Monday, June 23, 2008
Caesar Lima - Focusing On The Future
Modernist in every aspect of the word, Caesar Lima pushes the boundaries of what it takes to be a professional photographer in a digital world
Lima shoots in an ultramodern studio with the ultimate in equipment, tech and entertainment. Client comfort is ensured in a large studio lounge that offers hundreds of books and magazines, drinks, music and even an espresso machine. A job with Lima is a lot like a party, an attitude that has secured his reputation for a fun shoot, as well as fun images. While the presentation may whet the appetite, however, it's Lima himself who clinches the deal.
“The real truth,” he notes, “is that I treat the clientele sincerely. I love what I do, and that shows through me. If I could, I wouldn't charge my clients. The money isn't the reason. And I'm always joking around with the clients. A day's shoot goes fast and is always fun, with good music, good catering, interesting people—and every day is different. You never get bored.”
While many photographers shoot with the idea that they can always fix it in Photoshop, Lima plans his imagination in the real world. While initially, the studio is impressive, the tech behind it all is also quite an attraction.
Lima prefers to use a mix of lighting, with both flash and continuous sources, including ambient light, HMI, tungsten or whatever else he feels is important. His studio uses a unique Martin HMI robotic lighting system, a special customized version of concert lights, which provide theater-like lighting capabilities. Each six-foot-tall head has six gobos for controlling qualities like focus, texture, intensity and color. A provocative study of nudes that Lima put together, for instance, uses the gobos to alter background color and saturation of shadow and to project cursive writing, with juxtapositions of words and sayings projected on the delicately lit models.
“Super-cool,” says Lima. “After you make a background, you can save the combination and come back to the same light later on. I like the studio because of the control I have. In the studio, you start from black and do your lighting light by light. In location work, the trick is to mix ambient light and flash, which is a little more complicated.”
The man likes his computers. Within Lima's studio lies a mini-Mac museum, with somewhere between 30 to 40 historic Apple products. The receptionist's desk itself is composed of working Mac classic computers. From the Lisa to the Next to the first iPod, Lima says that, every month, he retires something to the collection.
For more current processing, Lima maintains an integrated Mac workflow, currently with three Mac tower desktops, two MacBook Pro laptops and the newest addition, an Axiotron Modbook, a Mac tablet that Lima heartily recommends. He has found himself using it while on location to control and preview the images from his 33-megapixel Sinar eMotion75 digital back.
“Technology helps me to have instant feedback,” he says. “It's also a niche. My clients expect me to have the latest and the biggest megapixel. They rely on me not only for the creative side, but also to make sure they're getting the best product available. If the technology can make the whole project unique, I'll go for it. The idea is to make something new, and unique is appealing. But sometimes being very simple is the answer.
“My job is to tell a story visually; the better the image, the less text copy is needed. My background in advertising helps me visually to design the image, creating a visual order in which the viewer has to go. This is the trick. You have the control to make the viewer go to a specific area of the image first, like in an ad, and this way the image is never busy or confusing. I think in the beginning, everybody was trying to show that the image was shot digitally, that some kind of retouching was done, and now it's the opposite. The retouching is hidden, it's less obvious.”
Lima was asked in an interview in 2000 where he saw the future of photography going, and he replied that photography was going to become totally digital, with film's only function to be as a backup source. Lima went on to note that computers would get faster and smaller and finally disappear, becoming part of the camera itself, only needing a wireless monitor to display images, which then are delivered through a fast Internet connection.
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