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Interview with:

Don Giannatti [dongiannatti] 

Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
Yes. I have a site at www.dongiannatti.com/photography I also have other sites scattered around.
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
I have been shooting professionally for over 35 years. I started taking pictures for something to do while traveling around as a jazz musician. Later I became an AD for an agency and started shooting professionally a little after that. It was a very circuitous route.
What has been your education as a photographer?
Mostly self taught and through assisting. I also took a lot of workshops and mentoring series.
What is your favourite type of photography?
I like to photograph environments, still life and people.
What do you try to express through your photography?
Emotion. Interest. A kind of small moments approach. I want the viewer to not necessarily feel the hand of the photographer in the work.
How do you choose your subjects?
Most of the time they choose me. I am constantly being shown amazing subjects to be photographed. All I have to do is be aware that they are there. Staying involved and 'showing up' is what I try to do everyday.
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
It depends on the assignment, but the most important thing to do is to clear ones mind so that opportunities are revealed. Being overly prepared is as dangerous as being underprepared. If I have a brief, I make sure all the approaches I want to take are going to be technically feasible. The team is assembled and we go off to make a photograph.
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
Yes. About 50/50 these days.
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
Canon is what I shoot digitally for handheld. Nikon and Canon for 35mm film. Hasselblad, Mamiya and Bronica for medium format. Toyo for 4x5 and Deardorff for 8x10. I love all the cameras. I even shoot on an iPhone camera...
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
You're kidding. Seriously. No room here. Complete Canon Digital System / 6 lenses Complete Canon Film System / same 6 lenses Complete Hasselblad System / 4 lenses Complete Mamiya RB System / 6 lenses Complete Bronica System / 6 lenses Toyo 4x5 Rail Camera / 4 lenses Deardorff 8x10 Camera / 2 lenses Norman 2000 Pack system and 6 heads/2 packs Profoto Compact system - 4 monoblocs Dynalite system - 1 pack and 2 heads 8 Speedlights of differing brands 26 stands and booms 3 camera stands And about 9 pages of other stuff my accountant keeps close track of.
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
I use Photoshop exclusively. I own some plugins, but don't use them much at all. I create effects I want with custom settings.
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
Watermark. Tin Eye. Bigassbaseballbat.
Are you a good salesperson of your work? In what should you improve?
I love to market, and hate to sell. Marketing is a passion, sales is a drudgery. I suck at selling, but excel at marketing.
Which past masters of photography do you most admire?
Weston Adams Cunningham Strand Caponigro Elgort Lindbergh Watson Meisel Maisel Demarchelier Bresson
Are technology and digital retouching reducing the gap between professionals and amateurs?
Yes. Technologically and digitally speaking. Ideas, concept and creativity? Naww... just as tough now than before. But a hell of a lot easier to shoot cliche's and crap.
What is your team of habitual collaborators like?
MUA, Assistant, Stylists when necessary. I am kind of a loner.
With which other photographers do you normally team up with or do sessions with?
I do not team up with other photographers for anything other than drinking Coronas and Mexican food.
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
I have done this for a long time. I am technically proficient enough to do most anything I want to do or have been assigned to do. I work on the creativity full time. Yes, I do believe I am artistic, but that is really for the legacy folks to decide, not me. I just want to make photographs I think are cool.
What have you learned about the art of framing and composition?
That there are no rules. That the presentation of the subject within the frame is incredibly emotional.
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
Press the shutter button at the wrong time enough times and you will tend to learn when the best times are to do that. Of course I started with film, so screwups were expensive. Practicing perfect timing perfectly is the best way.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
When one wants to use either film or digital. I am arrogant, but not arrogant enough to make any sort of rules on when that choice is right or wrong.
Does photography have the recognition that it should have in contemporary art museums?
I think it is more and more. I have seen a lot of art photography in the last 10 years, so I do think it is on the rise.

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Don Giannatti

[dongiannatti] Don Giannatti
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