Friday, June 8, 2007
Jody Dole - Everything Old Is New Again
Jody Dole strikes a creative balance between using any tool and technique—old and new—to help him get the shot
Although he's obviously tech-savvy, Dole resists the idea that technology has made him better. He prefers new ideas to new tools. He sees technology as just a different hammer or chisel. After all, he contends, would anyone imply that Picasso was successful because of his tools? “We all know it ain't the paint,” he says. “I could shoot the same picture with a pinhole in a shoebox that I could shoot with any camera that you could put in my hand.”
Dole does acknowledge how the computer can make the process more efficient. While photographing the Gelston House, an 18th-century inn near his home in the Connecticut River Valley, for example, Dole achieved the same final result that he could have with film, but the computer allowed him to streamline the process.
“Digital photography helped tremendously because I only had to backlight two or three of the windows,” he says. “The windows are warm and glowing and look really cool. But we didn't want to light every window because we would have had to go out and buy 30 quartz lights. So I just lit two or three windows and cloned them in Photoshop; it was perfect.”
His image of a dozen insects stemmed from his ability to do things in the computer that he simply couldn't do in the camera. The client wanted an insect for the ad, “but they couldn't find a bug that was friendly,” he explains. “The bug in the top-right corner is a combination of a bunch of them. That bug has got a green beetle body with different “antlers,” different head, different legs. We built a bug that didn't exist.”
That amount of digital assembly is the anomaly in Dole's portfolio, although it's a book in which amazing arrangements and assemblages abound. Most stem from a combination of old and new tools together. They rely principally on the photographer's creativity, as well as a few decidedly un-technological devices.
“There's a million dollars' worth of jewelry in that picture,” Dole explains of a striking stack of rings that illustrates his fondness for balance. “And I put it together with a hot glue gun. And let me tell you, that editor wasn't happy about that. But you know what? They came to me saying, ‘You only have two hours with this stuff because it's from five different jewelers and they all have to have it back in the vault by 4 o'clock.' And they were supposed to get there at 10:00, and they didn't show up until 2:30. Once again, get the hot glue gun out.”
With the newest and best technology at his fingertips, Jody Dole strikes his own balance between any and all techniques; between small studio subjects and vast outdoor vistas; between commercial success and personal happiness. For someone so technologically ahead of the curve, he now seems content to make his own photos in his own way.
“I'd imagine that the next generation of technology is going to be much more superior to where we are today,” he says. “But frankly, where we are today is very, very suitable for me.”
To see more of Jody Dole's photography, visit www.jodydole.com.
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