Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Classic Studio Visit with Mel Digiacomo

One of the interesting parts of the rich history of photography is that we are all living the transition.  Whether we want to claim it over and done is a debate for another day.  All of us know photographers who grew up shooting film and most of us know people young enough to have never shot film. I feel that the knowledge base of having shot film - chrome film - has been a critical part of understanding light.  Once you have shot thousands of slides and know the limits of an incorrect exposure and how to read light - you just can't replace that with the instantaneous feel of digital.  I love the feeling of opening a new box of slides and popping them on the light box with a good loupe.  Admittedly that is now a rare occurrence and part of me wishes I didn't have piles and piles of slides and negs to sort through and decide when to throw out.  I mean what really can I do with thousands of slides??  If I was born 20 years later I'd have a mostly digital archive and it would be easy to sort and view the history of my life.  That can't happen now.  It takes work - but it does have its rewards.  There is nothing like going into the attic and stumbling on a box of old prints from high school or earlier.  Reliving those moments albeit briefly is a great experience.

This double exposure of the moon over NYC was done with film.  I didn't know I'd get it right - but I had a good base to work off of.

Set up in Utah with film in 1992.
Back when film was king, one of the best two weeks of work were the upcoming ones at the US Open.  This event was jammed with photographers from all over the world shooting chrome film all day long through motor drives.  We had a ton of fun and I met some great people.  One of them was Mel DiGiacomo.  A great photographer and classy character.  He's seen it all and has the archive to prove it.  So when I popped by his studio for a visit - time transformed back to the good ole days for a bit.

 Some of the hundreds of Mel shots he's sent me over the years!

We all know this how real pros clean their filthy lenses before a quick portrait in the the pop up studio.
When guests pop in you pick up a box of inkjet paper and set it on a garbage can as the table.
I love the role organization plays in the desktop of both the analog and digital spaces.

When you visit with a classic photog you are always going to see the work of others.  Here is a great spot for a Jay Maisel print.
Organization is key to any business - remember that kids!

Not to be outdone - in the form of a joke - a quick interaction with most interesting man in the world with the omnipresent iphone.
I love seeing the tattered gear of someone who uses the equipment hard.
How many people have literally seen decades at an event?  These are ID's from the US Open over the years.  I first met Mel at the Open in 1993. 

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One of the great magazines of our generation for sports where Mel had countless images published along with many other now famous film shooters.

And of course no film shooter studio space is complete without a look into the archive!  This is one area of the room where contact sheets and negatives are stored in myriad boxes or custom organization.  You really can't beat the look and smell of something like this.  It smells like.....analog.

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A Quick Look at the 1972 Hasselblad 500C/M

Just a few snaps of the awesome and durable 500C/M.