Thursday, May 31, 2007
Vincent Laforet - Still A Photographer
Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Vincent Laforet takes advantage of anything he can to streamline his workflow and his access to a formidable archive
Overview Of Technology
Despite the great investment in equipment and time setting up his studio and learning how to use it, Laforet's pleasure isn't found by being surrounded by expensive toys. "The reason I'm really happy is because I can spend less time in front of the computer and more time traveling with my archive and submitting proofs to my clients," he says. "These days, it's getting harder and harder to make money editorially, and what I'm finding is that you need to become a full-service shop and provide clients with color-calibrated digital proofs. I can give 16x20 prints to my clients that I make here in my studio and it's a hell of a presentation to hand them. I can also produce smaller files, say 9x14, and send a CD of them that costs me next to nothing to produce. If I really want to impress them, I'll use expensive paper. I can charge them for that knowing that the quality is much higher and that it looks better than on screen. They will take me more seriously, and I'll also have a matched print so the color department knows what I'd like the image to look like as opposed to trying to guess. For me, that's pretty priceless. I can do everything here, quickly and accurately."The golden rule among all photographers is never to throw away anything, even if you hate the image. Says Laforet, "You never ever know. It costs you less to keep it. That's how I feel about the server."
Laforet's new state-of-the-art studio has been up and running for well over six months. "I've set up my ideal office, which is two machines that are connected to an Xsan, with my library on the same server, and I have a fiber channel network for fast speed. I have high-speed Internet, in and out. I can access it here as well as provide access for my clients, and I can outflow, so it's the best of all worlds for me."
Laforet uses an application called Daylight to keep track of all of his projects. "It runs off the server and helps me organize all of my projects, contacts and tasks so I can delegate them to my assistant or my wife or my studio manager. So among my Quad towers, laptops and server, I know what's going on in my business."
The Megapixel Paradox
Does Laforet have aspirations for bigger, faster storage and higherresolution cameras? "I have the feeling that no matter how fast storage gets, and no matter how cheap per megabyte or gigabyte it gets, the file will continue to grow. And that's because it all comes down to the megapixel."
Laforet is of the opinion that the technology of today provides more than enough resolution and data than most photographers need. "My view is that the Canon EOS-1DS Mark II, at 11 megapixels—unless I'm doing fine-art work—provides more than enough resolution. In fact, my wedding and photojournalism colleagues refuse to go to the DS because it's already too big for them in terms of the file size."
Adds Laforet, "If you work with film, you know what a 35mm or a 2¼ or a 4x5 negative will yield in terms of resolution, tone, dynamic range and print size. At a certain point, the megapixel values that high-end Canon systems or those like the Hasselblad H3, with a 39-megapixel sensor, yield are overwhelming. The files themselves are enormous and eat up a lot of storage and put the speediest processor chips through their paces. One would think, enough's enough. You've already surpassed the resolution of film. Where do you want to go with it now?"
Page 4 of 5