(c) Michael GrafPress release:
Each year Hasselblad appoints twelve new photographers as Hasselblad
Masters. The selected photographers represent both documented and
well-established photographers as well as imaginative, ambitious
photographers at the beginning of their careers. The selection is based
on factors such as level of ambition, wealth of ideas, and photographic
technical skill and respects both the traditions of photography and the
need for renewal. One prerequisite is that the photographer must have
used a Hasselblad camera to take the selected images.
The Hasselblad Masters represent photography at its finest; at its most
inspired, most communicative, most beautiful. They are young, old,
Western, Eastern, classical, experimental, traditional, modern, and
futuristic. They have perhaps one thing in common though: they are
masters at conveying an instant, an emotion, with images. Masters of
the art and craft that is photography.
To showcase the new Hasselblad Masters, various activities take place
throughout the year including articles in the press, participation in
campaigns, etc. A new Hasselblad calendar is also produced every year
featuring images from the twelve participants. The Hasselblad Master
photographer for December 2006 is Michael Graf.
Michael Graf was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Photography has
taken him all over the world to such locations as Togo, Benin, Chile,
Mexico, South Africa, Japan, throughout Europe and the U.S.A. but his
home base is still Toronto.
He opened his studio right after college on the premise that art and
commerce could work together. And for more than a decade, it has proven
to be a recipe for success.
Graf’s photographic inspiration has been drawn from the
experiences of his life. Although he spent a very brief time enrolled
in college, his craft and technical expertise are entirely self-taught.
Some would say that the key to his success has been his drive. He
believes in working as hard as possible, and then working harder than
that. His quest for excellence means that he is never complacent and is
always in search of his next challenge. When asked about his
accomplishments, Graf is reluctant to comment. Rather, he still sees
himself in the infancy of his career where it is too premature to cast
any verdict on whether he is satisfied with what he has achieved.
Graf’s motivation comes from creating and observing his
personal worlds. Exploring alternate perspectives is a consistent theme
throughout his body of work. He admits to being compelled in the
pursuit of creating his own world of “What
Graf’s tool of choice when creating his alternate realities
is the Hasselblad H1.
It represents stability and reliability. In his eyes, is the most
effectively thought out and reliable system available. It also offers
the most stable platform.
He relies on auto-focus in his work. As the photographer, he needs
equipment that can keep up with him. The ability to track his
characters is critical to his work and the camera needs to do that for
him so he can concentrate on his subjects.
Graf is inspired by photographers like Erwin Blumenfeld, Albert Watson
and his clients include Nike, Burberry, Acura, Adidas, Nissan,
Budweiser, Coors, Nintendo, Coke, Toyota, McDonalds, Vespa, Pepsi to
name a few. Planning is essential to him and each assignment is done
with the help of his crew and producers through extensive research,
meetings, and more meetings.
To quote Michael Graf: “Digital photography is just
another tool in the trade. It’s part of the evolution of the