Friday, June 8, 2007
Douglas Dubler - Inspiration, Execution, Observation
Douglas Dubler is the kind of pro who likes to have complete control over his work. He operates in an environment of tight schedules and highly demanding results.
Each of the four images was captured using a Mamiya RZ 67 Pro II fitted with Mamiya's 210mm APO, a lens Dubler describes as the cream of the crop for fashion and beauty imaging. Knowing the level of hands-on scrutiny these prints were going to receive, along with the need to make very large prints for the ad campaign, the consensus was to go with film capture (Fujifilm Astia 100) as opposed to single-shot digital capture. This would ensure extreme clarity and sharpness up to and beyond 17x22-inches. After editing the take, the finalists were sent off for high-resolution drum scans.
Dubler says, “Good work is all about impact, and that's why I enjoy shooting for technology companies. They want the ‘image' and will most always do what it takes to get it.” Dubler's feeling is that you know a client takes you seriously when they don't balk at the dollar signs.
Ise White, a longtime Dubler creative partner, hooked up with Dubler early on in the process. About a week before the planned shoot day, all involved gathered together for a creative pow-wow and outlined the rhythm of the day. Among the items covered were White's concepts for the backgrounds and model choices, and Dubler's color scheme preferences. All involved had an opportunity to share their thoughts and bounce around ideas concerning the project.
For reasons logistical, financial and otherwise, all four shots needed to be produced in one day. The seasons were divided between two hair/makeup/costume teams, which staged each of the shots as Dubler worked through the day. Dubler tends to work with familiar faces, and seasoned teamwork is a precious commodity, especially when the clock is ticking. Being able to respond creatively in a fast-paced environment is the order of the day in the world of fashion and beauty, and for this reason, Dubler prefers to stick with longtime team players. The short timeline also was possible because Dubler's studio is heavily digital. Any enhancements of the film images were retouchable in postproduction in Photoshop. Dubler knew he'd deliver a perfect job.
Sylvia Pichler, another Dubler regular, was in charge of makeup for two of the four seasons. “Douglas pretty much involved me right after he had decided on the concept for the shoot. Because we had only one day to complete the project, it was necessary to be precise in our strategies.”
The order of shooting the four separate photographs was dictated in part by the estimated time it would take to put each of the shots together. After running the numbers, it was decided to have Summer step up to bat first, followed by Winter, Spring and Fall.
As Pichler notes, realities of life always have a way of showing up when you least need them. “I was particularly looking forward to doing Winter, but it involved quite a bit of special effects—ice and snow on the face, eyelashes, body and hair, etc.—as well as airbrushing iridescent makeup on her body and face. We knew that season was going to take longer to get camera-ready than our Summer—which, although still quite involved, didn't require as much time.”
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