Outdoor photography: Dan and Janine Patitucci
With photos gracing the pages of National Geographic Adventure, Rock & Ice and Patagonia to name just three, Dan and Janine Patitucci are definielty some of the most important photographers in the outdoor industry.
The duo have recently moved to Europe in search of different landscapes, fresh ideas and a new approach on the old continent. Here's an insight into the eyes behind the lenses.
PatitucciPhoto has traditionally been based in the States but, as of this year, it has one foot firmly in Europe. Why the move?
We fell in love with the Sud Tirol, in Northern Italy, both for work and fun. Brunico is the perfect all around town for everything we do. We've been searching for 8 years for the perfect place, this is it! The Dolomites are ideal for the sports we photograph and the sports that we, as athletes, perform; cycling, trail running, climbing and skiing.
How is it turning out?
So far it is all positive. Our existing clients know that we spend much of our time working here, they know we understand the locations and sports. This makes us the European source for mountain sports. Because we may provide a different look, a European landscape, advertisers come to us to make photos of their product while magazines have us shoot their European stories.
The only negative aspect might be that the European clients, whom we are working more with, do not pay quite the same as American clients, there seems to be an attitude here that photography should not be compensated for like it is in the US. I think this attitude is changing, and being American allows us to discuss the situation and explain how we typically work.
One other note is that many American magazines are less willing to run European stories right now with the weak dollar, they fear less interest in Europe travel destinations. We have seen a number of assignments get killed last minute due to this concern.
Photography is a tough job. Is the industry different on the old continent compared to America?
There seems to be less competition here amongst the professional photographers. Clients in America typically want the absolute best photography and will pay to get it. In Europe there seems to be more willingness to go with lower rates vs quality work that costs more. American clients are used to paying more, yet they demand more in what is delivered, and a professional photographer needs to operate perfectly on all levels. In Europe, things are more relaxed, our delivery methods and use of technology are often noticed and very much appreciated. These are skills derived from a very competitive US market.Overall, the outdoor industry in both the US and Europe are pretty similar; good people and almost family-like.
What makes a client good or bad?
The best clients are those that give us time and freedom to do our work. They have typically been on shoots and understand how difficult it is to make great imagery. A bad client is someone who understands nothing about photography, the sports, and assumes it cannot be difficult to make great photos. They want amazing ski photos to be made in one day but complain when the sky is white. A truly great client will never show us an image they like before a job, for then a photographer might be fixated on capturing the same image to make the client happy. The great client trusts us, and we will be working together in the first place because they have the confidence in us that we'll provide that special image.
Take us through "a typical day in the office".
Janine does all of our Photoshop work, if we have been shooting a lot she colour corrects all the images and prepares them for print. She delivers all of our stock orders, manages our database and keeps the system working. She is Swiss and so our images and organization are very efficient. Meanwhile I do the marketing, communicate with clients, build submissions and organize the actual photoshoots.
Many would envy you because you're always out in the field. But are you always on assignment? Do you ever leave your cameras behind?
We are shooting in the mountains about 180 days a year, nearly fulltime April-October, much less so in the winter months. Rarely are the cameras lest behind, one camera and lens goes everywhere, we just approach some trips as “for fun”, if an image happens, then of course, we get it. If the camera is left behind we joke that those are the times of rainbows and lighting wonders.
What in your minds makes a good photo?
Something that brings about an emotional response, something that is captured in such a way that makes it not what we normally see. Maybe it is a reminder that there is beauty in all things, the captured moment that we might typically pass by. For me, when I see an image I feel strongly about, it is stirring something inside of me, maybe I want to be there, or I have felt it, or it saddens me, all these things plus being visually compelling, graphic and unique.