I have a little chat with Vincent Versace to share today. He tells us about his recent exploits, why his tripods need to be “Vinnie proof”, and about his many years of experience shooting digital.
Without further ado:
You have images from all over the world, but I’m not sure I would consider you a travel photographer- your practice is very varied. How would you define your approach to photography, and what do you like to shoot best?
I am a photographer. I like to travel. I try as often as possible to be taken by pictures and not “take pictures.” I work this way to shoot my portraits like landscapes and my landscapes like portraits. As to what I like to shoot best? Stuff, things, people, places. I just want to be taken by the image and go for that ride.
How do you balance personal and commercial work?
I don’t see a separation between the two. They are the same thing. My work is always personal. I try to create images that make the viewer feel as if they were standing in the same place I was when I clicked the shutter. How can that not be a personal experience? To separate them would make photography impersonal, sorta like a job, a 9 to 5 thing. Which I guess would be ok. Making it more impersonal would certainly be less hours than I put in now, which is 24/7 365 and Sundays too.
How do you choose your gear- how have your choices changed since the rise of digital?
I have been shooting digital so long that my first camera was wood burning. I was Nikon’s very first outside digital photographic beta tester. That happened right after Al Gore and I invented the internet….. Seriously the same way I always have. What’s the best tool for the job? Not the cheapest tool that I can get by with. You are only as good as your weakest link.
What features are most important to you in a tripod? (do you have particular needs for something great for long exposures, or that can flip upside down for macro shots)- which Induro tripod do you like most?
Strength. Light weight. Indestructibility. They need to be more than unbreakable. They need to be “Vinnie Proof” . I was in South East Asia and I actually snapped a leg on my carbon fiber tripod. I was at the Photo East Photography Convention, flew in from the gig to NYC. I walked by the Induro booth. I told the sales guy what happened he then said “watch this”– he extended the c-314 set of sticks, grabbed onto it and while hanging onto the tripod, proceeded to swing back and forth. I now have three Induro tripods.
What projects are you currently working on? Can you show us any sneak peeks?
I am writing two books which should be out Summer of 2010: “Welcome to Oz 2.0″ and “Return to Oz”. I have several tutorial DVDs coming out. I’m planning on going back to India, Burma and Papa New Guinea in the next several months to shoot. In addition, my images have been selected as the art for the Restaurant Dovetail in New York City. Chef/owner is John Fraser, formally the Sous Chef of the French Laundry.
Do you have a trick for processes digital imagery to keep the tonality rich and film-like? I notice many of your digital images could easily pass for film. Tips are always appreciated!
Well, digital actually has better dynamic range, sharpness, color and less noise at higher ISOs than film. The best advice is simple. Photoshop is not a verb. It’s a noun. Get it right at the point of capture. You can’t fix something in Photoshop; you can at best save it. The less you do to a file the better it looks.
Check out Vincent’s many images, books and educational materials, here.