Tuesday, June 12, 2007
David Mendelsohn - It Takes Imagination
Digital and film, black-and-white and color, personal and commercial—these are the facets of David Mendelsohn's persona as a photographer
Newer, Better, Faster
Adhering to his “anything goes” mindset, Mendelsohn has no plans for completely eliminating film from his studio. Although he began experimenting with digital tools two decades ago, he still makes room for the tried and true. He does things the best way he knows how, and sometimes that's the old way. He doesn't feel pressured to always have the newest and best high-tech toys at his fingertips. The tools are simply a necessary means to an end, and only necessary if they do their job well.
Mendelsohn does look ahead to what technology awaits on the horizon. He says he wouldn't be surprised to see 20- or 30-megapixel SLRs within the next two years. “But then again, flash a few years forward from then, and it will all seem pretty much outdated,” he adds. “We'll all be preoccupied with traveling through time, and photographs for the sake of reliving our memories will be irrelevant. We can always simply jump on the Retro Shuttle and go back for a few days.”
For now, Mendelsohn is happy to have the digital equipment and a level of comfort using it. Every image is in some way a part of his digital workflow—even those that emerge on film from his traditional darkroom. The rest, about 65 percent, is initiated via digital capture.
“There are effects that I can achieve in my black-and-white work that still can't be nailed—at least in my experience—with Photoshop,” he says. “The resulting prints, however, are scanned at high resolution for archiving and eventual large output. If you have to deal with long exposures, high-contrast situations where you expect to see details in the highlights, or extreme enlargements, and you're not using a dedicated medium- or large-format digital back, then perhaps you're better off with film.
“That said, there's that amazing ability to capture and view your images without waiting for your lab to process and return the film,” he continues. “You can hit the ground running. Even though I read the histograms on the LCD, I still bracket. I'm pretty secure that I could be totally digital within the next few years. I have some clients who still insist on film, but they will come around as well.”
From the headlights in his car to the highly evolved digital darkroom in his studio, Mendelsohn uses it all in the singular pursuit of artistic excellence. His playful personality still manages to sneak out on occasion.
“All equipment should be justified based on return and use,” he says. “Then again, there's always convenience—and simple fun.”
To see more of David Mendelsohn's photography, visit his website at www.davidm.com.
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