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Graf master of the month - Hassleblad H1 user, Michael Graf, named as Hassleblad Master for December.
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 if…?”.
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 craft.”
See his website for a good selection of his work: www.grafstudios.com