Today a guestblogger on the blog, and for today it’s photographer Iden Ford, and I think you’re gonna love his views.
Toronto, Canada, December 6, 2012.
People often ask me who my influences are in Photography, expecting me to list the names of photographers who were around 30 – 50 years ago, like Irving Penn and Mapplethorpe and Leibowitz, and yes they were amazing in their day, Annie is still going strong and making great photos and all are important in the artistic growth of our profession, but the truth is that I am personally more inspired by the current crop of greats. Is this sacrilegious? We all came from those who preceded us in our chosen field but I also get more from watching the old noir films from the 40’s. Lots of shadows and black and white. Aha…Frank’s voice is echoing in my brain….”don’t be afraid of shadows.” Truth is I love shadows….more on this later.
There are three photographers who inspire me to try and take photos that are up to their standard and who have influenced me more than any other photographers both past and present. In no particular order they are Joe Mcnally, Drew Gardner, and the great Dutch photographer Frank Doorhof.. If the time comes where I can be as masterful and creative as these three photographers, I will be a happy guy…
So, as you can imagine, it was a great thrill for me to get a note from Frank Doorhof, this past summer, when he asked me if I would be a guest blogger on his blog.
Me? Little old me? . Seriously, I was thrilled to be invited. The trouble is that I am having the busiest year of my photography career. Thank goodness! So finally I had a chance to sit down and write my take on things… The investment, the time, the wishing and hoping, etc. is all finally paying off.
I went on an 8 year odyssey of trying to get accepted into the Cinematographers Guild for Stills photography on films and television shows in Candada. Why the hell would I want to do that??? My first university teacher warned me…. TOO MANY BOSSES…..How true that is. As a stills photographer you shoot the action in a sound blimp, the big box you put the camera in to muffle the sound of the shutter so that the sound man with the boom does not hear “click, click, click” etc. I did it… I got in…and I get to shoot on movie sets. It’s cool….however….. I do get bossed around and told to get out of the way sometimes, but generally the crews are helpful and the camera department knows I am there for a reason…publicity for the film. Stills are used in promotion. You can see a few of them on my website, and this past Summer in Sudbury, Ontario I got to shoot my second Oscar Award winner, Richard Dreyfuss, in a film entitled Cas and Dylan, which will be out next year and a couple of years ago I got to shoot Cuba Gooding in a film shot here in Canada with Christian Slater. So… two Oscar winners… very cool.
The truth is I don’t have all my eggs in that basket, I shoot dance and corporate photos too as the movie business is unpredictable and you can be busy for a couple of months here in Canada and then quiet for the next six months so alas, I am not one to sit around….nooooo thank you. I love to shoot and work ….. and often.
My dance photography is particularly about Belly Dancers, recently having shot a job with the famous Reda Troupe from Egypt.
The Belly Dance world has been kind to me and I have shot the first magazine cover of my career for Shimmy…27 people in one portrait….that was an interesting challenge as for me it is all about understanding the problem of how to light the subject and articulate either their idea for a particular shoot or my idea so we have a meeting of the minds so to speak. I always do what the client asks me first…then off I go onto my vision. For the magazine cover I looked at old Busby Berkely films to see how he shot on film the legion of dancers that people loved to see back in the 30’s and 40’s. Hence the set up of the magazine shot in a portrait….
My current budget has me shooting with a Nikon D4, and D800e, as well as Elinchcrom Lighting and various modifiers from strip boxes to large and small reflectors with grids as well as a the new Macintosh Retina display Mac Book Pro.
I know both Frank and Drew shoot with MF. Who wouldn’t want to own one of these systems??? My interest would be a full frame MF Phase One with a 60 mp back and Leaf Shutter lenses. Being able to shoot wide open and take the ambient way down through the faster shutter speeds these lenses offer… how thrilling. These systems cost $$$$ so alas it is a long term goal.
The great advantage with digital is shooting tethered, I never do a job anymore without being tethered as I need the client to feel we are getting what it is they want and also that any changes or influences I bring to the shoot can be seen by the client immediately.
It’s always way better for them to see your work while you are creating it,, then there are no issues later and it actually takes a lot of pressure off so you, the photographer, can concentrate in the main goal of your shoot…..your subject.
Without that relationship, your lost imo. The subject is key for me always as we need to be in sync as best as we can.
Drama and action in dance photography is a big one for me. A dancer is telling a story with movement just as an actor is telling a story with words and action.
Having grown up in NYC, I used to watch a lot of black and white tv as I mentioned before, I am still quite enamoured with the shadows and light of noir photography and film. I am lucky to count Frank as one of my main influences when it comes to lighting. He talks about not being afraid of shadows. The reality for me is that the real mystery lies in the shadows. We are fascinated with what lies in the shadows.
My wife is mystery author Maureen Jennings, she writes the Murdoch Mysteries books from which the tv series was made. Now in its 6th season, we have sold the series around the world into 100 countries. Mystery writers are all about the shadows in their story. You keep guessing until the culprit is found and we see the light of day at the end of the story.
My journey in photography gets more exciting every year. I am not shy to try out new techniques and reach for new challenges. I constantly look at the way light works and interacts with people and places. I feel I am location scouting all the time.
I hope your photography brings you great satisfaction and that your dreams will come true someday soon.
Thanks for listening!
Iden Ford is based in Toronto, specializing in portrait photography, dance photography, plus set stills for the film and television industry. He is a member of the International Cinematographers Guild of North America Local 667 (I.A.T.S.E 667) now a Canadian citizen, was born in NYC and grew up in the world of art, theatre, film and television.
His work has been featured on IMDB, various television websites in Canada, The Toronto Star, The National Post, The Globe and Mail Photoshop User Magazine and Light It Magazine.
Thanks to his Mom and Dad, who both enjoyed a lifetime dedicated to their chosen professions of dance, film and television which, combined with his passion for the arts, Iden has been able to manifest his own creative expression through photography.