IN THE EULOGY HE DELIVERED at his
father’s funeral, my friend Fortunato said that
until he left home at 18, he didn’t know there
were people called “electricians,” “carpenters”
and “plumbers” you could call to fix things
around the house. He thought home repairs
were only done by people called “Dad.”
I laughed. I too was raised by do-it-yourselfers,
and had a father who built stuff and repaired
things when they broke. My dad swore a lot when he was dealing with motors
or lug nuts. Despite, or maybe because of, his determination to figure things out
on his own, my father had great appreciation for expertise, and for anyone who
had learned through education or experience how to do something well. When
it was time to call on experts, he believed you should get out of their way and let
them do their jobs.
Trust in expertise is mentioned often in this issue, in which we explore the
secrets of successful, productive collaborations. We interviewed people working
in many capacities to help photographers execute their ideas or reach new
audiences. In order for everyone to bring their best to a project, each member of
the team has to trust that the other members have talent and authority to offer.
Retoucher Anna Glen says she does her best work with photographers she’s
worked with often, because she understands their taste and they, in turn, “have a
lot of faith and trust in me that I can do what they need done.” Art director George
McCalman, who has designed promos and books for many photographers, says that
he never tells photographers how to shoot, and he doesn’t let them tell him what
typeface to choose.
Another essential for creative collaboration is communication. Victoria Granof,
the legendary food stylist who has worked with Irving Penn and numerous other
photographers, has a useful technique for confirming that everyone understands
what the client wants the image to convey and how the photographer plans to
execute it. The retouchers we interview this month explain how they learn the
language each photographer speaks when describing the look they’re going for,
and how they interpret requests to make images that are “buttery” or simply “aaah.”
This month we also look at two collaborative partnerships between
photographers. Like many documentary photographers, Zoe Strauss and Stacy
Kranitz have explored new ways to engage audiences and to establish more
reciprocity in their relationships with their subjects, many of whom are poor and
either overlooked or stereotyped by the media. They created a projection this
summer by combining their images of urban and rural poverty, producing a richer,
more nuanced portrait of America today. Manjari Sharma and Irina Rozovsky
were commissioned to exchange photos and create a purely visual dialogue for
an exhibition now on view at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. One
photographer would send a photo; the other then replied with another photo.
Looking through one photo after another in the thread, I often laughed with
surprise. How a photographer would respond to a photo’s subject matter,
color palette, mood or the associations it called to mind was never predictable.
The exhibition “Talking Pictures” made me think about the delicate art of sequencing,
and how the juxtaposition of photos creates new meanings. It’s a reminder that a
good creative collaboration also has to put some trust in the element of chance.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Note: The structure of the actual lens may be different.
Nikon is a registered trademark of Nikon Corporation. ©2017 Nikon Inc.
MADE IN JAPAN
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