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Sunday, 22 September 2013


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Salgado's work is exhibited in Paris as of this week, so I'll get to make my own opinion about it. I'm quite sure I will enjoy it regardless of the tools used (or not used!).

> http://www.mep-fr.org/evenement/sebastiao-salgado-2/

I read a while back that he used the Leica R6.2 exclusively, but just recently read an article (may have been on Petapixel), that said he finally converted to digital because he can't drag the film around anymore to all these remote locations (multiple hundreds of rolls), with the airport scanners in all these back-water areas, turned up to "fry"....so there you go: no one knows!

I saw the Genesis exhibition in London and was pleased to notice as I left that he used Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, which is a paper I am fond of.

(See this: http://www.ilford.com/en/about-us/events/genesis-exhibition-lausanne-and-paris/)

Here's the Salgado Digital article from Petapixel:



It would be wonderful if TOP could interview him. Maybe one of your contributors could set you up.

I have several friends that are shooting 4x5 to 8x10 film only to scan the negatives. From there they print a negative onto overhead projector film at larger sizes in order to finally create a platinum print that's 11x14 to 17x22. The results look great but platinum was expensive years ago when I looked into it, I can't imagine what it runs now. Or maybe I can and that's why people keep trying to steal my catalytic converter. Anyway, I have no doubt that the internegative in the hands of a pro will look amazing.

I was impressed with your self awareness and revelation that you were reporting rumor and strongly believed inaccuracies. This is the kind of analysis that makes for mature writers and commentators. Congrats on your insights!

My company ran a trip for Salgado and his assistant in 2006/7 in Sudan and he was a real gentleman. He invited me to his studio whenever I was in Paris and finally a few years later I got the chance. We spent the afternoon together and it was one of the highlights of my career.

Back during the Sudan trip he was still carrying hundreds of rolls of film. By the time I saw him in Paris, he had converted to digital and installed the negative printing method he uses now. He was using a Canon 1Ds series with several of the fixed 2.8 aperture zooms (mostly the 24-70 I believe).

A thoughtful, intelligent photographer with a vision.

Paul Butzi's comment is one of the most sane ones about photography I have seen in a long time!

I live in brazil. recent interviews in the local press he stated Leica was his camera, although he acknowleged Leica has been limited in the digital world.


I sent a link to this post to a musician friend of mine who recently has gotten very into photography, and film photography at that. This is his *edited* reply:

Reminds me of people going apesh*t over Miles/Lee Morgan/Freddie Hubbard/etc's equipment. Those cats didn't give a sh*t about equipment, and plus as drug addicts they were constantly pawning their sh*t and buying/borrowing cheap sh*t to play on (Bird famously played a concert on a plastic toy sax and sounded amazing). Equipment would change every few months, etc. And if they got famous enough to get an endorsement, sure they'd endorse it, but then they'd play on other sh*t anyways. The real awesome people don't care about equipment...

The one thing I'd add to Paul Butzi's comment (as I've already said in the previous Salgado post) is the two ends of the photographic workflow play a big part in Salgado's "look".

The front end where Salgado chooses the lighting, the subject and the composition to match his style of reflective highlights against very dark ground whether it's sweat on black skin or oil on workers clothes. I'm sure he sees the final image when he takes the shot but that wouldn't be as clear in the image that he's taken as it is in the final print.

In the back end of the workflow the darkroom printer plays a role in dodging and burning the highlights and shadows and so enhancing the image to get the look.

But without the first part going on in Salgado's mind when he found the photo that "Salgado style" is not going to be there regardless of the similarity of equipment used.

The only thing I ever want to know about a photographer's *tools* is focal length. Which, sure, I can approximate pretty well just by looking at a picture most of the time. But I think that, if I like a photographer's work, it is useful to know that they run around with a 28 and a 90, or a 35 and a 21, or whatever. Gives me a reference point.

Technique, especially post production technique, on the other hand, is something I'm always interested in, because it is where I'm least certain of my own ways.

I wonder how others feel...

I don't know any photographer who uses exclusively only one camera. As far as it matters, based on what was said around the Genesis exhibition in London, I think it is quite safe to say that he started with a borrowed Pentax SLR, then used Leica M and R6 in the early part of his career and for Genesis he started with a Pentax 645 for its better quality but then moved to digital and seemed to finish the project by using Canon 1Ds. All that 4x5 bw film printing and scanning is part of the process to get the 645 film and Canon digital images to look the 'same'. I think in the next project, if one still comes, he will forego all that additional complexity and just use direct digital.

The tools must be reliable, but what is more important is the eye of the photographer and the quality of the process, both wet or digital printing. Each step is important.

Thank goodness I've finally gotten to the point where the photos I make look like my photos, no matter which camera I use.

I imagine it's the same for Salgado. His images are going to be distinctively his because of how he sees, and how he interprets that into a digital file, or a print.

A sense of authorship is what we should all strive for. Yes, in the early stages it's good to try on some techniques for size, but in the end, you have to find your own way. And when that happens, gear and technique take a back seat to vision.

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