Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Matinee: 'Lois Greenfield' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

8 August 2015

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the ninety-seventh in our series of Saturday matinees today: Maine Media Workshops interview with Lois Greenfield.

This very brief, two-and-a-half minute video distills Greenfield's photography into its essence. Like a perfume, that's all she needs to win you over. Then you'll go off on a pleasantly rewarding search for more of her images.

Greenfield, who lives and works in New York City, landed a great gig photographing dance companies reviewed by Village Voice critic Deborah Jowitt. At the same time, Greenfield interviewed and wrote about photographers she loved, including Jacques Henri Lartigue, André Kertész and, a particular inspiration, Duane Michals.

In the video, she explains Michals' idea was to set up a situation, photograph it and create something that could exist solely as a photograph. "That idea got lodged in my brain," she says.

'What intrigues me is making images that confound and confuse the viewer, but that the viewer knows, or suspects, really happened.'

What she came up with were her dancers.

These aren't images shot during a dress rehearsal or even in the theater. Nor are they publicity shots.

They are studio sessions in which the dancer is invited to improvise while Greenfield observes what the dancer's "innate quality is and the way they move and the spirit that they have and then I like to shape that," she says.

What she captures at 1/2000 second, she says, can't be seen by the naked eye. But the viewer understands it's real. "What intrigues me is making images that confound and confuse the viewer, but that the viewer knows, or suspects, really happened," she says.

Consequently she does not combine her shots into composites. Each 1/2000 second capture stands alone.

She doesn't have a plan when she sets up these sessions, she says. "I find that ideas happen that I haven't thought of," she says. It's a collaborative process, a dance in itself that results in "a picture that's literally beyond my imagination."

That's where the video ends and your search begins.

You can start at her Web site but you owe it to yourself to run a Google image search of "Lois Greenfield" to see her surrounded by her images.

Lois Greenfield. A Google image search says it all.

There are also two collections of her images which have been published:

"The way someone photographs something," she says at the very beginning of the video, "to me gives me a window into how they perceive the world."

Seeing the world from Greenfield's window, we begin to appreciate how much we miss with our eyes wide open.

BackBack to Photo Corners