I believe Arnold Newman shared Minor White's disdain for discussing the technical details of photography. When Newman was asked about his equipment, he is said to have remarked that nobody ever asked Hemingway what kind of typewriter he used. We photographers probably talk about this stuff so much because it is easier than talking about art. But most of us keep doing it, and some believe that not discussing things technical implies that one has secrets to keep. Far from it, all of my stuff is ordinary, so I will tell all in case anyone cares. Those who are not photographers will probably not be entertained.
DIGITAL OR FILM? My work is photographed on film and mostly printed on conventional photographic paper. I like the look of these materials and enjoy working with them. I'm exploring digital printing, and will likely print some of my color work that way in the future. Beautiful work is produced both ways. Neither is "better."
CAMERAS. When there is time to make a few images deliberately, I love using my Wisner 4x5 view camera. For working quickly and making lots of shots, I use a Pentax 645 medium format camera. For many years, my choice of a 35mm system that I use to go anywhere, work on the street or where great speed and flexibility are important has been the venerable Canon manual focus professional cameras. They are simple, rugged, and provide an enormous repertoire of superb lenses. I'm beginning some new projects in digital with a Canon 5d. Stay tuned!
FILM AND DEVELOPERS. For black and white, I use Kodak Plus-X with strobes, and Kodak Tri-X or Ilford Delta 400, Delta 3200, or HP5+ in available light. I develop Plus-X, Tri-X, and HP5+ in Kodak D-76 or XTOL, and the new Ilford films in Ilford DD-X. I like Tri-X for its gritty reality look, and used it for the Grand Central series. Plus-X, HP5+, and Delta 400 have a smoother, more formal portrait look. HP5+ is a bit grainier and the same speed as Delta 400, but I like it in 4x5, where grain is not a factor, for its phenomenal tonal range. Delta 3200 is for shooting in the dark, or thereabouts. The bartender in Paris, in bar light at midnight, is an example of why I keep this film with me. I use Kodak's Portra family of negative films for all of my color portraits. The NC versions give very natural colors and allow me to use the same films in 35mm, medium format, and 4x5.
PRINTING. I print almost all of my black and white work, using an ancient Beseler 45MXT enlarger on Forte fiber based papers. These papers are very heavy in weight and rich in silver and they are always processed to archival standards. If one of these prints fades even a little while you and I are both alive, I will gladly reprint it free. The paper developer is Kodak Ektaflo type 2, which gives me a little better shadow detail than its more commonly used cousins. I work closely with an expert printer for the color work.
LIGHTING. I prefer simple, natural light. Nothing is better than soft window light if it's available. When the light must be created, I use strobes and reflectors and try to imitate natural light rather than making an image that looks artificial. I used one strobe bounced from an umbrella and one reflector for the self portrait on this page.