Monday, December 20, 2010

Johnny Pignozzi ~ On Taking Photographs

Johnny Pignozzi ~ Catalogue Deraisonne
This past week a well-known photographer named Johnny Pignozzi was on the Martha Stewart Show. I thought it might be interesting for you to see his 10 rules for taking photos, so I'm going to list them here. Johnny and Martha are good friends and have traveled many times to the same places at the same time. On the show, he gave Martha a framed photograph of herself and her daughter made in the 1990's. He also gave her an electrical strip that was small and had six plugs--three on each side. On trips, it allows one to charge  cameras and phones with only one strip. Below is Johnny's book cover in black and white.
Johnny  has used many cameras over his lifetime, having taken hundreds of thousands of photographs over the years. Now he has  put together a book of his photographs--himself and famous people--which came out in bookstores  July 1, 2010  bearing the title Catalogue Deraisonne. He explained the title of his book by saying that when people catalogue something, they organize it, and the word for that is "raisonne." But since he didn't organize the photos in his book, they are literally the opposite-- "deraisonne." His book is a compilation  of many of the photographs he has taken in his lifetime in black and white.

Johnny surprised me when he said his favorite camera is a Canon S-95. He likes a small camera because he travels so much, and it can easily be carried in his pocket. Or if he's at a party, he can hide it in his hand and take photos of the other guests, which turn out candid and natural. And he claims to be the man who made taking photos of yourself popular. While putting his head close to Martha's, he put his arm out with the camera in hand and snapped! He says that the Canon S-95 takes photos in low light and even takes video. 

Before Johnny Pignozzi gave his rules for taking photos, he offered a few suggestions in conversation: 
  • Use a small camera unless you're taking photos at long range.
  • Don't have your subjects pose, as it creates an unnatural picture.
  • Don't use flash. Use a camera like the Canon S-95 that takes photos in low light.
  • Use a digital camera.
  • X-ray machines at the airport often ruin your film.
Then Johnny gave 10 rules for taking photos, which you may want to add to your own:
  1. Take a lot of photos all the time! Take your camera with you everywhere.
  2. Remember to recharge your camera.
  3. Rather than erasing your memory card, just replace it. When you erase photos, you may lose pictures that you wish you had saved. Memory cards are inexpensive enough to simply replace them. Be sure and put the used memory card in a safe place.
  4. Have two cameras with you, so that if one gets misplaced or lost, you still have another.
  5. Put your name or initials on your camera. If you're around other people, they may pick up your camera and think it's theirs.
  6. Don't show anyone their photo to approve. In the process, one of you may hit a button on the camera that causes you to lose pictures already made. Johnny said he's lost many photos that way.
  7. Beware of putting photos on the internet. Bad photos, or photos of friends that are not in good taste, or even photos of your children which may be fine for friends and family, may be taken and used by strangers on the internet. 
  8. Rather than using a zoom lens, get closer to your subject. 
  9. Use the highest resolution on your camera to make sure you get the very best photos.
  10. Black and white film is what Johnny uses for most of his photos. And he has some beautiful photos of polar bears and icebergs in black and white! I never thought I'd say this, but I'm beginning to think it's a good idea. I know that Kelly sometimes uses black and white film, and I complained about it, but she may be on to something. My Christmas card from her and Eric this year is a black and white photo of them with Omari. It's really good and I love it!
So that's it for today. I find myself waiting on others to take photos, when it's really the easiest thing in the world to do. It's an excellent way to give pleasure to friends and family, as well as yourself. The last camera I bought was a Sony at Jon's suggestion.  Jon was using one to take photos of his coins. I bought one on eBay to take photos of things I wanted to sell on eBay--mostly books and CDs. I still like this camera, but it needs a battery right now. Maybe this week before Christmas, I'll get one. 

I hope you've had a wonderful weekend, and that Monday has already been kind to you!


P.S. I talked to Kelly today--Dec. 23--and she told me that when she uses her small Canon camera, she finds that the camera moves and wiggles much more, so she can't take pictures as easily. She said this after I told her that I wanted a Canon S-95. Just wanted you to have this for your consideraton!

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