had the pleasure of visiting and photographing many different countries throughout the world. To me traveling means making connections. Not just meeting and talking with the people I encounter, but actually bonding with them and their environment. My camera assists me in this effort by acting as a conduit - a catalyst. Through it I view a world filled with intimate details and limitless possibilities. An otherwise dull scene is suddenly transformed into thousand exciting images when viewed through the lens, all of which help paint a picture of the whole.
I enjoy the challenge of communicating my thoughts and feelings through the medium of photography. Among the art worlds, photographers are a unique lot in that we are forced to deal with a finite medium-one which records people, places and events as they occur.
Because of this we are compelled to manipulate these images through the few variables at our disposal: shutter speed, aperture, exposure, lens focal length and composition. "B.D." (before digital) one of the most important decisions I made when creating an image is what type of film to shoot - color, B+W, tight grain, high grain, infrared, etc. Today we are fortunate to be blessed with a bewildering variety of digital options that leave much more of the visualization to the post processing.
On my first 12-month trip through Africa I chose to shoot infrared film in one of my camera bodies. This was my first visit and I wanted to record images from a different perspective. When I developed the film I was ecstatic with the results. The deep, rich tones of the shadows, stark glowing whites and large grain structure gave an otherworldly appearance to my photographs. Not only did they describe Africa as I had seen it, but as I actually felt it. Here were pictures that conveyed the raw splendor of wild places. Gazing at them I once again felt the wave of awe and respect that washed over me as I stood on towering sand dunes or in the midst of wind swept savannas.
During my last trip I was shooting all high resolution images. For this trip I was interesting in trying to capture that grand majesty of the plains and animals, but this time in color. In the end I used Photoshop to give a slight otherworldly intense spin on the images. I have little interest in actually capturing things "as they are" but rather I want to capture things as I feel they are in a poetic sense. My general process in photoshop was very simple. I would duplicate the background layer and give it a slight blur (using one of several different blur options). From there I would change the blurred layer into multiply mode and then started working the images with curves, saturation, selective color and levels layers. Often I would paint through one layer to another until I was satisfied with the final results.
The use of digital gives me the option to capture places like Africa not as I (or others) see it, but as my heart and soul see it. The ability to visualize what I want and achieve it through digital manipulation suddenly breathed life into my images of animals, giving them an air of majesty and dignity.
On the practical side I found one of the most important things when shooting in a place like Africa is the reliability of the media you are shooting to. The last thing I would want is to have a once in a lifetime image disappear through a disk error. Also, for me, it was important to have enough media to cover one full day out in the filed. Nothing kills a good time and nice flow than having to sit down and download images to a laptop or portable hard drive. And even if I were to try downloading one card while shooting another, it just doesn't make sense as it distracts from shooting (constantly checking the download and making sure it is successful, not bumping the drive, watching out for dust and dirt, etc). So, since I was out on Safari by 6AM and returned after sunset, I made sure I had lots of large capacity CF cards with me at all time.
-Photovision (return to top)
-Cigar Aficionado (return to top)