David Brookover :: The Artist Series

David Brookover :: The Artist Series


[Music] Okay… we’re at Zone 3 at 12 1/2 so we’re pretty much on axis okay I got that and I’m going to put this back down Lowest value… so this is usually either going to be Zone 3 or Zone… going to be on the shadow side of these trees, these pine trees or its going to be that fence so we go in there with this 1 degree spot meter… and lets say we hit that fence something like this, because we’re pretty close to that grass where you’re trying to shoot and that peak’s probably what 4 or 5 miles away? We’re going to drop this thing down to probably f/45 Make sure nothing’s moving (shutter sounds) there you got it! When I was in Japan I really loved the fabrics and textiles and things like that I met like Issey Miyake and Yamamoto Kansai, Yohji Yamamoto I met these guys I was always in love with Japanese fabrics so the idea of being able to print on these papers which you know back in 2005 not a lot of people knew about that and they certainly didn’t know about doing large platinum prints I think what it is is I cut my teeth in Japan so I always influenced by Japanese photographers and probably the one that influenced me most was Shinzo Maeda… incredible photographer lived up in Hokkaido shot a lot of 4×5 and then he went to Hasselblad square format and then I would see all the locals you’re talking about Kenro Izu and of course Sugimoto people like that moved to Tokyo I had a degree in acupuncture so I went over there to further my studies in acupuncture and I decided that it was going to be impossible to practice because of socialized medicine and I’d have to learn everything I already knew in English and Japanese which I figured it was going to be another 7 years before I could take a test in Kanji so I kind
of went um – I think I’m going to just wait out a year and see how I like it
here fell in love with the culture everything was new I mean it was literally like baby steps I couldn’t speak the language you would learn where you lived by looking at buildings and you know geo-mapping with your brain (laughs) and then I just became involved more and more with the cameras and you know photographing the countryside there were a lot of fabulous shows that were always put on by department stores so you would go there and it was… the photography was laid out just beautifully just wrapped around the entire department store maybe sometimes five to seven thousand square feet big places you know and then the photographer would be there and the Japanese are kind of shy they would buy some books every now and then but you’d get to just talking to these folks you know Herb Ritts got to know him there first time I met Michael Kenna was I was photographing in Meiji Jing and here’s this guy was kind of curly hair walking like right in the middle of where I was photographing I’m like ah… you know Michael oh – so sorry he just kind of fades through of course he had shows at the Min Gallery at that time and I think one of my breaks was
that I was able to – my guarantors family one of the daughters worked at a very large photo agency a stock photo agency called Amana at that time it was Photonica Amana they were like the premier one in Japan so I… she came up to me one year this is about the second year into Japan she said you know I’ve seen some of your work you could actually start you could make some money doing this I was like how do you make money taking photographs of you know America in the Southwest and she goes well stock photography you had to have about 500 images in your portfolio showed that and I think my first check at that
time was like $1600 I’m like god this is great you know but I mean I gradually worked into photography I taught English for a while I did transcribing because of what I’d studied you know as far as medical I was working with a lot of doctors who were doing international speeches abroad so it was a very slow process you know of going from transitioning into it so something you couldn’t do overnight but I traveled and photographed worked up from 35mm to medium format eventually I was able to present a portfolio to Fujifilm which was 8×10 work and they took me on to be a consultant for some of their new films that they were coming out with back in the days with the Provia and the Astia those films and I traveled all over America for many many months with my now wife and we would be gone for you know 5-6 months photographing all over the States and Canada for Fujifilm Tokyo is what that time I think was 34 million people I knew I could only go so far as a foreigner there I mean the big commercial jobs they were they were taken up by the Japanese obviously it was funny I had a friend one time Mark Mason who told me he says you know in Japan its like most places you’re nobody until you’re somebody from someplace else I ended up moving back to Jackson Hole, WY in 2001 and we opened up this gallery here because I’ve come through it I see work here and I see work in Santa Fe in New York and everything I thought was you know I want to do a gallery I really want to start all 8×10 work and I was able to do that because I was shooting and Fuji was providing the film developing and they were doing my shows in Tokyo it was all 8×10 and I thought well I’ll be at least one up on a lot of folks as far as quality I don’t know
about imagery but you know quality so and about 2000 I think it was 2005 or 2006 we started doing a lot more platinum work prior to that I’ve been doing some silver gelatin work with a lab called Hidden Light in Flagstaff, Arizona with Stephen Saunders and Corey Allen and that transitioned into platinum and bromoil work too in terms of prints that are challenging all prints for the printer there is a challenge for the printer to understand what the vision of the photographer is because that’s the only thing that matters the photographer wants in my experience the print to be viewed by the client or by the viewer in a way that the viewer gets and understands what the photographer intended and then once you’re in sort of the photographer’s head a little bit you have the opportunity to technically produce the print some of them are more technically demanding than others but you can’t even begin to try that to start to know where you’re going until you know this is what we’re aiming for and sometimes you know you get a negative or you get an image and you say I don’t really know where I want this to go where can it go and then it becomes this collaborative process of discovery where you sort of say you know I’ve got this beautiful long exposure I don’t know if I want it light or dark or ethereal or sharp where do we want to go with this there’s so many variables that can be applied to an image that you could wind up with maybe a couple of different performances from the same image and still like them both it’s a pure palladium print which has a lot of actually all of David’s platinum palladium prints are pure palladium because of the contrast and the aesthetic that we’re looking for we don’t need the platinum for this particular process and it’s one of the more difficult ones to print one because of the size and two because all of these sort of continuous tones up here and the incredible range that you have from the you know the really dark stuff underneath the rocks and follow that into the extreme highlights it’s very difficult to get it to look right and to get an even coat and to get it to do what it’s supposed to do so this is probably 30 or 40 hours in this one print just putting it together so from a pure palladium print they’re typically pretty warm and they typically don’t have a lot of contrast for platinum palladium prints but you know they’ll never compare to silver gelatin contrast but when you have when you start adding platinum you start getting contrast you start cooling the tone a little bit and it gets a little more interesting to develop and this particular print is always done at 140 degrees and so you lay the print down and you have to pour the developer and it has to go from edge to edge and across the print in about a second or less and if you don’t get it all the way full coverage you see streaks and the print is ruined and you go do another one and that’s part of the processes you got to learn how to do and that’s one of the reasons that these enormous prints are so much more difficult than the little ones is you got to get because it develops instantly like in a silver gelatin darkroom you can kind of watch the print come up out of the chemistry and that’s a magical sort of experience but with platinum palladium or pure palladium in this case it’s instant this one was difficult but you know it was only difficult from a technical standpoint it wasn’t difficult from the vision standpoint he knows what he wants we just have to figure out a way to put it together and that’s our job people say well why didn’t you shoot this as large-format because there was ever so slight breeze of course the leaves are kind of moving a little bit and I was shooting this probably at about 1/25th of a second f/5.6 or something with the ISO 8×10 it would’ve been a lot of slower it’d have been a lot more mushy on the edges and everything like that so the quality is though – oh my god you could blow this – the detail’s there and it’ll go bigger it’s a huge file and constantly when I’m shooting I’m thinking okay my max I’m going to go on length is going be 32 inches because we classically frame everything so 52 because the papers… well the glass size 40 by 60 height wise 32 I’ve got to stop there so you just think of how what’s it going to take to get it to that size where the resolution is going to be just impeccable and then you either have to 8×10 or multiple shots because you’re not going to do it with 135 unless you’re going to be one of those folks that say well if you stand back it’s probably about I don’t know maybe 2:00 in the afternoon light was up shooting straight down on it but there were all these leading lines that we’re coming into it you know into the print with this tree just illuminated I’m thinking this is going to make an incredible black and white if we can pull it off every area of extreme highlight that you see that needed you know all of this up here it needed to be burned down it needed… it can’t be this can’t be as bright as this because when you lose you know the whole point of the image is incredible glowing tree so we ended up having to go back to some interesting techniques and we used rubylith masks on the paper to mask in and burn only this area and only this area and some of this over here after you’ve printed the digital negative because of this size it costs you know so much to print the negative and it will only go so far with your inkjet and you can only get so much density in
those areas to make it look normal so sometimes you got to do both you do a
digital negative with you know a contact print its over and then you also have to use some of the old-school burning and dodging techniques that you learned in high school and the masking to really get that area to just sit on the edge of detail you can see when it does and if we were to print this in platinum it would look completely different in pretty much every way I was really bad in Japan when it came to themes the Japanese would always say well what’s your Tema Tema oh my god I hate that word Tema what’s your theme because I just I couldn’t stick with a theme like they’re thinking 15 years from now are you still going to be doing seascapes you know around the world I’m like no I mean god (laughs) I get rid of my wardrobe every six months come on I can’t do that I’m just not that’s not me I’m much more spontaneous I had a friend one time he said you know the day that your signature becomes more important than what’s going on your work has lost its soul and that is so true and you just see that so often nowadays but most photographers when I ask them I go So who your collectors? they go oh I don’t really have… so you’re shooting for yourself well your expectations are not going to be that good because you have to… you’re cooking a meal for yourself it’s going to be not like you’re cooking for your best friends or people you’re wanting to cook for it always would just blow my mind when I’d talk to people about tea ceremony it’s like well how long you been doing this? 32 years… 32 years? finally you figure out why it takes because of every single phase how you walk through it the motion the movement and that’s what it’s all about at some point you peak at some point you peak into one little area but you get better in other little areas and you’re not doing the extreme stuff you used to do but you’re doing more subtle stuff you know so and that’s the length of an
artist to reinvent yourself through different mediums or your style changes or you get a little bit better there so just you know just keep going they say in Japanese – Isshoukenmei you just keep one step one step one step get better get better you

100 Replies to “David Brookover :: The Artist Series”

  1. You can see all the Artist Series videos here -> https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGEE7pGLuppS6Wn-FHetQPfo0QbeDiTYe

  2. Thanks for putting in the time to make these, its not common to see high quality content like this on YouTube nowadays amid the click bait haha

  3. You have tapped into the technique of drawing the viewer in…an increasingly rare feat.Thankyou for these films,they are truly inspirational in terms of getting an artist who may have come to a "Why am I doing this ?" point,and may need a little something to reignite the passion for their art.you show there is rewards,but it's more about the process and the journey.

  4. When I watch your videos, I immediately get a motivation to do my stuff and put more heart into film, light, time and documentation. Thanks so much Ted, you do great job, keep it up!!

  5. Fabulous documentary Ted. Your work gets better and better, "ippo zutsu". I very much appreciate that you delved deep into the printing side too. Fascinating and as always, inspiring too.

  6. Like most of the artist series I wish this one had not ended. I know you have a lot to do but the tutorial that you spoke of would be wonderful to see.

  7. I love landscape photography, so I've watched this little movie 3 times already. Observation: In the age of digital "extreme highlights" (in the words of one of the printing experts above) is a big no no. Spikes on your histogram is to be avoided. But this artist employs it almost in every image, but very selectively. Fabulous little masterclass you put together here! Thank you to all involved.

  8. Ok, every time I watch this I wonder: Where does the name Jackson Hole originate from? In my part of the world you would only refer to a place as a "hole" if you had a really negative opinion of that spot. This location is absolutely stunning! So why the hole? I'm sure there must be a completely different story here…

  9. Ted you doing amazing work..I love the New approach in this series it feels fresh and interesting. Good decision ..

  10. Fantastic! I love the close collaboration with Hidden Light. It really brings out how important it is for a great artist to work with great support people in such a seamless way. To just say thank you seems inadequate. Still, thank you.

  11. I really like this series. Very engaging – I wish it was a little longer – really enjoy this format

  12. What a visionary photographer! Ted, these videos are very important to the future of photography! You are doing everyone a great service; keep going.

  13. AMAZING! That music though, it seems like it was composed just for the show, timing, fading, true inspiration is seen here not only in the content but in the sound transitions that don't distract or interrupt the flow. Thanks TED for the hard work and the beautiful art you are creating.

  14. Thank you very much for making this fabulous artist video. I appreciate David mentions Japanese photographers and designers in the footage.
    Especially, Kenro Izu, one of the platinum contact print masters, is one of my favorite artist and his wife Yumiko Izu is also a great talented photographer.

  15. Hey Ted, I LOVE the new episodes of the Artist Series. Thank you so much for putting your time and effort in this project!

  16. Hey Ted, been following this series recently, enjoying it thoroughly thus far. I was wondering if you are planning to do anything that delves into the world of photography within the world of psychedelia and/or counterculture as themes (a word apparently reviled by this particular photographer)? Thanks, and either way, enjoying your work, it has inspired me to buy a new camera to replace the one that broke, and get out taking pictures again.

  17. I just found your channel and I'm already loving it. This series is wonderful. I love the inside perspective to the artists and their work from the artists themselves. I love the fact they're talking about all the thought and technical processes involved without a commercial or brand push. Keep these coming and thank you.

  18. Thanks a lot for putting this video out Ted. Really enjoying seeing the approach people take to landscape work.

  19. This is such a great video! I would love to see mmore of the artist series 😉 maybe we could fund another season featuring micheal kenna, koudelka and steve mccurry?^^

  20. Very inspiring video Ted! This is what I like about this channel, you get into the nitty gritty about the photographers and their work. This one was very inspiring for me because I do a lot of landscape photography. My hero is Ansel Adams and now I think David runs a close second. His photographs are beautiful

  21. HUGE thanks Ted (and Happy New Year!) for all you bring forth. This spoke to me so strongly and is a fantastic touch stone to return to. I'm very very grateful.

    Stay well man.

  22. I met Herb Ritts while I was a photo assistant in Dallas in the early 80s…he was in town with some guy named Richard Avadon. LOL. Being an old photog myself…I like watching these vids.

  23. Hey Ted I heard about your channel from Peter McKinnon. And now by watching you. You have introduced me to David Brookover. And Wow I mean just OMG. What a inspiration. Thank you for what you do and taking the time to make these videos. I've got a lot the go through on your channel. Again thank you. Robbie

  24. Another lovely discussion. This is excellent. The joy of listening to a master of their craft and the philosophy of it.

  25. This is a great video, in my opinion. Not merely for the subject matter but for the quality people who speak so eloquently about their specific crafts. The photographs are fantastic, the music is well suited, and the production is professional. I'd say more but now I'm so inspired that I'm rushing out the door with camera in hand! Thumbs up. Thanks, Ted

  26. My favorite from this series (though I suspect Clyde Butcher may replace it). I've watched it several times. It touches my heart and mind. Thank you.

  27. The compositions in a few scenes such as 2:15 and 4:40 is really odd in my opinion. Why is he talking to the left yet the empty space is on his right? I'm a beginner in photography so I'm genuinely asking what the reason behind the way David Brookover is being framed in these shots

  28. Ted absolutely loved this amazing series and honored to have come across this series truly enjoying.Thanks so much for sharing Deb 👍✌🤝

  29. Great video. Many thanks for sharing. David's images are extraordinary and his gallery is easily the best photography gallery we have visited.

  30. I am new to this site… you have made me discover this incredibly talented artist…I thank you sincerely for what you're doing here…I really enjoy the Artist Series…wonderful idea!

  31. What a pleasure to see someone accomplished such as David Brookover share their experiences in a candid manner such as in this video. Really great gallery! Something to aspire to. Thanks!

  32. Videos Make you almost want to quit Instagram and all the fakery of Today. There are truly levels to this game, and characters like this could almost seem intimidating with their astonishing work and technical knowledge!! Brilliant video, and what an amazing photographer this guy is!

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