This month’s featured photographer is Jill Greenberg. Her strikingly colorful portraits of today’s hottest Hollywood talent have appeared on numerous magazine covers. Read more about Jill, her work, and her creative process below.
Describe your approach to photography— What makes your work unique? What makes a good image?
I love to photograph people and make portraits. I think my work is different in the way I capture emotions and make images which elicit emotions in the viewer — making us feel something while looking. My work blends a serious interest in graphic composition, with attention to light and color with the energy and emotion of the subject. Sometimes my work is more conceptual, or technical in its approach, and sometimes it is more straightforward portraiture.
What inspires you? Who are your influences?
I have always been inspired by the light and colors around me. I see everything around me as an influence, but especially painting and other forms of art.
What was your first camera?
A Minolta SRT-101. But actually I had a Brownie before that. I was taking photos when I was about 9 and using the darkroom in 4th grade.
Can you think of the first time you realized the camera you owned was holding you back?
It was more that not owning a medium format with a high end digital back was holding me back, when I was making the “Paintings” series. I wanted to be able to shoot whenever I wanted since it was a personal series.
What’s a photography-related purchasing decision or experience that you regret?
I don’t have one! I am pretty careful not to over-purchase.
How did you make the transition to professional photography, and how did making a living from photography impact your style of shooting?
In the early 90s I assisted a bit but a big help in my transition was doing freelance photoshop for design firms.
What was your most difficult project?
Last August I did a shoot for Paramount Pictures which was 85 different layouts, all different lighting setups, from high above to from a low angle. It was definitely a record number of setups for me in one day.
What’s the most interesting/surprising/invaluable thing you keep in your equipment bag?
My starburst filter. I just love capturing those effects in camera.
Do you have a “Passion Project” that you enjoy working on in your free time?
I have been doing fine art photography which has been published in books and exhibited in galleries and museums since 2004. Currently I am working on a body of work which will be exhibited at ClampArt in September, 2020 for 6 weeks that involves self portraits in 3 photographic approaches.
What’s your favorite book/movie/album that you’ve experienced recently?
I loved the way the film “Green Book” was lensed.