An assignment can sometimes change a photographer’s life. It might not create a picture that scoops a Pulitzer or produce a photo which generates heaps of royalties, but it can still force a photographer to take a long hard look at what he or she does… and change direction.
Seth Resnick’s series of pictures documenting the treatment of Renee, a five-year old girl burned by hot grease in a kitchen accident, was such an assignment. A graduate of Syracuse University, where he had studied photojournalism, Seth was then working for Syracuse Newspapers while also building a freelance business that included work for The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic.
“After finishing the story, I found it very difficult to go back to the regular daily
newspaper shooting,” he told us. He resigned, moved to Boston and devoted himself to freelance photography.
That was twenty years ago. Since then, Seth’s photos have appeared in more than 2,500 publications worldwide, he has been President of Editorial Photographers, an organization dedicated to improving business practice in photography, and is part of the Alpha development team shaping the future of Photoshop. Now living in Miami, he is also the co-founder of D-65, a company dedicated to educating photographers, particularly about digital photography.
According to Seth, photographers are making a long list of mistakes in their use of digital photography, mistakes that include shooting in JPEG instead of RAW, depending too much on post-processing (“A poor image is still poor and a strong image is still strong, regardless of whether it was shot on digital or film”), and failing to archive properly.
“Digital is inherently different to film and… 99 percent of photographers are actually digitally clueless,” Seth explained. “A perfect example is the ProPhoto Color space which is clearly, without any doubt, the best working space for digital raw files. Yet the majority of photographers still use Adobe 98 or sRGB.
“The main problem is simply that we all learned film and assume that film and digital are the same when in fact they are polar opposites in many ways. The execution can be quite challenging.”
Seth’s workshops, which take place in a different city every month and are held with photographer Jamie Spritzer over four days, are intended to show photographers how to improve their workflow and make the most out of what digital has to offer.
Despite spending a great deal of time in the classroom and on the lecture circuit, Seth still manages to put in the hours behind the camera though, and is particularly proud of the images he brought back from two trips to Antarctica.
“Ironically, I shoot more now than I ever shot before,” Seth said. “I can really pick and choose assignments now, which I cherish, but more importantly I shoot self-generated material all the time and license it as stock… I probably produce far better images since I started to cut back on assignment work and started to shoot for myself.”
Now there’s a thought that might change a photographer’s life.
Photograph of blue iceberg in Antarctica by Seth Resnick.
Portrait of Seth Resnick by Jeff Schewe
[tags]seth resnick, photo assignments, photo workshops[/tags]