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June - Michael Grecco.

Michael Grecco, an American with Italian roots, has worked for half his 43 years as a professional photographer. Amongst his list of clients you will find magazines such as, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Premier, Movie Line, Business Week, Forbes, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Maxim Inc., Newsweek and Time. Half of the time he does editorial work but he also produces annual reports as well as TV and film print advertising. He manages to find the time for a few record covers too.

He started as a photojournalist for Associated Press and the Boston Herald Newspaper in Boston at the beginning of the 80s. But when he moved from Boston to Los Angeles 14 years ago, he changed direction. “As a newspaper photographer I worked only in black & white and always with a 35mm camera. In the end I realised that it wasn’t really my thing. I’d always been drawn towards creative portraiture and when I moved, I tried to gradually develop more in that area.” During this period he bought his first Hasselblad camera, a 500C, and began to work more and more with medium format instead. This change also opened up the field for new clients where weekly and monthly magazines began to play a much larger role than daily newspapers.
He describes his style as a form of conceptual portraiture. He makes his own interpretation of the person to be photographed. The picture then becomes a narrative on another level that is told through light and shade. It is the understanding of light that counts whether it is portraiture, landscape or photojournalism.

 Last year his book ‘The Art of Portrait Photography’ came out. It contains fifty black & white portraits, often of actors, actresses and musicians. The pictures exemplify Michael Grecco’s creative and personal portrait style. Every picture has detailed explanatory notes as well as illustrations that describe the lighting.
He works both in the studio and on location, normally using a tripod and flash. He has his own small studio but rents larger premises when the need arises. “ But I like photographing ‘everyday people’, like butchers and bakers for example, in available light in their own environments.”

35mm, medium format and large format are all a part of Michael Grecco’s arsenal. His equipment includes a 35mm Canon system as well as a Hasselblad 503CW, 555ELD. He also uses a Fuji 680, a Graflex Super D and a Sinar. His favourite film is Kodak Tri-X and 160VC. Most of his work he does with a Hasselblad. “Reliability is everything”, emphasizes Grecco. “ As I travel so much I must have a camera I can trust. Another plus is that a Hasselblad is compact and therefore easy to take everywhere on trips”.  For several years now he has worked digitally, both directly and indirectly, and in the studio he now uses a Kodak DCS Pro Back on a Hasselblad with Epson printers.

What drives and inspires a photographer like Michael Grecco?  “ I want to develop my own style but I like flicking through different papers and magazines to get an idea of what other photographers are up to. Photographers that particularly inspire me are Albert Watson and George Holtz. My ambition is that my pictures will catch people’s antion and perhaps even get a laugh.”

Kerstin Fiedler