Yesterday was the first meeting with my super cool Thesis advisor: James Porto.
A crisp smell of fresh paint and a breathtaking view of the Hudson River welcomed my arrival to James Porto’s fabulous studio. Its definitely something to look up to, and dream of having one day (hopefully in the near future!).
James Porto is one of the top commercial photographers in New York. He is so hot in the industry that he was recently hired for a big job with a VERY big budget. James took over 50,000 photographs in order to achieve 12 complex composites, plus a trip to Costa Rica was included! (so cool).
You can see some of these images at his web page here.
When I showed him my images, his critiques were very straightforward, sincere, and on the spot, I was “ooohhh yes, how didn’t I see that before?” Well 25 years of experience makes a difference! James pointed out that the strongest images were the most simple ones, and then he taught me a very simple yet strong notion, KISS:
What a clever way to stay focused!
As a visionary person, James was one of the first and very few photographers who experimented a lot with photographic processes. I was fortunate when James shared with me some of his first composites which he created back in 1988, yes, BEFORE Adobe Photoshop even existed!
He explained that he used an 8×10 camera and creatively crafed a unique “in camera” technique, as well as experimenting in the darkroom. The images were stunning and way ahead of his time, in fact he mentioned how some of his clients weren’t used to digital files, so he had to convert the digital files to film, in order for them to accept it!
Amongst his great inspirations are Jerry Uelsmann and Peter Turner, master surrealist photographers who created composites in the darkroom back in the 60’s. He also admires Robert and Shana Parkeharrison’s work, who created multiple image composites in the darkroom as well, most noted for the amazing “The Architect’s Brother” body of work.
James advise for all emerging photographers is:
“Be your own fiercest critical editor”.