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Tim Flach Interview

Tim Flach Interview - Tim Flach talks to EIZO about his imagery and how he hopes it shapes how we think about animals.

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Category : Professional Interviewed
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British photographer Tim Flach takes animals out of context, placing them in the blank environs of a studio setting and allowing us to see them anew. Out of nature and in a place much more familiar from portraits of people or fashion photography, the animals become the subject of Flach’s highly detailed and intimate style, in which imagery of other species resonates with uncannily human poses and expressions. Flach talked to EIZO about how he shapes his images, and how he hopes they shape the way we think about animals.

Featherless Chicken
Photo © Tim Flach

Why do animals engage you as subjects?

I’ve always had a sense of wonderment about nature and I love the uncertainty of putting the subjects in front of the camera. I think the main thing is that sense of the divide, the space between us and them which has always intrigued me about animals.

Would you describe your images of animals as portraits?

Much animal photography involves people chasing animals in the wild and seeing their habitat. But I like to map over humans styles of portraiture onto the animal, not so much to anthropomorphize them but to approximate them to something we understand. I’ve chosen intentionally to separate them from their context, almost to shift the experience of looking at that particular animal so one re-engages with it. It’s also to create a sense of almost hyper-reality.

Do you look to human portraiture for inspiration?

I’ve always been fascinated by the culture of art generally, so I look at a lot of the great painters. Without sounding too clichéd, I look to the Rembrandts, the Picassos and I borrow structures they use. I look at structures used by established painters and keep those in mind when I work, so they help me imagine the space of the picture.

Tiger shaking
Photo © Tim Flach

Which camera(s) do you use?

For the majority of my shots I use a Hasselblad medium format (H4D 50). However in the instances where I am shooting fast sequences, small subjects or long distant shots I choose a Canon. The choice always comes down to the most appropriate tool for each and every situation,

Does the unpredictable nature of animal photography necessitate a lot of specialist kit?

I appreciate kit is essential to this but ultimately we all know that the technology facilitates the idea. But having said that, you still need to facilitate the idea with the right tools!

Which EIZO monitors do you work with?

I currently use ColorEdge CG221 and CG301W. I made the switch to using EIZO monitors about 8 years ago and it was an incredible change in workload.

Penny
Photo © Tim Flach

What effect have EIZO monitors had on your working process?

The improvement in colour management that I discovered using EIZO monitors means I am less distracted by disparities between screen and print, allowing me to focus on the images and to concentrate on ideas that I am working through. When you’ve used other systems that don’t work so well you appreciate the change, but once you don’t have to deal with those problems you can move onto other things at hand.

How do you balance manipulation with authenticity in the post-production of your images?

I think it’s a very interesting relationship – how do you craft, manage and stylize something whilst maintaining those elements and ingredients that bring you back to the reality and authenticity? One of the things I value greatly is that I respect what’s in front of my camera. I don’t tend to compile images from lots of elements, certainly not in my personal work. My work might look stylized but what I’m doing is making tonal changes in Photoshop to manage where the eye moves. I think it’s important to take the viewer to elements of the image that you find interesting, I’d like to think that’s why my pictures might have that sense of discovering things.

 

To see more of Tim Flach's work, visit www.timflach.com

Flying Mop
Photo © Tim Flach


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