Joel Meyerowitz shot by Fred R. Conrad
The New York Times' staff photographer compares their session to "Rembrandt going into Picasso's studio"
New York Times staff photographer Fred R Conrad is no slouch. His work has featured in America's foremost paper for years, and his personal projects, such a portraits of Comic-Con attendees from earlier this year or his Santa Claus series from 2010, are championed by The Times.
Nevertheless, Conrad changed from seasoned lensman into enthusiastic photography fan in the presence of the great Joel Meyerowitz. As this video, shot by a third photographer, Elaisha Stokes, makes plain, Conrad put a great deal of thought and preparation into his portrait session with the fellow New York photographer. Joel's image was shot to accompany an article by Randy Kennedy, published in the paper. However, Conrad did not approach the session as just a simple point-and-click opportunity. As he puts it: "imagine Rembrandt going into Picasso's studio, and telling him how to sit".
In the video, also Conrad explains that he shoots Meyerowitz on film, rather than digitally, because the protracted loading and winding on of film gives a photographer more time to look at and interact with a subject. In addition, Conrad explains why he believes that great photographs aren't taken so much as "given", and that, in time, a sitter will let their "essence" show though.
Conrad and Meyerowitz also discuss a few of Meyerowitz's famous acquaintances, such as Robert Frank and Helen Levitt. Watch the whole video below; it's a treat for photography mavens and novices alike. And, if you like what you see, consider our beautiful Joel Meyerowitz retrospective, Taking My Time.