Ultimate Awards 2010
We asked everyone we know in the industry to tell us who they think is worthy of the title ‘Ultimate’ and the first ever Professional Photographer Ultimate Awards were born. These are the people at the top of our profession, creating some of the most groundbreaking work in 2010. And the winners are...
The ultimate creative director
Born to hotelier parents on Anglesey, Wales, in 1941, Grace Coddington’s interest in fashion began in her teens. Pale-skinned and convent-educated, she never went anywhere on her holidays; she just looked at Vogue. Around the age of 17, someone submitted her pictures to a young model competition in Vogue. She won, and subsequently began modelling. Unfortunately, a car accident left her requiring surgery to have her eyelid reconstructed. Two years later, at 28, she became junior fashion editor at UK Vogue, organising shoots with legends such as David Bailey, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Norman Parkinson. It was the beginning of a career in the world of fashion photography that is still going strong. The 2009 film The September Issue, a fly-on-the-wall documentary of the making of the September 2007 issue of US Vogue, where Grace is now creative director, saw her work recognised by an audience outside the fashion world. We bow to Grace’s passion, humility, influence and never-ending creative energy.
The Ultimate ISO
The Nikon D3s
We could bore you silly talking about the beefed-up spec on the latest pro Nikon (check out our January issue for landscape photographer Colin Prior’s views) and its extreme spec build quality. But the reason it is the easy winner of this award is based on one unique factor: its unique ISO maximum rating of 102,400, which pushes the opportunities to shoot stills and moving images in low light to previously unimagined areas. Nikon even claims you can shoot in the dark with it! We can’t confirm this, but we can confirm that it’s chunky and filled with everything you need for news, sports and extreme location This is an ultimate piece of kit. Take it to the max!
The Ultimate Black and White Traditional Printer
Robin Bell is one of Britain’s most respected black and white printers and one of the few professionals left who specialise in hand-processing black and white film and hand-printing black and white images to the standard we expect and love. Bell approaches every project with the same attention to detail, helping photographers bring out the best in their images.
The Ultimate Monograph
Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 by Richard Avedon, Carol Squiers, Vincent Aletti, Philippe Garner, Willis Hartshorn
There is no shortage of expensive, heavy photographic books published, but few are immediately both iconic and essential. This is one of them. From its blinking-eye cover through all of its 372 pages, it delivers information and inspiration. Whether you are a fashion, portrait or wedding photographer, or just love photography, this book will provide the ultimate inspiration.
The Ultimate Hair Stylist
Everyone who’s anyone in the inner circles of fashion and beauty has heard of Guido Palau. One of the world’s most influential hair stylists, he has worked on countless editorial shoots, advertising campaigns and catwalk shows, with his trademark expressive designs. He is also creative consultant at hair care company Redken and collaborates with top fashion photographers including David Sims, Steven Meisel and Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot. We thought it was time more people got to know his name.
The Ultimate Digital Rental
From its early days as the ad hoc studio location that got everybody to troop up to a backstreet in Kentish Town to today’s highly professional international set-up, Spring Studios has always known how to treat professional photographers and give us what we need. In the days when a laptop on a shoot was a rarity, the name attached to every digital shoot was Spring. It now offers an extensive range of Phase One and Eizo equipment, with a 24-hour technical support team on hand to ensure all kit is fully maintained and optimised to achieve the best results possible. It sends out all rental equipment with a technician whatever the location, and even offers secure online access to all your imagery, with an emphasis on client confidentiality. Spring supports more shoots than you could ever imagine.
The Ultimate Lab
Metro Imaging has established itself as a leading photographic lab, offering the UK’s most comprehensive range of services. With initiatives including the recent installation of the Lightjet 500XL, the world’s only 72in wide digital photo printer, Metro Imaging ensures photographers have access to the latest technological developments. Services include retouching, Lambda art printing, scanning, outputting, digital services, film processing and printing, through to mounting and finishing. Despite having felt the full effects of the digital revolution, and being forced to close a number of its London labs, it is back on form, fully embracing the quality digital services we all need.
The Ultimate Make-up Artist
The make-up artist of the moment, Alex Box is in great demand, with the likes of fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld and Gareth Pugh and publications including Harper’s Bazaar and i-D up to work with her. With a background as an installation artist, Box’s work was destined to be unconventional, theatrical, dramatic and energetic. Her recent collaboration with renowned photographer Rankin has resulted in a book, Alex Box, and she also holds the position of creative director for prestigious make-up brand Illamasqua.
The Ultimate Lighting Hire
Direct is London’s leading photographic rental facility. Whatever you need, Direct can supply it on time. Cameras, lighting, digital operators, post production and transport, it can sort it all. It offers free demonstrations and advice, and is running a series of training days to help stills photographers learn the art of shooting moving images. Direct is therefore a worthy Ultimate winner.
The Ultimate Art Director
In 1982, French-born Fabien Baron went to New York with the idea of staying for six months. Within four days he had landed a top job at GQ. Shortly afterwards he was appointed creative director of Italian Vogue. He returned to New York in 1990 to launch his company Baron & Baron and guide the relaunch of Interview. In 1992 he relaunched Harper’s Bazaar as creative director. He has designed ad campaigns for leading names in fashion including Helmut Lang and Dolce & Gabbana. He is also creative director at Calvin Klein, a photographer and furniture designer.
The Ultimate All Rounder
The Canon EOS 5D MkII
Not an issue of Professional Photographer goes by without mention of this camera. It has become the workhorse or back-up for so many photographers that it’s almost become a rhetorical question when we ask pros what they shoot with. It’s not often a camera creates a revolution in photography, but that’s what the EOS 5D MkII did last year with its incredible film-making capabilities. The 7D is gaining fans for the same reason, but the 5D MkII has yet to be knocked off its perch. That is, until the MkIII arrives!
The Ultimate Buzzword For 2010
If 2009’s word of the year was ‘extreme’, this year’s has to be ‘convergence’. The amount of photographers moving from exclusively shooting stills into the world of the moving image is growing daily, and finally the manufacturers seem to have realised the HD facility they have been including in all their new products is being fully embraced by photographers excited by the creative opportunities it offers. We’re big fans of convergence at Professional Photographer and we post a new film every week on our website, all shot on DSLRs. As photographers, we need to get the hang of convergence before all the film makers takeover.
The Ultimate Medium-Format Camera
The Leica S2
A DSLR build with the quality of medium format? Yes indeed, with the S2, Leica has brought us what so many of us have wanted for so long. Easy in the hand with a slight echo of the much-missed Pentax 67, the S2 is already being picked up on by both fashion and portrait photographers. Rare as hen’s teeth and not cheap at £16,740, don’t expect to see many around for a while, but early indications suggest that this will be a landmark camera.
The Ultimate Compact
Panasonic Lumix GF1
The Panasonic Lumix GF1 was our favourite pocket-sized marvel of last year. Featuring full-time live view, high-speed contrast AF and HD movie recording, its image quality is incredible thanks to the 12.1-megapixel Live MOS Sensor and Venus Engine HD. This is the camera that stole our hearts and made snapshots a realistic option for our portfolios.
The Ultimate Tripod
Vintage Gitzo GT1340VC
Everything today is about old school. Gitzo’s Vintage collection combines the styling and features of products from the 1970s, brought up to date with modern technological advancements, and we love it! The Vintage Gitzo GT1340VC is a replica of the original, with the classic logo and old-style graphics and finishing. Original features include a two-section telescopic column for convenient height adjustment in compact casing and an upper casting configuration for stability of the upper disc. New features include G-lock, ground level set, anti-leg rotation, a new 1.2mm aluminium tube, power disc and PTFE treatment for the heads. It’s hard to find a tripod that makes a style statement, but this could just be the one.
The Ultimate Printer
The Canon iPF6100 Large Format Printer
When it comes to printers, it pays to get the best, and this beauty certainly delivers. It may seem expensive, but anyone who remembers their film and processing bills will be able to put its price into context. So what are the facts? Well, with the Canon’s 12-colour pigment ink system, this A1 printer delivers an incredibly wide and accurate colour gamut, quickly and easily. Its dual head 12-colour LUCIA II pigment ink system reduces the need to mix colours, for more efficient print costs and a smooth colour graduation, reduced grain and overall consistency. It features an easy-to-use built-in colour calibration system which can adjust the amount of ink used dependent on the print surface, and a three-way media feeding system allows you to print on anything from canvas to gloss paper between 0.07mm to 1.5mm thick. Check out Clive Booth’s experiences with it in our February issue.
The Ultimate Photographers’ Accessory
Apple iPhone 3GS
Where would photographers be without Apple, the professional photographer’s first-stop shop? Offering a mobile phone, a widescreen iPod, an internet device and access to thousands of applications, the iPhone 3GS is just what we need. It even has a host of camera features in what Apple is calling ‘the most photo-friendly phone ever’.
Its three-megapixel, autofocus camera can be zoomed in or out with a double-tap or pinch, and made portrait or landscape by rotating the device. An autofocus keeps things sharp, while a macro-lens takes great close-ups. Photos can then easily be emailed or sent to friends or clients by MMS. How did we survive before, without the photographer’s portable office?
The Ultimate Case
We all have too may bags for our kit bought for too many specific reasons. Tidy kit and good-looking cases are so important on location for any shoot. Our choice of the best way to keep our kit in order is Indestructible Cases. They’re used by the US Air Force, NATO and other military organisations worldwide, so if they’re good enough for them, they’re good enough for us. All cases are waterproof, airtight, shock-proof and carry a lifetime guarantee. Enough said!
The Ultimate Light
Yet another sign of the convergence between stills and film making, Litepanels are portable and self-contained with no cables and an infinitely dimmable 5,600ºK or 3,200ºK. It’s continuous light but not as we know it. With an ultra-long lamp life of 50,000 hours and a choice of power options, from snap-on batteries, AC adaptors, cigarette lighter adaptors or the option to run them off your camera battery. The perfect option for every low-light shoot and photographers who don’t like flash.
The Ultimate Photographers’ Website
The brainchild of photographer Nick Knight, SHOWstudio is a website that was set up in 2000 to push the boundaries of communicating fashion online. Providing an insider’s view of the fashion industry, it aims to expose every aspect of creating an image, from the generation of ideas, to the model go-sees, right through to the finished work. Those involved in the process – the photographers, fashion designers, fashion editors, set designers, models, art directors, creative directors, clients and stylists – all play their part in SHOWstudio. As well as being able to watch photo shoots involving the best in the business, you can view inspirational interviews, images and exhibitions and communicate across all aspects of the site. This two-way communication is at the heart of the site’s interactive ethos and one of the main reasons why we spend so much time being inspired by it.
The Ultimate Model Agency
Models 1 has an enviable reputation that other modelling agencies can only dream of. As the largest, most successful agency in Europe, it has earned worldwide respect within the industry. Representing modern greats such as Agyness Deyn and long-established models such as Yasmin Le Bon, Models 1 can spot both long-lasting talent and the look of the moment at 10 paces. The company is dedicated to nurturing new talent within its New Faces division, which is always the best chance for an aspiring fashion photographer to work with the faces of tomorrow. We like its ethos, way of working and fact it has been there and done it more times than we’ve said: ‘That’s a wrap!’
The Ultimate Website
Not only does Viewbook make website templates that are easy to use, adapt, evolve and post, it does it at a much lower price than its US counterparts with a similar name. Its templates are the perfect showcase for photography.
The Ultimate Memory Card
SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash
Faster, bigger and more reliable than ever, SanDisk surpassed itself with the launch of Extreme Pro CompactFlash at the end of last year. It’s a memory card with all the features needed to keep up with the advanced DSLRs on today’s market. With lightning-fast speeds of up to 90MB/s and up to 64GB of storage, the Extreme Pro CompactFlash gives you more room to hold JPGs, RAW files and high-definition video.
The Ultimate prop stylist/set designer
The goddess of props and sets, for Shona, no request is ever too bizarre to achieve. Ever needed a life-size toy soldier for a shoot? Maybe a UFO? Or a room full of white rabbits? If so, Shona’s the woman for the job. Having sourced all of these and hundreds more fantastical props for editorial shoots, advertising campaigns and window displays, she is a favourite with the likes of photographers such as Tim Walker and Nick Knight. It’s not only photographers and us at Professional Photographer who recognise her ability; with clients such as Vogue and Dazed & Confused, Christian Dior, Armani and Cacharel beating at her door, it’s no surprise she is one of our Ultimate winners.
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