Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rick Elkins

FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Rick Elkins

watching
One of a recently shot series of candid ballet photos taken backstage. I found the expressions of the dancers as they watched the other dancers perform to be quite a show.

la Saltimbanque Rose
Taken on a beach in Pondicherry, on the Bay of Bengal. When I saw them, they instantly reminded of an early Picasso painting of an acrobat family.

1: How long have you been involved in photography?

I took a course in b&w photography during the summer after I graduated college and bought a little Rollei 35mm, I remember transferring the film to a metal developing canister while sitting on the floor with a blanket over me as a makeshift darkroom! It was completely dark under that blanket (I had to work by feel) and very hot, as it was July. I enjoyed learning darkroom printing techniques like burning and dodging, but never did it again after that.

I didn't get serious about photography until about three years ago. That's when I got my first digital SLR, a Nikon D80. That's when I began really thinking about the photos I took.

2: Equipment you use?

I recently upgraded to a Nikon D700, and I'm happy I did. Obviously especially good for low-light! With it, I got a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, a 70-200mm f/2.8, and a teleconverter for extended range. I already had a prime 50mm f/1.4 and I'll probably get the 14-24 at some later date, unless Nikon introduces an updated version first. The rest of my lenses I've sold or put aside. And I'm a new fan of ThinkTank bags, I have two different kinds now.

3: Mac or PC?

A no-brainer, I'm a longtime Mac user, since the early 1990s. For any kind of graphic use, there's no comparison, and so far, for security reasons, too. And Apple's engineering and aesthetics are elegant and they just work better then a PC!

4: What inspires you?

More often, things not related to photography. I've always believed inspiration from mediums different from the one you're currently working in is more likely to produce something more arresting, more original. I started as a painter, and that influences my styles and work habits.

5: Preferred subject matter?

I love to include people in my shots when possible. They make a shot much more challenging, but more rewarding. The depth of meaning the inclusion of a person can add to even, say, a landscape makes the extra effort well worthwhile for me.
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6: Name one thing you haven't caught with the camera that
you REALLY want to capture.


I'd REALLY like to shoot an alien spacecraft making a landing on Earth. That's what I remind myself will probably happen any day I leave the house without a camera, and that kind of thought helps motivates me to grab one to bring along. But I don't like to use the word "capture", it seems to imply that one has just grabbed something that was already there and waiting, I prefer to think of the process as making photographs, not taking photographs.

What I want to work on are more photographs that have been planned in advance, most of my shots on Flickr are candid. I love the challenge of candid photography, but there are so many images in my head that could only be accomplished if planned. I need to work more with models and I need to learn how to use artificial light, I just bought an SB900 and some Lastolite lighting equipment toward that end...

7: When in doubt about your art, who do you confide in?

People who don't have any training or experience with photography can bring an unbiased eye to a photograph, so I like getting their opinion, but people who are emersed in photography have their own special insights to offer. Hmmm, combine those two groups and I guess I've just described the entire human race.


8: Qualifications/training in anything? ie: Photoshop

I'm self-taught, so I sometimes bring unorthodox methods to solving problems. As for Photoshop, I had to teach myself to use it in the early 1990s for my work as as art director. Photoshop can be a blessing or a curse, far more people ruin their photographs using Photoshop then improve them, but used judiciously, it is a godsend. Sadly I am sometimes overdo it, please yell at me when you see me do that.

9: Plans for the future?

I'm working to learn much more, and hopefully improve the craft, and elevate the material.


10: In one word, describe your photography.

Tryingtoalwaysgetbetter.

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