Multimedia Laboratory

Interview with a photographer | Jamie Isaia

When did you first become involved in photography and why?

When I was 15 I first started taking photography seriously. I took a b+w printing class in high school and became completely obsessed. There was something so satisfying about how immediate and yet complicated the process was. Conceptually there seemed endless possibilities.


Who are some of your favorite photographers and why do you admire their work? 

I love Julia Margaret Cameron, Gertrude Kasebier, E.J. Bellocq, August Sanders, Francesca Woodman… to name a very small few. When I think of what I LOVE about photography it always dates back to around late 1960’s and earlier. There is sensibilty in a lot of this early portraiture and landscape imagery that is lost in modern photography. A lot of it has to do with the process of using clunky wet plates, slow shutter speeds or the grain of old kodak film. Digital is amazing, don’t get me wrong, but definitely not the same thing. Also, people just looked more interesting in early 1900-1960’s then now, in my opinion of course.


What is your greatest experience as a photographer?

Coming up with concepts in my head that I was not sure how to pull off and then actually having it all come together seamlessly. That is the greatest feeling. It is not that often that I am completely sold on what I just shot but when it does happen, it is the best!


What equipment do you prefer to use and why?

I use the Mark III or the 5D. Mainly because I have to not necessarily because I want to. I love both cameras equally. I’ve been shooting a lot of 35mm old kodak film as well which is helping me balance out the necessity of digital in my life.


Describe your editing process (i.e. How do you go about selecting, retouching and printing your photographs?)

While on set I do a preliminary edit based on what I know I don’t like from what I just shot. When I get to my studio the next day I go through and do a tighter edit, then an even tighter edit. I then mock up a layout of the top two selects for each shot and decide which ones are final shots. I then send to my retouchers.


What sets your work apart from that of others?

One of my main goals is to seduce people to look just a split second longer then they might otherwise at a photograph. That there is a quality to the person, place and palette that holds people’s attention and makes them think, even if for a split second, I want to be there… in that picture.


What are your plans and aspirations for the future regarding photography?

I am doing a lot more motion work and am really interested in the way the industry is changing to cater to various media platforms. Right now motion is the primary focus for me and merging it with my photography.

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