DPP Home Profiles Lauren Greenfield - The Most Personal Is The Most Universal

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lauren Greenfield - The Most Personal Is The Most Universal

One of The VII Agency's founding photographers, Lauren Greenfield's images take us through the looking glass and delve into complex social issues

“I was excited by the ability to shoot in varied lighting situations,” she says. “Low light, marginal light, fluorescent—instances that would have been difficult with film were no problem.”

Despite her enthusiasm for the digital benefits, Greenfield wasn't satisfied with the file size. For many professionals, an 8-megapixel camera is ample, but Greenfield needed more versatility.

“Pictures have a long life for me,” she explains. “I come back to images down the road and sometimes I change the way I want to present them. I often like to make very big images.”

When the full-frame, 17-megapixel Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II was introduced, Greenfield had the digital camera she wanted. Since late 2004, she has been using that camera for the majority of her work.

“I still have a refrigerator full of film, but I'm finding it harder and harder to justify using it,” says Greenfield. “I've always liked the quality of medium-format film, but I need the spontaneity of 35mm. The [EOS-1] Ds Mark II gives me medium-format quality in a 35mm package.”

Greenfield's digital timeline makes it clear that she isn't the first to jump on a new bandwagon. “I'm not an early adopter, but I'm not the last one either,” she says.

The work is of paramount importance to her so she makes a move to new gear only when it won't adversely affect her ability to get the kind of imagery that she demands. Although it's the newest and most advanced camera Canon makes, Greenfield characterizes the EOS-1Ds Mark II as being the most film-like.

Says Greenfield, “With this camera, the technical concerns have disappeared for me. It's just shooting.”

Even as she has embraced digital for almost all of her shooting, one area of digital imagery that she hasn't jumped into is heavy-duty Photoshop and postproduction work.

“I have an assistant do my Photoshop work,” she says. “I'm not into fixing photographs in post. I prefer to get it right in the field. In that way, I shoot digital the same as I used to shoot transparencies. What we do in post is just adjusting for minor digital differences [vis-à-vis film].”

That get-it-right-when-you're-shooting philosophy was implanted in Greenfield's consciousness when she was starting out as an intern at National Geographic, where getting it right as you shoot isn't just the right way, it's the only way.


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