Photographer calls digital imaging a fashion faux pas

photographer blames death of fashion photography on digital norman jean roy vogue

Like the Buggles lamenting about video killing the radio star, a fashion photographer recently crooned about the negative effects that digital technology has had on photography, with fashion in particular. That’s the gist of an interview with Norman Jean Roy, in The Cut, New York Magazine’s style blog.

Jean Roy’s work is regularly seen in the glossy pages of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Details, Rolling Stone, and other high-profile fashion and lifestyle publications. Despite an industry that has embraced digital, the photographer makes it a point to only shoot in film. Film allows Roy to stay focused on the subject. “When you shoot film, you don’t have the luxury of seeing every single image coming out. And because of that, you stay very focused,” Jean Roy told The Cut.

On portrait photography, Jean Roy has an interesting perspective. “A great portrait needs to first grab you and then let you set in there and continue to draw you in. [Whereas] with a lot of fashion photography, it really hits you hard and then it slowly fades away. To me, that’s the fundamental difference between a great photograph and a great picture.”

Shooting digital is something Jean Roy rarely does, and has an informal ritual he follows that helps him replicate the film experience. “If and when I have to shoot digitally, I always shoot to card and never show anyone. I usually give myself a day or two before I look at the session,” he said in the interview. “It’s the same thing you would do with flm, you shoot your film, it goes to the lab the next morning, and you get it back that afternoon.

“That space in time between [taking the photograph] and looking at it after is a really important thing. It’s kind of like counting to ten when someone makes you really mad.”

(Image via Joanna Kelly Roy/Vogue)