Join Douglas Kirkland for an in-depth discussion in this video Welcome, part of Douglas Kirkland on Photography: Shooting with a Medium-Format Camera.
Hi! My name is Douglas Kirkland. Welcome to On Photography. Today I'd like to show you some of my portrait work done with medium format film. Through the past 20 years, I've photographed individuals like this for Eastman Kodak for their On Film series. These are cinematographers and directors and others in the industry. "Why film?" you might say. Well, 6x7 film with a Mamiya RZ-- it's all been done that way--has a great clarity to it and definition, and many people feel that the tonal range and everything that we see with film has other possibilities.
And as I've photographed this series, 250 ads so far in all, people have gotten to really look forward to seeing what will be next, because we try to get variation in everything. Most of these are done in our studio in Los Angeles, but we also do go on location. This is a wonderful French cinematographer, Philippe Rousselot, photographed in Poland in a hotel room, because you make the studio; you make the event happen wherever you are and they are, and that's what the joy of it is. Or here again, another cinematographer photographed outside.
Each picture, each ad, each feel has to have its own special character. And here's my friend Owen Roizman, award-winning cinematographer. I'd like to take you with me today as we go into the studio and do his ad with a medium format camera.
This installment follows Douglas as he creates a portrait for Kodak's On Film series, which features portraits of directors, cinematographers, and other major players in the film industry. Douglas has shot nearly 250 portraits for this series over the past 20 years.
The course begins with a discussion of the unique qualities of film—its clarity, definition, and tonal range—and of film's enduring importance in today's digital world. Next, Douglas tours the Mamiya RZ67 medium-format camera, demonstrating its components and comparing its format to 35mm film. He then demonstrates a variety of lighting, posing, and styling techniques while photographing Owen Roizman, an award-winning cinematographer, in the Kirkland studio in Los Angeles, California.
The course concludes with a critique of the resulting photographs. Douglas also shows how he resized and cropped the image to fit a print advertisement.