Since we publish PhotoMedia just three times a year, a lot can happen of interest to those in our industry between issues. For instance, soon after our Fall 2009 issue was distributed in October, several legendary photographers passed away, with Irving Penn heading the list. Canon and Nikon also introduced new flagship DSLR cameras. More recently, the nation of Haiti was devastated by one of the most destructive earthquakes in modern history, prompting a mobilization of photojournalists to transmit images of the catastrophe throughout the world.
As Haiti begins its slow process of recovery, the experience has made it clear once again that photographers play an influential role in chronicling the experiences of our civilization. Photography is a powerful medium that continues to fascinate viewers, especially when it’s done with excellence. This issue allows us to examine the work of two photographers to whom excellence is everything. Sometimes it takes copious amounts of research to decide on our profile subjects. In this case, however, both photographers have been on our radar for a while, and we were just waiting for the right moment to feature them — which is now.
I first became aware of our cover story subject, Los Angeles-based high-fashion and celebrity photographer Melvin Sokolsky, several years ago and was dazzled by the quality and breadth of his work. With a career that’s going strong into its sixth decade, Sokolsky has been around long enough to see many changes in the industry. He still realizes, though, that what never changes is that originality, creativity, expression, passion and execution are what will produce great work. Our story coincides with the release of Sokolsky’s self-published, collector’s-item anthology of his most memorable photos.
I was similarly familiar with the work of San Francisco’s Erik Almas since his early days assisting Jim Erickson, whom we featured in a cover story in 2002. Almas’ globe-trotting lifestyle, his distinct method of shooting and the imagery he produces for his corporate clients on location seemed a perfect counterpoint to Sokolsky’s sensibility.
Portfolio, featuring Seattleite Michelle Bates’ whimsical Holga pictures, and Shot in the Back, with Los Angeles’ Bill Dobbins, round out the issue, along with Gail Mooney’s introduction to shooting high-end video with recent still cameras offering that capability.
Please visit our recently redesigned website, PhotoMediaonline.com, for our online counterpart to this print edition and access to past issues.
Now more than ever, it’s critical that you let our advertisers know that you noticed their ads in PhotoMedia — our future depends on it. They deserve the utmost appreciation for supporting this publication and enabling us to bring you in-depth coverage of the world of photography for free. We welcome your opinions and encourage you to share PhotoMedia with others who love photography.
Gary Halpern, Publisher