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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lois Greenfield - State Of Grace

Combining photography and dance, Lois Greenfield reveals the elusive beauty of movement

A recent adopter of digital, Greenfield has enjoyed viewing those captured moments immediately after photographing them using a Sinarback 23 and a Hasselblad 500cm. Although she had some trepidation about the technology, she readily acknowledges the benefits of a new way of shooting.

“I was very reluctant to get involved with digital technology because everyone has always assumed that my images were digitally manipulated, which they are not,” says Greenfield. “But digital ‘capture' is different from digital ‘manipulation,' and since everyone scans everything anyway, purity isn't protected by shooting film.

“Nothing can compete with the excitement of the photo coming up on the computer screen. For me, it's a much better indicator of what's happening. It's the small details that make the difference in an image and, for me, that's crucial.”

The use of digital technology has made a significant difference in Greenfield's commercial work, where the immediate access of the photographs is a boon to her clients.

“Commercial clients love to fit the images right into their layout and walk out of the studio with virtually set ads,” she says. For Greenfield, the image, when displayed on her computer screen, eliminates any doubts of whether she has captured the fine and all-important details of a subject.

“If I'm photographing hosiery, for example, there would be no way to see if I captured the texture of the weave on a Polaroid,” she says. “Shooting digitally prevents unhappy surprises later; you see exactly what you shot.”

Although Greenfield often intends to use the digital system as a “Polaroid,” she sometimes finds herself shooting an entire session digitally. She worries that the instant display of the images on a monitor can be problematic, however.

Says Greenfield, “I find that when shooting digital, the focus turns to the monitor rather than the movement itself. The dancers want to immediately look at the monitor and I believe that they lose a bit of their energy, their concentration. It's very important that the focus not be misplaced.”

This hasn't kept Greenfield from exploring the different palette that digital photography provides her work. She has been using her digital equipment in a series of images exploring the human body.

“I've been concentrating on closer looks at the body, either by zeroing in on preexisting shots or culling from fragments of contorted shapes or creating new enigmatic configurations,” she says.

The resulting nude studies explore new qualities of tonality, which are a result of the differences in the digital file compared to film, especially when working with alternative light sources.


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