Sunday, August 03, 2008

Photographer As Director

Traditionally photographers operate the camera, control the light and direct the action. This is changing.

In the case of Chuck Close, he has an assistant who manages equipment. Close does the direction. Close's vision comes thru clearly. Kahn and Selsnick work as a team to produce amazing fictional narratives. Gregory Crewdson leads a group that operates more like a movie production group than a still photographer. For now the photographer is remaining the director in art photography.

In commerce photography, the photographer might work with one or more camera assistants to keep fast paced shooting situations running smoothly. In commerce photography the photographer might be co-director or a member of a directing group. In terms of new production techniques commerce photography holds the lead over art photography in terms of exploring broad new technical solutions. Many commerce photographers work as small production teams managing complex technical shoots that could not be managed by a single person.

In the late 1970s Joel Meyerowitz began exhibiting his Cape Light series, which was printed by a lab with the same name. At the time it was unusual to see a museum exhibit not printed by the photographer. Today it is commonplace. Perhaps a similar future lies ahead for art photographers as directors only.