JRP: As I view the work of George DeLoache it reminds me of why I fell in love with photography. The sense of light, memorable color, and his dramatic black & white images all speak to his love and mastery of the craft. Welcome George to JRP Blog. Where is home for you George?
George DeLoache: My studio is located in Studio City a suburb just north of Hollywood in Los Angeles.
JRP: How did you get started in photography? Do you have any formal training?
George DeLoache: I first fell in love with photography while watching my images developing while working on a Boy Scout merit badge when I was a young boy. I sold my first image around 16 years old. In my junior and senior year of high school I went to school half a day and worked in a camera store the last half. I got the chance to hang out with the press photographers from the Columbus Dispatch where I learned to handle a 4×5 Speed Graphic.
I attended Kent State University School of Photojournalism for a while but wanted to be a war correspondent so I joined the military to become a photographer. Unfortunately the Military changed their mind and made me a Radarman but I got the chance to do a great deal of shooting and expand my craft.
Once separating from the military I settled in Los Angeles and assisted for many different photographers. I attended workshops, took classes at Brooks and Art Center, Santa Fe Workshop, West Coast Schools. I went to every seminar I could afford. I studied the work of both the great portrait photographers and painters. Finally I shot and shot. It’s like an athlete or musician, practice and more practice. In addition, I enter every print competition I could afford, especially those associated with the Professional Photographers of California.
JRP: What led to you concentrating on a classical style of portraiture for you work?
George DeLoache: One of the very first subjects I photographed was my father. I must have been about 12 years old and I had just gotten my first camera, a Brownie Starflash which I still own.
I loved making portraits of people. I studied the work of Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Irving Penn, George Hurrell, Clarence Bull, and Richard Avedon. I see the beauty and dignity of people, and I wanted to create images that speak to that belief. I was also very impressed by the great painting masters like Rembrandt, Anthony Van Dyck, Johan Vermeer, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and Rubens.
JRP: What would I find you working with in your camera bag for a typical shoot?
George DeLoache: My go to camera is for the most part a Nikon D3. I rely heavily on the 70-200 f2.8. For portraits I love the 105 DC F2 and my favorite is an old 180mm F2.8.
JRP: Why the combination of Elinchrom and Photogenic lighting?
George DeLoache: Really I chose the lighting systems based on the light modifiers available for them. Both Elinchrom and Photogenic make superior monolights so I pick the monolight based on how I want to shape the light.
I use medium softboxes with grids a lot. They will work with either but I love the Elinchrom 17 inch square reflector with gird, and the Photogenic 7 inch with grid and barn doors. I also use the 16 inch parabolic by Photogenics, and a 22 inch Mola Beauty Dish mounted to the Elinchrom.
JRP: Do you print in house and if so what do you use?
George DeLoache: I print all custom work up 11×14 in house. I have been using the Epson 2400 for a couple of years and I am very happy with the results. I send it in every 12 months to get tuned up and it prints like a charm. Large prints, prints for print competition and gallery wraps are printed by my labs. I have used A&I in Hollywood for years and I recently started using Bay Photo for my competition prints.
JRP: What is the most critical moment of image capture in your opinion?
George DeLoache: The most critical moment is the conceptualization. I create the image before I shoot it. I then go into the studio and work out the lighting to render the concept. The actual making of the image is more about getting the sitter to relax and deliver a great performance.
Finally the post production finishes the concept. About 1/3 of the creative process is rendered in post production. I calculate what I am going to do in post before I even go to the camera.
JRP: How does one continue to offer style and substance in today’s fragile image market?
George DeLoache: My family’s favorite saying was taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To thine own self be true”. I hold that as the most important value in creating images. I wear two hats, one is the businessman whose business is photography. As a business man I shoot what the client wants the way they want it. However I am also an artist, and when shooting my personal concepts I am only influenced by my commitment to be true to myself. It may seem a bit schizophrenic but it is the only way I can remain true to my art and also stay viable as a business.
Business trends change and I must change with them or risk becoming obscure and out of touch with my client base. Art is timeless and is only judged by quality.
JRP: Could you share with us a couple of the best things you have learned from other photographers?
George DeLoache: From Ken Cook, Frank Criccihio, Monte Zucker, Don Blair, and Charles Lewis I have gained an understanding of classic posing. From Dean Collins, Joe McNally, and Tim Kelly I gained an understanding of the quality of light and the art of lighting. Finally from Yousuf Karsh, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon I gained an understanding of the capturing of emotion.
JRP: What advice would you like to pass on to other photographers starting out?
George DeLoache: There are no shortcuts. The best concept executed technically poorly is still a bad photograph. A technically perfect image devoid of emotion is a bad photograph. It is only by hard work and a dedication to the art of photography that one can become proficient. Automatic cameras and Photoshop can not take the place of a deep mastery of the elements of photography. One can not shoot out of the box until one understands the box.
JRP: Thank you George for sharing your time with us and continued success.
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