Friday, September 28, 2007
Parish Kohanim - Split Personality
Parish Kohanim embraces a variety of genres as he captivates and ensnares his viewers. His images are bold, dramatic, vibrant and whimsical—and he always delivers the goods.
Kohanim's passion shows in all of his work, whether it's a portrait or still life, an antique non-silver process or a digital print. His passion for beauty and for experimentation has led him throughout his career to explore different approaches—like platinum printing and Polaroid transfers—and in recent years this has led to his conversion to digital. Although he appreciated the beauty of a finished platinum print (as in his ballet dancer image, Balance), the methodical, time-intensive process left something to be desired. When he finally decided to give digital a chance, it led to a relationship that has kept him out of the darkroom for the better part of a decade. Kohanim has never looked back and has never been happier with his tools.
“I resisted it,” Kohanim says of the digital revolution. “I'd say probably eight or nine years I've been shooting digitally almost exclusively, and prior to that I just really resisted it because I didn't think the technology was there. I shot film and I scanned film and I was willing to go through that extra step, but now the digital cameras are so perfect and so convenient.”
Photographers who strive for perfection won't settle for convenience if it means cut-rate quality. Kohanim's “Eureka moment” with digital came when he was using the Canon EOS 30D for a client with a tight deadline.
“I had a really rushed assignment,” he recalls. “The retouched files were due the next day and we had a lot of shots, and I said, ‘Man, it doesn't make sense [to shoot film].' So I shot it digitally and I was astounded, and that was years ago and it was still good. If you lit it well, it could look like 21⁄4 or 4x5. And that was the pivoting point; it really opened my mind and my eyes, and I said, ‘Well, these cameras are getting there.' I'm not a tool freak, but if you have good tools, you have to produce good pictures; otherwise, it's your fault. It makes the job a lot easier so you can focus on what you really want to say in your photograph rather than battling with all these technical things. I want a nice, smooth workflow so I can concentrate on what I'm doing a little bit better.”
Adds Kohanim, “It's probably five years since I did my last print in the darkroom. I don't miss the fumes, I don't miss the toner smells. It probably took years off my life. We have so much at our disposal now; we can get some prints now that I dare to say are almost as good as platinum prints and better.”
As a Canon Explorer of Light, Kohanim was approached by the company's top technicians with printers in hand, requesting his input to make their products better. Happy to oblige, he soon switched to using Canon printers in his studio for gallery prints, only sending out files for extra-large prints as needed. More than just becoming a fan of digital printing, though, he soon found he favored the change technology brought to his shooting as well.
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