Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Douglas Kirkland: From 8x10 To Digital And Back
In an illustrious career that has spanned more than four decades, Douglas Kirkland has always embraced new technology. So why is he using an 8x10 view camera and film for some of his current work?
Christiana Capotondi at Cinecittà Rome.
Kirkland: Neutral density to keep minimal depth of field and a Tiffen Pro-Mist 1/2 when I want to enhance the mystical effect of that shallow depth of field. I need the ND filters because the top shutter speed with the large lens for the 8x10 is either 1/50th or 1/150th. I shoot almost all the portraits wide open, so I use the filters to reduce the amount of light coming into the camera. I have four lenses for the camera, but mainly use two, most often the Kodak 12-inch Ektar ƒ/4.5 lens and the 8½-inch Ektar ƒ/6.3 lens. Sometimes I’ll go further than wide open by removing part of the front lens element, which creates an even more misty feeling around the edges. It’s an old trick shown to me by the great photographer Arthur Rothstein.
DPP: What do you do for Polaroids when working with the 8x10?
Kirkland: My Polaroids are with the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III. I use the digital camera to evaluate the scene, then mount the 8x10 and shoot the TRI-X.
DPP: How do you bring 8x10-inch images into your digital workflow?
DPP: You’ve worked with so many stars over the years, most recently the who’s who of Italian cinema. What’s your secret for a successful shoot with all the egos involved?
Kirkland: There’s only one star. It’s not the photographer; it’s the person in front of the lens. A photographer should never get so into their own act that they think they’re more important than their subject. That’s rule one. You’ll get back from people so much more when you give them their time in the spotlight.
To see more of Douglas Kirkland’s photography, visit his website at www.douglaskirkland.com.
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