A Photography Blog

/rachel hulin

Commercial, Editorial, Featured

Elizabeth Weinberg! Interview and Quiz.

Oh friends! I am very excited today to share an interview with fabulous Lifestyle/Portraiture/Reportage/Fashion/Music photographer Elizabeth Weinberg. I’ve been meaning to catch up with her for some time, so this is a real treat.

ALSO: at the bottom of these Qs and As there will be a test (the good kind, don’t panic).

—-

Hi Elizabeth! I’ve been a fan of your work for ages, so I’m delighted to do a little interview. First, some background info– how did you start shooting?

I started shooting as a teenager, taking pictures of my youngest sister, who was born when I was a freshman in high school. It was sort of crazy having a baby in the house while I was doing algebra homework. I started documenting her growing up and running to the hour photo lab to get the film processed as soon as I finished a roll. I sort of fell in love with the suspense. At the same time, I became heavily interested in music and would shoot live at concerts I attended, mainly as an excuse to get up front. I’m not quite sure when photography became an addiction, but that’s the closest I can pinpoint!

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What subject matter did you start with- you seem to have several specialties (music, fashion, lifestyle)- did one get the ball rolling on the others?

Music was always first, and portraits of my friends were a constant as well. The lifestyle stuff has come about more recently, when I realized I could funnel the real-life type photography I do on a regular basis into a specific market that has the possibility for commercial appeal.

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I love the effortless, slice of life feel of your imagery. Was this a conscious style choice, or did it evolve from your personal images?

I think this evolved naturally from my personal images. I don’t want there to be much of a style difference between my “personal” work and my “professional” work. I guess I just try to make everything look as pretty as I remember it being in real life, and maybe a little bit more. I think I view memory in a really romanticized way, and my pictures reflect that.

I love that I can’t tell whether some of the folks in your shots are models, friends, or professionals.

That’s great! I won’t spoil the mystique.
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We’ve been talking a lot on the blog lately about film v. digital- I would never guess that a large portion of the work on your site is digital– it’s so film-like. Tell us all your processing secrets! Ok- maybe just a tip or two?

I won’t divulge all of my processing secrets, but I will give some advice: Shoot RAW. Pay attention to the color of light; in the late afternoon shade, peoples’ skin looks almost cyan! Highlights and shadows have different colors at different times of the day or under different kind of light. Film yields deep blacks, so emulate that in your digital processing.

I’d prefer to shoot film all the time but it simply isn’t practical, financially or time-wise. The pain is lessened by the fact that I’m often told my digital photos look like film!

What’s the best/most enjoyable editorial assignment you’ve had?

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Hmm, this is a hard one. One that sticks out is recent: I just shot the Mighty Boosh for the September issue of NYLON. I knew little to nothing about them so I went to their Bowery Ballroom show the night before the shoot to get a sense of what they were all about, then I watched a bunch of stuff on YouTube. It was their first American performance so shooting them the next day was pretty sweet. They were really hungover and exhausted so we bought them a bunch of beer and we shot out on the street in SoHo as they heckled passers-by. I didn’t realize they had such a rabid following here in the States, so I’m glad I got a chance to shoot them when they first got here. They took direction really well and just ran with it.

Best commercial?

Earlier this year I did a campaign for Sony Ericsson in Los Angeles and Mammoth Mountain. The product was a new 8 megapixel cameraphone, and they wanted me to shoot the entire thing with the phone itself, to prove that it was superior image quality. So here you have an assistant, art directors, account managers, models, the client, etc. all standing around me while I’m holding one phone in each hand, running around and shooting them alternately, side by side. Not your typical advertising job. There was little to no production involved–just me, the phones and a reflector. The entire experience was so freeing and really really fun. I had a huge amount of creative control–they hired me for my lifestyle eye and I just went to town.

What’s next for you, what work are you hoping to make in 2010?

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I would love to shoot more documentary projects and assignments. I just did a reportage series on the Michael Jackson birthday celeration that Spike Lee put on in Prospect Park in Brooklyn–it’s on my blog. I went to school for photojournalism, and that itch for reportage has stuck with me since I started my career. I’d also love to work on more lifestyle campaigns, be it for catalogs or print advertising.

Thanks, Elizabeth! OK! Test time. Here’s the deal:

When I was whining about digital v. film complexities the other day, my buddy Dalton Rooney reminded me how good Elizabeth is at making digital seem film-like (which we discussed a bit above). SO, on that note– we are going to have a test. If you can tell which of EW’s images are digital and which are film, you win an 11×14 print of any of the images in the running. REALLY!!!!

Tell us which images, from A-I, are film, and which are digital. Leave your answers in the comments section. First person with all answers correct wins an 11×14 print of the image of your choice. GO!

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A.

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B.

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C.

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D.

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E.

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F.

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G.

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H.

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I.

UPDATE: we have a winner! Find out who.

31 comments

  1. Michael Friberg - September 15, 2009 6:28 pm

    all of them are digital except for F.

  2. Cory Foote - September 15, 2009 6:32 pm

    Here are my guesses:

    a- film
    b- film
    c- digital
    d- digital
    e- film
    f- digital
    g- digital
    h- film
    i- film

    although it shouldn’t matter right, blah blah blah.

  3. Daniel Marchand - September 15, 2009 6:40 pm

    This is quite a challenge, but in my opinion, photos C, F ans I are film and the others are digital.

  4. Laura - September 15, 2009 7:07 pm

    I guess A, B, C and H are film; the rest digital. Love your blog!

  5. susana - September 15, 2009 7:15 pm

    ummmm, can I see prints puhlease????

    C and F are film. that’s my final answer.

  6. dalton - September 15, 2009 7:24 pm

    As a reader of Elizabeth’s blog, I know which cameras were used to take some of these pictures, so I’ll keep my guesses to myself. I just wanted to add that it’s beautiful work!

  7. Katherine - September 15, 2009 7:25 pm

    a. digital
    b. film
    c. digital
    d. digital
    e. digital
    f. digital
    g. film
    h. film
    i. digital

    Crossing my fingers!

  8. pat - September 15, 2009 7:41 pm

    Trick question. Their all digital.

  9. Michael - September 15, 2009 8:05 pm

    a. digital
    b. film
    c. film
    d. digital
    e. digital
    f. film
    g. digital
    h. film
    i. digital

    cheers!

  10. Devin - September 15, 2009 9:06 pm

    a- Film
    b- Digital
    c- Film
    d- Film
    e- Film
    f- Digital
    g- Digital
    h- Film
    i- Digital

  11. Jan - September 15, 2009 10:20 pm

    film: a, f, h
    digital: b, c, d, e, g, i

  12. Iain - September 15, 2009 10:43 pm

    A: Film
    B: Digi
    C: Digi
    D: Film
    E: Digi
    F: Film
    G: Digi
    H: Film
    I: Digi

    Although, obviously, they are all digital now that I can see them on my screen on the interweb..!

  13. Stacy - September 16, 2009 12:15 am

    Has anyone got it yet?
    My guess is F & H are film. The rest are digital.

  14. The girl in some of those pictures, a.k.a. eliz's little sister - September 16, 2009 12:35 am

    A. Digital
    B. Digital
    C. Digital
    D. Digital
    E. Digital
    F. Digital
    G. Digital
    H. Digital
    I. Digital

  15. Eric - September 16, 2009 1:38 am

    A. Film
    B. Digital
    C. Digital
    D. Digital
    E. Digital
    F. Digital
    G. Digital
    H. Digital
    I. Digital

  16. Tre' - September 16, 2009 2:45 am

    a. Digital
    b. Film
    c. Digital
    d. Film
    e. Digital
    f. Film
    g. Digital
    h. Film
    i. Digital

  17. Adrian - September 16, 2009 2:53 am

    (e) and (h) are film. The rest are digital.

  18. Blake Andrews - September 16, 2009 3:15 am

    First 5 are digital, second five are film

  19. Brea - September 16, 2009 3:22 am

    My guess is C, F and H are film. The rest digital.

  20. OV - September 16, 2009 5:26 am

    All of them are digital. Thanks. :)

  21. bill - September 16, 2009 6:46 am

    a, b, h are digital

  22. FETE - September 16, 2009 6:51 am

    E&H are film.
    The rest are digital

  23. danb - September 16, 2009 12:33 pm

    A & H are film, the rest are digital.

  24. danb - September 16, 2009 12:34 pm

    wait, and E

  25. Marc - September 16, 2009 2:07 pm

    C, G, H, and I are film. Rest is digital.

  26. rolo - September 16, 2009 6:44 pm

    Time I understand, but I’m endlessly bewildered by the notion that film doesn’t make financial sense. It takes a LOT of film and processing to equal the expense of a quality, full-frame DSLR. And while scanning is slow (TIME), it takes no time at all to make scans look film-like because, well. . . .

  27. elizabeth - September 16, 2009 7:44 pm

    If your standard shoot is 30-40 rolls of 120 film, that’s over a grand including cost of film and processing/contacts/scans…

  28. Lou - September 22, 2009 11:47 pm

    All digital.

  29. elizabeth - September 24, 2009 1:59 am

    you’re a bit late, there ;)

  30. jan - October 10, 2009 4:34 am

    She does such beautiful work. Makes digi worth it

  31. Selina - March 18, 2011 7:27 pm

    I want to believe they’re all film, but I’ll happily convert if they’re all digital. What camera did you/she use?

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