Michigan Photographers: Bobby Alcott responds to reader questions
February 28, 2007
BenGreen asks “What photographers influence your work?”
I’ve always loved Annie Leibovitz, and was simply moved by her show at the DIA – it was an honor to be there. Garry Winogrand, W. Eugene Smith … I’m moved by the photographer that can capture the spirit of a person in a single frame. Architecturally, Margaret Bourke-White was an very early influence on my design, and later, my photography.
The ones that have a liquor license, of course.
One of the drawbacks of being a pro photographer is that one constantly has to reinvest in new equipment. It’s not a vanity thing, and not everything needs to be replaced — my main camera, a Hasselblad 500 EL/M, was built in 1965 — but the market changes rapidly, and to fall behind is to give up. Digital backs, lighting, new DSLR bodies, software … all are critical and volatile tools that have to be state of the art.
Bill Alcott (a relative) says “Please say something about the location of this photo.”
Last November, Cave Canem and I planned this elaborate shoot to coincide with the only time a full moon would rise over the city of Detroit as seen from Windsor. Well, the shoot was a bust, as we were way, way too close to make the moon dramatic enough. It was 4:30am when we gave up trying to make it work, and he suggested we go to the Ford Rouge factory to get some cool sunrise shots. We stood on a bridge over the Rouge River as the colors crept up on us. Cave has better shots of this place, but I was happy with the way this came out.
Kiddarhma (and CC) ask “How did you get EXPOSURE:Detroit going, and how is it going?”
My wife is from the wonderful city of Pittsburgh, and so we spend a few weekends there a year, visiting her Mom. I became friends with a great bunch of photographers there, and the beginning of our friendship coincided with the birth of the EXPOSURE program – a localized group of photographers that form a support system to grow as shooters and, once a month, to take over a space and celebrate the work of one of it’s members by devoting a gallery opening to them. After the Pittsburgh group found some real success, the founder of the group, Joey Kennedy, asked me if I would start a Detroit chapter to help local photographers grow and shine — how could I resist? I’ve had so many people help me along my path, and it thrills me to help others as well.
EXPOSURE.Detroit is going through a bit of a remake right now, as participation wasn’t at a sustaining level. We’re now starting to see the transformation bring real change to the group, and the members are becoming more involved. I’m excited about the future of the group.
Joan wants to know “Are there are any people or places in Michigan you’d really like to photograph?”
Other than the city, which offers a never-ending canvas to a photographer, I enjoy the coastlines and sailing. Not much compares to shooting a regatta on board a dinghy! I do love the Traverse City area, Petoskey and Harbor Springs — beautiful areas to landscape. Mackinac Island has been thoroughly photographed, but there are always new ways to show an old subject. The Dunes are fantastic at sunset, too. This is a magical state to photograph; there are so few places in the country that offers everything we have here.
Michigan Photographer Profile III
Day II: Bobby Alcott responds to reader questions
Day III: Bobby’s Favorite