Eddie Tapp is an award-winning photographer, lecturer, consultant, and author on digital imaging issues. With over 20 years of experience in computer technology, Eddie has been an educator and consultant to corporations, studios, and agencies in the applications of digital imaging workflow, color management, pre-press and digital photography. An Explorer of Light with Canon USA and on the Photoshop “Dream Team” with NAPP, his articles have appeared in Professional Photographer, Photo Electronic Imaging, Infoto, and other magazines. He has served on Adobe`s Photoshop beta team.
Judy Host, an award-winning photographer, has been featured in several publications for her outstanding environmental portraiture. In the summer of 2012, Judy was honored by Sigma as one of six photographers to become a Sigma Pro. Her clients include the Hollywood Foreign Press, InStyle Magazine and Warner Bros. She has photographed for Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Nicole Kidman, Mehki Phifer, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Mark Wahberg and many others.
Eddie will be teaching his Crafting Your Workflow class on January 12th and Judy will be joining us on January 13th for her Creative Design with Photoshop workshop. To mull us over until then, they were kind enough to answer a few questions about their experiences with photography and digital imaging.
What do you see as your individual strengths as photographers and digital imaging experts?
Eddie: [As a photographer] Feeling the compositional elements as I shoot and/or sometimes recreating that in post, seeing and using light (natural or strobe), etc… As a digital imaging expert I would say bringing out the best possible quality in process. I switched over to digital capture and workflow in the early 90’s and I loved working with film and especially in the darkroom, seeing how digital could generate superior quality to film then was a very narrow passage.
Judy: I fell in love with Photography when I was 15 years old. It was truly the first thing that I ever felt that I did well. It separated me from my peers, while at the same time giving me a voice to express my emotions; a tough thing to do when you’re at that age. When I look back at the work I was doing then, it isn’t much different than the work I’m doing now. Capturing the emotions of an individual is what I’m seeking when I create a portrait. My motto has always been, “My photography is about who people are, not what they look like.” I think if I had to sum up my skills as a photographer I would say that the ability to disarm my subject and find out what’s in their heart is what I do best.
What got you started? And in that vein what do feel was the key element of success that pushed photography from a hobby to more of a career?
Eddie: Photography became a desire for me when I was very young. I knew nothing about it but my dad had an 8mm Bell & Howell movie camera and I was able to play with it occasionally. The thought of creating beauty in images was something that was very appealing to me. Interestingly, my dad took me to see the movie South Pacific when it first came out and it was then I fell completely in love with photography — but I didn’t realize it just then. So, when I was 16 I decided I would spend the rest of my life working in photography in some capacity and I love it more today than ever. Success as a photographer came with my willingness to make mistakes and try again, to visualize and challenge myself to learn more. I love to experiment and still do, and I’m still learning today.
Judy: I started when I was 15 and got my first camera. Then I started taking photography classes and it has never stopped. I have a degree in Speech Communications and took a corporate job right out of college. I stayed there for almost 20 years until one day I realized how unhappy I was and didn’t fit the corporate mold. I sold my home, my car and all the creature comforts that I thought would make me happy and started to build a business from the ground up. That was in 1983 and my passion for this field is what keeps me there. It is also what took it from a hobby to a career.
What has been one your favorite projects throughout your career?
Eddie: One that comes to mind is when creating a skyline image that was the first “city scape” news set background for WSB-TV in 1980. A daylight and twilight view with four 40″x60″ Cibachrome transparency panels creating a “view from the window” in the set behind the news anchors. I would see my images on TV morning, noon and night for four years… including a segment on Nightline. The overall experience of getting this assignment and the research, production and installation was very exciting and rewarding.
Judy: I was lucky enough to be included in a group of people who were heading to Africa to try and resolve poverty issues. We traveled to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa. We spent a lot of time with the orphans from the genocide in Rwanda and Uganda. An experience like that changes you in so many ways. At times it was hard to photograph those beautiful faces, but knowing that we gave them hope just by being there and listening to their stories made a huge difference. The imagery from that project will always be my favorite.
Are there any goals you haven’t reached yet but plan to?
Eddie: My photography business started in 1973 as a small studio that grew into a large studio before moving into education, and traveling and teaching around the world. My goals today include several projects that I have been saving ideas and elements up for years and will be from the more artistic part of me; one I hope to release in 2014 and another I’m not certain on a time release but have been gathering elements for the past 12 years. Also, over the past few years I have been acquiring a series of equipment including lighting, video, cameras, etc… One of my goals has always been cinema related (South Pacific) and in even a small way I would have been training myself to become a remote control cinema photographer and producer.
Judy: I find myself in an ever changing mode. I’m always re-inventing myself so that I can keep doing what I love. My present goals include adding value to my students and I keep pushing myself forward to always learning new things to share. Photography has become a very technical field, so the learning curve is tremendous, but it’s still about capturing that defining moment, telling a story, captivating your audience with imagery.
Eddie what technologies do you see as essential for a student who is studying photography or digital imaging?
Eddie: It is essential to study light, become familiar with the qualities of light. Perhaps technically but more importantly, intimate with light to a point where you can almost feel the light you see, and then technically, understanding how light you see translates to the digital chip and then into the processing options.
Judy you’re known for your portrait-like photography skills and how they are able to tell stories with a lone photo. How do you do so much with a single frame?
Judy: This is such a difficult question for me to answer. It seems like the ability to see someone’s heart comes naturally to me. Being extremely aware of what your subject is feeling or thinking is what gives a still image its story. How the subject moves, holds their body, looks at something, takes a moment to reflect, is exactly what I’m looking for. My sessions are very quiet and very calm. Especially with young children which is the bulk of my business. It’s my style and one I work on every day to perfect.
Eddie you’ve made tutorial videos and a few books only recently. Do you feel that in this field there are things that can’t be shown through text?
Eddie: Those who write experiences are interpreted by the reader. The experience of creating an image from vision to finality becomes a personal extension of one’s imagination — a sense of an emotion — and even though the finality is in the form of an image rather than dance or singing, the exhilaration is deep within and will only become perceivable from the experience.
Judy you’ve worked with different audiences and in different locations. Do you feel that cultural differences affect your photography?
Judy: Yes and no. Having traveled around the world, and met so many different photographers, I have discovered we are all the same in our passion for what we do. Having respect for other cultural differences only makes for a more interesting or unusual image. Being exposed to other countries and their landscapes and costumes is the best part of what I do. Understanding their traditions, I believe makes us more aware of our own environment. This can only help to shape our values and what we see through the lens. Meeting new people and making friends everywhere you go because of this common bond that we have is truly one of my greatest joys in life.