Greg Gorman’s (www.gormanphotography.com) work documents that peculiar obsession of the 20th century celebrity. Each shot, a testament to the individual character, gives a picture of human nature in its infinite range. “For me a photograph is most successful when it doesn’t answer all the questions,” says Gorman, “and it leaves something to be desired.” For over three decades, Greg Gorman has continued to master the art of photography. From personality portraits and advertising campaigns to magazine layouts and fine art work, Greg has developed and showcased a discriminating and unique style in his profession.
LACP Interviews Greg Gorman
LACP asks Greg Gorman ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography.
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Greg Gorman: Personality and portrait photographer. I only shoot things that can talk back to me.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
GG: I’ve been shooting for over 50 years. I started shooting when I was 16, I am now in my 60s!
LACP: Where did you get your training?
GG: Major in Photojournalism at University of Kansas and MFA in Cinematography at University of Southern California.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
GG: The day I processed my first image of Jimi Hendrix in a friends’ darkroom in Kansas City in 1968! that I had just taken at a concert. When I saw the print for the first time coming up in the developer, I was hooked!
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
GG: Never, I now enjoy a life of teaching. I have the wonderful opportunity of being able to give back some of the incredible amount of knowledge I’ve gained over the many years!
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
GG: Absolutely not. Well, then again, not having much of a personal life but that’s why I have many friends-Thank God!
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
GG: I have gained an insight into humanity and the ability to develop relationships and communication skills as well as how to be able to see, understand and interpret light.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
GG: Portraiture and the figure study
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
GG: Communication. The interaction between students and myself is one of the most valuable benefits for me while teaching. I learn just as much from the students as they do from me. The opportunity to be able to give back is very self-rewarding.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
GG: Find another career! Today, everyone thinks they are a photographer because they have Photoshop to prove it and auto focus/auto exposure/auto everything. With the onset of cell phones, everyone thinks they are the greatest photographer. When it gets down to the basics, very few people know how to understand and see light-let alone communicate on a consistent basis with the person in front of their lens!