INTERVIEW – Jack Long

Posted on October 9, 2012

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Firstly I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions,

What inspired you to do Photography?

I was a ‘nerdy, artsy type’ in high school and fell in love with picture making since getting my first 35mm camera in 1974. After High School I went to the Technical College in Milwaukee WI for my Associates degree in Photo. Since then I have been a professional photographer, mostly in commercial/advertising. I am working as a catalog shooter now, but I still have my love for creating artsy pictures for myself

What kind of things did you enjoy photographing most whist in education/ the early stages of photography? (Aka Portraiture, Landscape, Still life, etc)

I started out as a photojournalist however I had always wanted to do product work. I got my first commercial job in 81, and then began cultivating my career. I went on my own in 1989 for 20 years, primarily in commercial/advertising

What gave you the idea/ inspiration to do ‘Liquid Flowers’?

I had shot fluid high speed before, these being the martinis and other beverages, an associate asked me if I could “splash” water onto a product so I created a mechanism that would shoot the water at the product, and this was when I discovered my first ‘mushroom’. I liked them very much and got positive feedback, so I continued to refine the ‘mushrooms’. I discovered that I could make flower shapes through experimentation and manipulation, NOT photo manipulation. I realized that what I was making was so different than other work I’ve seen, I’ve decided to keep the technique secret as such so that I could advance it as far as possible

‘The Discovery of the ‘Mushroom”                                                              ‘The First Mushroom’

I see you’ve done some portrait photography too, is this what you do aside from high speed photography in your spare time or do you dedicate yourself mainly to high speed?

I have done many things professionally, when someone requests portrait work, I am happy to oblige for cash but sometimes for family too.

Obviously your work is extremely popular, where has your work been published?

All online at this point, no print magazines yet however I hope to, they pay better, but they might also need to know more than I am willing to share.

How do you find clients to work with? Or how did you start out getting your work recognized?

I used to seek clients when I had my own business. That was before the internet as we know it, so it was done by mail, phone calls and personal visits to show my book. However I don’t seek clients directly at this point, but I am working to pad my presence on ‘linked in’. I am also hoping to get my best work into gallery space if I can. I have a “day job” for a major retail company during the week and I shoot catalogue advertising.

What equipment do you use for your photography? (Camera, Lighting etc)

I use a Canon camera and I light with Vivitar 283’s, I hard-wire the 283’s and trigger them through a radio slave from the camera. I’ve once had up to 7 283’s at once, kind of tricky… I am hoping to invest in White lightning Einsteins soon

Looking through your work I have a favourite, the ‘Sonja Rose’ is there a story behind this?

My mother’s name was Sonja Rose. She passed away a few years ago. It was her favourite for obvious reasons. The single flower pictures such as that and the others were made in preparation for the vases and blooms series. I wanted to master the flower shapes. I had already created the vase form last autumn so over the winter I created the flowers, and in the spring I put the flowers into the vase in a single capture

‘Sonja Rose’

How many tries does it take you to get ‘the right shot’?

I take a great deal of time constructing the sets and testing before I start with colours. It takes hundreds of exposures to get to the final sessions testing both timing and lighting. Until recently I timed everything manually. The actuation of the event in one hand and the camera trigger in the other. I have since had an electronic system built that controls the mechanics and the camera, so I feel that I’m missing less

What tips would you give to a university student (studying photography) such as myself?

Honestly, I would encourage you to study engineering but from an imaging perspective, computers and digital imaging has changed photography a great deal. I would recommend not only knowing to “see” light and composition, but to know as much about computers as possible

I would even encourage learning 3D modelling. Professional imaging is becoming more computer dependent and great CGI can be very incredible. Also more things are moving, based on increased bandwidth, so knowing Cinema techniques would be very important, considering most DSLR’s shoot video now

‘First Vase Jack Long Ever Made’

 Jack Long even asked me a question to further provide me with advice!

Jack Long: “What type of photography do YOU enjoy creating?”

Me: The type of photography I enjoy creating? My list is currently extensive. As a university student I am only just beginning to learn many things about the subject. I enjoy each and every field of the subject as I have practiced most but if I were to choose one certain area, it would have to be documentary as my curiosity takes me on adventures and exploration

Jack: There will always be a need to bear witness. The world needs great image makers who can tell a story with their images

Me: I guess that’s what I personally hope to amount too, but we shall see when I am thrown out into the world

Jack: If documentary, you should learn to write well. If you can sell the whole story images and words, you are a more complete package. The blog is a good start for story-telling and polishes those skills

Me: I have always had an interest in writing and i do also enjoy reading so I guess that kind of works really! I am definitely willing to continue practicing my skills to unfold and develop a story within my work. My blog currently reaches people internationally and is dedicated to inspiring photographers everywhere as I have noticed online there aren’t many blogs or sites dedicated to what mine is.

Jack: Oh and photography as a profession is still part of “business” You will need to know how to handle a spread sheet too!

–           Interview hosted by Tom Coghill, Administrator of ‘Cogtography’

© 2012 T.Coghill Photography All Rights Reserved

LINKS TO JACK’S WORK

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top

Website: http://jacklongphoto.carbonmade.com/

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oldschooljack/

500px: http://500px.com/JackLong

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