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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Douglas Dubler: Fine Art & Commerce

Douglas Dubler brings an artist’s sensibilities to every job he gets

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Mentored by sculptor Isamu Noguchi and photographer Ansel Adams, Douglas Dubler has been creating editorial, advertising and fine-art photography for the past 40 years and sees no distinction between his commercial and fine-art work. Instead of relying on Photoshop, Dubler tries to create his images in camera and is very particular in his use of beauty lights. When he made the transition to digital, Dubler had to learn how to use a computer for the first time and become accustomed to the digital production workflow, which he now prefers and likens to “real-time learning.”
That foresight helped to extend and mature Dubler’s career and his craft. “If I have one gift, besides my talent as a photographer, it’s to look into the future when it comes to technology,” he says. “I was absolutely convinced when I saw what this product was capable of—that this was the future for one reason and one reason only: real-time learning. With a digital workflow, there’s a cycle that I rely on, which encompasses inspiration, execution and observation. And these three things work in a circle. When you shoot film, you get to execute, but you don’t get to observe. You would have to wait until the film got processed. With digital, you can do inspiration, execution and observation repetitively. If the cycle remains continuous and you don’t break it, just think how fast you can get up on the learning curve. You can look at your work quickly, on a large display, and make edit decisions just as fast.”

There was one project that brought Dubler up to speed and served to accelerate the cycle of inspiration, execution and observation. “I had the good fortune when I was doing this of getting one of the biggest fashion jobs in New York City, the imaging for Bernard Arnault’s website, eluxury.com,” recalls Dubler. “Millions of dollars were spent on launching the site, and we had ‘carte blanche’ with regard to models, sets and, most importantly, high-tech equipment—Apple computers, monitors, CD burners, etc.”

This project allowed Dubler to turn out images at a faster rate than he could have had he shot film. “My workflow was to shoot, edit, retouch and burn CDs to ship to Paris overnight for approval before we started work the next day,” he continues. “I did this for a year and a half straight. Did I get good? Yes, I did.”

The leaps in technology afford Dubler even greater creative opportunities. “With the 33 MP Leaf Aptus 75S back that I use, as well as the new Nikons—I’m very involved with Nikon and a great fan of its new technologies for the D3, D700 and the new D3X—film is irrelevant,” states Dubler.

I am into production value. When you look at my pictures, you know this guy spent a great deal of money, says Dubler.

As an image-maker, Dubler pays stern attention to detail. “I am into production value. When you look at my pictures, you know this guy spent a great deal of money,” says Dubler. “That’s what separates me from many other photographers. Many years ago, decades actually, I was thinking about the ways that I could separate myself from other photographers and the competition. And I decided that production value would do just that: really, really good models; really good stylists and makeup artists.”


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