Friday, May 29, 2009

Finish the Sentence...with Don Giannatti

[start the smoke machine and crank up the volume on the game show music]
"It's time once again to ask a well-known photographer, instructor or otherwise interesting person the same 10 questions and ask them to Finish the Sentence! This week the sentences are finished by.... Don Giannatti.

Don, please Finish the Sentence..."

My favorite photography accessory (lights, modifier, bag, tripod) is

I’ve learned the most from..
I’ve learned the most from studying the masters; Demarchelier, Watson, Penn, Avedon, Elgort for a few. Noting how they took the light, made it part of the scene or a distinctive element helps me design a shot in my head. Previsualizing is also being able to pull out some of the images in your head and manipulating the elements to make it your own.

If I could go anywhere in the world it would be_____ because….
Seville because I love the land. The whole Tuscany / Seville / Valencia area is so beautiful in the work of others. I would like an opportunity to shoot it my way. The landscape and the people... my way.

My most-used Photoshop add-on, plugin, action set (etc) is
my own sets of small tweaks and adds. I am not much for big actions, but I do love Tom Kuyper's Luminosity Actions. They have been a secret of mine for a long time now. Hey, you wont print that will you? Ah, dang, now everyone will know about his great action set. ;-)

I love the fact that Photoshop
let's me reveal and create and combine and releive and push and pull and sharpend and soften and clear and muddle and... well, yeah.

I hate the fact that Photoshop
makes people get friggin' sloppy on their work. Shoot it and fix it would be an automatic no-go if I was hiring a shooter. And there is a difference between highly manipulated, illustrative work and Photoshophackery... telling the difference isn't really that hard.

If I could turn back the clock 10 years
I would steer my ad agency away from the DotCom clients and the IPO madness that led to the bubble. And I would have not been partners with anyone.

In 10 years
I will be much older than today, hopefully a little wiser, and devilishly handsome. Ok... two outta three ain't bad.

If I could give one piece of advice it would be
to treat their photography as an extension of themselves. Don't become a syncophant of some certain style or method. Let the images flow from the brain/eye/camera instead of forcing the images to fit some arbitrary set of rules that don't really exist. Learning the craft and the history of this incredible medium facilitates that so well.

Your readers can find out more about me
at,, and

Ladies & Gentlemen, let's hear it for Don Giannatti!!!
Don Giannatti has been a photographer for over 40 years. From local to national clients, Don brought a personal touch and unique style to the projects he shot. Still life to architecture, lifestyle to beauty. Equally at home on location or in the studio, he works to deliver what the client wants and strives to bring a little more to the finished project.
Photography took him to create studios in New York and Chicago, with a few brief stops in LA, but eventually the love of the desert brought him home to Phoenix.
In the mid 90s he started doing more graphic design for his clients and that eventually grew into Ocean Integrated Media Group, which was the third largest advertising agency in Phoenix in 2000. DotCom clientele and terrorism in New York combined to force the closing of the agency in mid 2002, but Don kept on with Steel ID.
In 2006 he started teaching small workshops in his Phoenix studio. Initially attracting local and national students to the small, intimate, hands on training, the workshops have grown to be something he enjoys immensely. Currently Don travels to venues sometimes overlooked by the name workshops and works with photographers from beginners to professional. His unique teaching style and total involvement in the workshop has made it one of the best around.
He also authors a site for photographers at Lighting Essentials: A Place for Photographers.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Well spoken, sir!
I especially appreciate your "one piece of advice". In this world of digital everything we see instantly the work of others all around us and it's so easy to think: "I need to be doing That! No, I need to do That! No That!" and eventually we are lost while trying to imitate what others are doing instead of learning from them and integrating the knowledge into our own style.
Thank you for the constant encouragement.