DPP Home Profiles Dan Winters: Master Of The Timeless Portraits

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dan Winters: Master Of The Timeless Portraits

Top editorial photographer Dan Winters takes revealing pictures of the most famous faces in a way that’s simple, quiet and one-of-a-kind

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Actress Laura Dern
“If you go to a newsstand and look, magazines and newspapers are dominated by portraits,” he says. “First and foremost, I am a portrait photographer, but I don’t even feel like a third of what I shoot is portraits. It’s just that the portrait stuff is what people see because that’s what magazines and newspapers show.”

When he was just starting out as an aspiring photographer, he created this kind of manifesto for himself that he would live or die by his pictures, not allowing others to shape his work. So he wouldn’t let anyone see his shoots or edit him. “Early on, I got in with people who really appreciated the way I worked,” he says. “Most of the people I work for now, I work for a lot, so there’s a much more open dialogue.”

Earlier this year, Winters released his long-awaited first monograph called Periodical Photographs. With an emphasis on his iconic portraiture, the book highlights his process with images ranging from a 1940s-inspired portrait of actress Laura Dern to a photo booth constructed specifically for the cover of an Entertainment Weekly special issue.

Actor Heath Ledger
One of the most telling images in the book is one of his desktop, which changes regularly, and reveals his deep fascination with American history since World War I. He maintains a home in Los Angeles, but in 2000, he moved to Austin, Texas, where he set up a studio outside of the city in a historic building, which was constructed in 1903 and served as a general store, gas station and post office for nearly 100 years before Winters arrived. His studio is filled with objects that keep him visually stimulated like old photos, quirky toys and knickknacks, gadgets and books. Beyond portraiture, he’s always refreshing his point of view and approach by working on projects in different genres, including science, architecture, interiors and street photography.

One of his favorite portraits is Harry Callahan’s classic black-and-white photograph of his wife Eleanor floating in the water with her hair down. As
far as his own work goes, his favorite is a toss-up between a portrait he took of his father and one of his wife and son.

To see more of Dan Winters’ work, go to www.danwintersphoto.com.

Winter’s Gear
Cameras, Lenses & Flash
Sinar F1 and P2 4x5 cameras with Schneider and Rodenstock lenses
Sinar P and Deardorff 8x10 cameras
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and Canon EOS 5D
Mark II 35mm digital cameras
Hasselblad, Linhof and Rolleiflex medium-format cameras
Canon F-1, Yashica T2, Hasselblad XPan and Contax G2 35mm cameras
Profoto, Lumedyne and Dynalite strobes
ARRI and Bardwell & McAlister hot lights
Macintosh computers
Epson printers


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