Rob Van Petten
What turns you on creatively?
It’s the process more than the image. The synergy of a good tight team and the excitement of making great pictures.
What turns you off creatively?
Creatives who don’t let me do my job. Also, house music.
What’s your dream photo assignment?
Shooting Paco Rabanne-inspired designs on good models in Frank Gehry architecture, with Eric Clapton making an appearance.
If you could have dinner with an artist from any era, who would it be?
Picasso. We could go to La Coppola in Paris. He was very prolific, and I’m inspired by that kind of obsession. He lived simply, playfully and passionately.
What’s your favorite photograph not taken by you?
Anything by Helmut Newton or Richard Avedon. I have a print of “Dovima with Elephants.” That photograph opened the door of fashion shooting for me.
What profession other than photographer would you like to attempt?
I’d like to have a bait shop on Block Island, be a Buddhist monk or be a renowned blues/jazz guitarist.
What’s your favorite camera feature?
Nikon NEF files. I can do so much with the NEF files in terms of being able to refine and correct after I shoot. I can be pretty sloppy sometimes when I shoot, and having the extraordinary versatility of the NEF file at my disposal is a huge benefit for me.
What’s your favorite Nikon product, and how does it help you create better pictures or help you compete as a professional photographer?
The Nikon D2XS with a WT-2A WiFi—instant, almost telepathic transmission of image to computer system. When I first got my hands on a D2XS, I knew that was the camera for me. The image quality with the D2XS is spectacular—the sharpness, edge detail, color range, image integrity, speed of response. It’s a race car. The WiFi transmitter was the next step—no download time. My crew and clients can see what I’m thinking about as I shoot, whether I’m in the studio or out on the beach. That’s magic. I can build on a concept much quicker and keep everyone on the same bus. It’s strong and precise.