The Art of Discipline
images of supermodels and celebrities have captivated readers of almost
every major magazine in the western world. Combining mastery of lighting
techniques, psychological skill in guiding his subjects to the limits
of their expressiveness, endless energy and abundant chutzpah, the Los
Angeles-based shooter has attracted so much coverage in the photo press
that when we asked him to dig deeper into some of the famous stories
about his career, he replied with a groan. ‘I don’t know
what else I can add,’ he protested. ‘If you dig any deeper,
I’ll be buried.’ He then proceeded to oblige, surprise and
instruct with a stream of new revelations about his beginnings and the
turning points of his high-velocity career in fashion, beauty and celebrity
photography." -Excerpt from the American Photo Interview.
Charlize Theron © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
I have found myself thinking about what I've seen over the years pertaining to film and digital photography. We have all seen many discussions in magazines and on the internet pertaining to film vs.digital. We’ve seen proclamations by photographers stating they are “going back to film” or by others singing the praises of digital.
Brooke Burke © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
I shoot in every format, every camera, film, ISO rating, digital camera or digital backs. I use an old Rolleiflex TLR, a Leaf Aptus Digital back on my Hasselblad H1 and I continue to shoot my Mamiya RZ, or large format cameras. Each tool serves a purpose of what I’m trying to convey in a photograph. By having all of these options at my disposal I am never lamenting going towards the digital media or abandoning film..
Tom Green © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
However in the end, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the person behind the camera. I know many photographers that if given a pinhole camera can make an amazing photographic essay using just that. It doesn’t matter what you shoot with, what matters is how you use it. I started shooting large format at a very early stage in my career to teach myself the discipline that photography requires. To study my subject, compose my image and when the moment was right squeeze the cable release. This practice has carried over into every format and medium I shoot today.
Eva Mendes © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
In my workshops
for example I see so many photographers use what I call the "spray
and pray" method of shooting. And that is holding down the button
on their camera and pray one comes out... Many forget there is a person
on the other side of their lens.
Alicia Slverstone © Jerry Avenaim All Rights Reserved
No matter what your
proficiency, if you are an amateur or professional, remember to have
fun, and you will always take great pictures. The best piece of advice
I give is to get out and experiment.