DPP Home Profiles Parish Kohanim - Split Personality

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.

“The transition between film and digital was pretty amazing,” says Kohanim. “We used to shoot Polaroid and it saw only a fraction of what the film saw—a different contrast, a different tonal range. What could be greater than not looking at that little Polaroid? You can see it on a 30-inch monitor and instantly you can see something out of place or the light is not right, and you can just tweak it. It's like a dream come true.

“There are so many advantages,” he continues. “I'm shooting a lot more in available low-light situations that I never tried with film because I didn't like a lot of grain. I'd always shoot ISO 100 or 400 films and nothing beyond. But now you can push it to 800 or 1000, and you can get some of the noise out of your shot, but at least you have a shot that you'd have never ever tried before. Digital technology has opened my eyes and opened the possibility to do that. With film, I would have been more reluctant.”

Though he appreciates most of the changes technology has brought to his studio, Kohanim still finds some shortcomings in the digital process, like the time-consuming tasks of digital asset management and postproduction manipulation.

“It keeps getting better, but we're still not in an ideal situation,” he says. “When you shoot a bunch and you have to do all this file management, there's still a lot of work behind the scenes. A lot of clients don't see it, and a lot of photographers foolishly give it away because they don't charge for that time, for editing and image processing. It's insane to just give it away. We don't have anything else to sell except our time. The computer technology has become so infinitely better and faster, but we still have to spend the time to do it right. We have to craft it the way we see it and the way it should be done.”

Doing it right for Kohanim means relying on his old-school approach to simplicity and perfection in lighting and composition, counting on an ideal in-camera image-making for the finest finished print on the wall. He's happy to use all of the tools at hand to achieve the utmost quality, but Kohanim doesn't want to let the technology make him lazy and allow him to cut corners during a shoot.

“A lot of people rely on Photoshop to save their images,” says Kohanim. “I'm still from the old school; I go and light it as much as I can. I often work with a lot of these young art directors who say, ‘Oh, don't worry about it. We'll fix it in Photoshop.' At first, I had a hard time with it because I'm from the old school, and everything had to be perfect because a lot of times they didn't have the time or the money to retouch.


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