I interviewed Greg Gorman at his home in Hollywood by phone this last Sunday, May 15th, 2005. In particular, we talked about the new Epson Stylus Pro 4800 printer and the new UltraChrome K3 inks.
Greg is a good friend who over the years has been an avid and enthusiastic adopter of all things digital. In addition to photography, we share a certain, well, shall we say, “zest” for great wine and great food. But we also share a real passion for photography – B&W photography.
Greg was kind enough to go through with the interview even though he had just learned of the untimely death of a good friend, Ben Alexander (see the dedication to Ben at the end of the article).
Rather than try to transcribe the interview, I thought it would be useful to post it in a form you could listen to over the net. The interview runs 21 minutes and 15 seconds. You will need QuickTime loaded to listen. The total audio file is just under 19MBs but should start streaming very quickly (unless we get unusual traffic).
Click here to listen to the interview
(19.71MB QuickTime audio .mov file)
We started off talking about a recent job that he shot late last year in New York for a Japanese ad agency of actor Richard Gere. The original shot was done on a Canon EOS 1Ds MII camera and processed in a beta version of Photoshop CS2 and Camera Raw 3.0.
Greg also was testing the newly announced Epson Stylus Pro 4800 and the UltraChrome K3 inks. Greg was both surprised and very pleased that the B&W capabilities of the printer were meeting his expectations-so much so that he was surprised to learn that the Warm Color Tone of the Advanced B&W mode was just about perfect. He was also surprised that he could take a standard prepared color file and print it directly to B&W and achieve the tone and color that he demands of his B&W work.
He shouldn’t have been surprised since it was Greg along with Mark Radogna, group product manager, professional graphics, Epson America (the Mark mentioned in the interview) that had met with engineers from the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation and discussed the topic of digital B&W printing at length–over a lot of sake.
Another participant in the efforts to get Epson to “go B&W” was Dan (Dano) Steinhardt who is the director of the Epson Stylus Pro program that has been so successful in teaming up top photographers with Epson to drive the photographic initiative within Epson.
The images of Richard Gere were printed on an advance model of the 4800 printer on 13×19 Epson Velvet Fine Art paper (one of Greg’s favorite fine art papers). The prints were scanned on an Epson Perfection 4990 scanner without excessive correction to “fairly represent” both the color and dynamic range of the final prints. I say fairly represent because looking at a print and viewing the scan on the web is not a precise process.
So, to hear the whole story, you really need to listen to the interview. But be warned, if you do, you’ll end up with “want bumps” for the new 4800 printer. What are want bumps? Those are the unfortunate result of having a really strong desire for something that you simply must have!
About Greg Gorman
(Excerpted from a commentary by Peter Weiermair, Director, The Rupertinum, Salzburg, Austria)
“Greg Gorman was born in Kansas in 1949. The photographer Greg Gorman now works at the heart of America’s, and the world’s media scene: Los Angeles.
Gorman is part of the classical tradition. During the 1970’s and 80’s, he concentrated heavily on details of facial features like eyes, etc. In recent years Gorman has attained the consummate mastery of light and lighting which also distinguishes the studio photography of Horst P. Horst, G. Hurrell, and George Platt Lynes. In Gorman’s studio portraits, the play of light lends faces and bodies to ethereal quality as if they glowed from within. His work looks back on a long tradition which has evolved from early 20th century fashion and portrait photography.
His photographs have the quality, a mark of all great portrait photograph, of allowing the subject to unfold his or her own personality in front of the lens. We should always bear in mind that photography began as alchemy, a magical process. Particularly in the field of portrait photography, where the here and now is caught and transfixed, it has retained that magical quality. Most of Gorman’s subjects are people in the public eye, actors, artists and architects, people in the public at large. We experience them only in films and in the icons of photographic illustration. They and their bodies are figments of our imagination in a modern mythology. Photography is the projection of a figure, evoked, it is true, by reality yet, like all photographs, these are, in reality, fiction.” –Peter Weiermair
Greg wishes to honor his lost friend Ben Alexander. Ben (Little Ben to his friends) was a model and actively involved with digital photography and music. He made a mark working as an assistant to director Gus Van Sant during the making of Good Will Hunting released in 1997.
Ben also had the unusual gift of bringing widely divergent groups of people from all walks of life together in friendship. He will be dearly missed by his many friends.
We’ll miss you Ben. . .
To celebrate Ben’s life and mark his passing, Greg Gorman and friend Joshua Smith will be hosting a series of receptions in Ben’s honor in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
For more information only regarding the services, please contact Greg Gorman at: email@example.com or Joshua Smith at: firstname.lastname@example.org.