TOOLS OF THE TRADE//FINE ART DOG PHOTOGRAPHER JESSE FREIDIN


Every artist has their favorite tools, and it takes years to find them. Whether it's the perfect paint brush, the perfect piece of charcoal, the perfect chisel or guitar strings or armchair to write in. As an artist- when you find these items, you hang on to them. They become part of you, and part of your creative process. In my mind, my tools are like my team mates- we work seamlessly together, think for each other, challenge each other, and create the kind of art that we love. My tools allow me to express my creativity in a very magical way, and then turn that magic into something very technical. So, let me introduce you to my team:

Film: Ilford HP5 Plus/ 120 format

This is an even-keeled black and white film known for it's dependability, versatility, and great grain structure. I use medium format (120) film, which means each negative is 2.25 inches square- that's huge! A larger negative means incredible enlargements with gorgeous tone and unbeatable detail.

Each roll of film is loaded by hand into a film back. Once loaded, the film back is attached to my camera. Each roll holds 12 exposures.

Camera: Hasselblad 500C

The Hasselblad is known as one of the most revered portrait cameras ever made. It was taken on the first Apollo space mission, and a favorite of photographers such as Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz. Its unique square format and incredibly crisp, warm images give the Hasselblad its famous signature feel. This is an unmistakably professional, old fashioned film camera, and after years of photographing together it feels like a true extension of my eye. Because every single piece of this camera is completely manual, it forces me to constantly think on my feet and make accurate decisions about exposure, composition, and timing with every frame.

Making contact sheets is how I proof the images from each Photography Session, and is a very important step in my process. It allows me to preview each exposure, compare frames, and decide which images are the most perfect. Here are a few contact sheets from a recent session:

Paper: Ilford Fiber based Glossy Warmtone

Photographic fiber based papers have an appearance, weight and quality that give them a truly 'hand crafted' feel, and are the only true option for skilled printers and discriminating collectors. The warm tone of this paper gives each print a soft, inviting, silky feel that develops while in the darkroom. Working with such emotional subject such as dogs, this paper is a great way to add yet another layer of beauty to each print. Fiber based paper is also incredibly durable, and after it has been washed in my archival trays, sets the image so that it will last for generations.

And, last but not least.....

Treats: Zuke's Peanut Butter and Blueberry (wheat free/chicken free)

My dog is allergic to wheat and chicken, and he goes bonkers for these treats. Because I understand the plight of a sensitive dog stomach, I always carry  allergen-free treats.

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