by Charlotte Moss Published 01/10/2015
David and Luke Edmonson have a uniquestyle that is firmly rooted in the world of fineart. Members of the WPPI and based in Dallas,Texas, the Edmonsons bring a European styleto their work which is much-loved by boththeir clients and print competition judgesaround the world. David and his son Lukewill be talking at the Convention in January2016 and took some time out to share theirthoughts about creative image-making as wellas some of their beautiful and sentimentalimages.
David: 'Luthier is the French word for the makers and repairers ofstringed instruments, and this picture shows a Luthier family. I'dhad a stroke the year before I made this image which had resultedin my vocal cords becoming paralysed and so I lost my voice, sothe symbolism of having a voice became very important to me. Iused the instruments to represent the voice, so the different figuresshow people creating, repairing, fine-tuning and inspecting theinstruments, just like you might have to a voice.
'There's also some papers and documents in the picture too,including a copy of The Observer from London in 1894. The editorin-chief at the time was Rachel Beer - the first female editor of anational newspaper, so I also wanted to honour women who weretrying new things in business with this image.'
'Twenty-five years ago I thought I would be able to retire with my imagesfrom stock photography, but that has almost completely dried up for me inthis new age of photography,' David said when I asked him how businesshad changed over the years. But this new age of photography has servedDavid well, spurring him on to experiment with different ways to markethis images. 'I loved shooting book covers,' he tells me when I ask how hemade money when the bottom began to fall out of the stock market. 'I'vephotographed over 600 of them.' Six hundred book covers is a seriousachievement - but pales in comparison to the 250,000 prints that Davidhas sold! 'I've tried cards and calendars too, but I realised that calendars area thing of the past and the royalty fees on cards just aren't that high.' Davidfound that he became tired of the same images selling over and over againand yearned to be producing more creative work. 'It was about six monthsafter my book was published. I went to a place where no book cost morethan five dollars and I saw a stack of my books available for just three dollarsand twenty-five cents. I knew that those days came to every author, but Ididn't know that they would come so quickly for me!'
David and Luke's approach to creative image making is one that manyphotographers can learn from. 'It often starts with a brainstorming session,'says Luke when I ask how they go about turning concepts into works ofart. 'We might loosely sketch out maybe five or 10 different ideas based onone idea. Then you find that your unconscious will work to problem-solveone of those particular ideas and that one will rise to the top.' But it doesn'tstop there; pen is put to paper the whole way through the design process.'When you revisit the idea that jumped out, you start to give it a bit moredepth. You might draw some props in or make a note of some models thatmight be good for that shot. Finally we start sketching out the lightingdiagrams so that you know what modifiers you might need.' Since Davidand Luke often work with large sets and lots of props, these sketches givethem the ability to communicate with others who might be assisting themwith creating a shot. Of course Luke points out that things aren't always setin stone; 'The sketches don't stop you going in a different direction fromwhat you initially thought, there's always an opportunity for that. But theygive you a starting point for your first shot, and then you can build on that.'
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