Friday, June 15, 2007
Caesar Lima - Building The Look
For Caesar Lima, the beginning of the basis for his imagery comes down to a simple mantra: Always be creative
The celebration continues for Lima, who has used his creativity to expand beyond his role as photographer. Wowed by his work and wooed by his workplace, clients come to him for more than just the photographs. He sells a total package—from the idea's inception to its execution, unique all the way.
“I consider myself an image maker and photo designer,” says Lima. “My clients hire me not only for shooting; they also rely on me for the image concept. I don't remember the last layout we received from a client—probably 10 years ago.”
Such creative freedom may cripple lesser photographers and certainly lesser businesspeople. For Lima, it's all part of his one simple task: “My job is to make the reader stop at the image and then read the message.”
In order to keep eyes glued to his work, Lima employs any number of visual devices—selective focus, vibrant color, motion blur—as well as any number of visual styles. He's skilled at making black-and-white prints as well as ultra-saturated colors, and he's equally comfortable lighting for a natural effect as he is creating outlandish environments. The methods may sometimes differ, but the key to arresting readers always stays the same: it has to have punch.
“The trick is to add punch to the image,” Lima says. “Sometimes, it's in the color, sometimes it's an ultra-sharp black-and-white, or it could be a Polaroid transfer, but it has to be different. I don't believe a photographer has to have only one style. Every day is a different assignment, a different challenge. I never get bored.”
The constant among Lima's work, no matter the subject or the look, is that he shoots 100% digitally. He's a technology nut and he loves to play with the newest toys, pushing the boundaries in the images he makes as well as with the tools he uses to make them. Still, he knows his photographs aren't about the technology used for their creation.
“I love technology,” he says. “I love hardware. It's amazing what you can do these days. When I'm creating an image, everything is possible! But all the hardware—it's just tools. Without the idea, there's no hardware that will do it for you.”
Lima certainly doesn't appear to be running short on ideas, so he's happy to let his fancy tools help make his job easier and his work better. Beyond the digital backs and dual-processor Macs, Lima even uses a computer-controlled “robotic lighting” setup in his Calabasas studio.
“We have a Martin system from Denmark, specially designed for photography,” he says of his daylight-balanced hot lights. “These HMI lights are normally used for concerts. This special edition is more powerful and has pure white balance. The system comes with six lights and gobos so we're able to control shape, color and focus. Right now, there isn't anything revolutionary in the market as far as equipment, so we have to invent it in the way we shoot.”
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