Hear It!
An Interview with Ron Chapple

Iofoto, a talented group which consists of an integrated production, graphics, editing and digital team headed by Ron Chapple is in the limelight for this issue of Hear It! Ron fills us in on the tools of the trade and how he works with a bunch of fun and passionate creative crew. Let us find out more...

Photographer: Ron Chapple
Country of Origin: United States

1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis (eg. Cameras, lenses, flash & lighting, photo editing software). Canon 1Ds MII, Hasselblad H3D-39, Hensel Porty, Hensel monolights, Quantum handheld strobes, Arri hotlights, Matthews c-stands, PhotoFlex and Chimera softboxes, Gitzo, Really Right Stuff tripod heads, Mac G5s, Xserve, Xserve Raid, fibre channel, gigabit network. More info: http://www.ronshoots.com/what-gear/

2. What do you think of photography these days?
There's never been a better time to use the photographic medium for personal expression. With lots of options for sharing and selling images, a great photo can easily be made available to a major audience.

3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
I thought I would be a doctor but by the end of high school I was thinking really seriously about photography.

4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
In high school, I learned from a friend how to develop & print B&W films. He lived about 20 miles away, so my prints would wash in a tub on the way home at midnight. After a few weeks of late school nights, my parents figured I was hooked and let me build a darkroom under the basement stairs.

5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
The most important part are the people, not the gear. iofoto has a great team (http://www.ronchapple.com) of photographers and digital artists full of ideas. We avoid mediocrity and have a low threshold for boredom - this keeps us continually exploring new visual territory. We're all about compelling imagery!

6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
?The challenges are the same for any new business - developing the right products, cash flow, choosing the right distributors. Stock photography is much like a manufacturing business. Assignment work is a service business. I had to change how I thought and organized our workflow both from a financial and creative point-of-view.

7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
Shooting stock is a lifestyle. The hardest part is probably balancing life and work since I love to shoot but at the same time, I try to integrate family travel and shoots into the schedule. Growing our business and especially nurturing the creative capabilities of our team are also at the top of the list.

8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
Creative planning is a matrix of trend research, sales data, ideas from our team with a healthy dose of market intuition.

9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?
The iofoto team loves to find new ways to express the classic stock themes. We shoot mostly people and lifestyle with some creative landscapes and still-life along the way.

10. Do you shoot to what your heart tells you or do you go through a complex check list in your mind when you produce your work? Describe the feeling/check list.
Horizontal, vertical, horizontal, vertical, horizontal... No, seriously, we try to work with a shoot list. The best part about stock is that its a continuous process. If the shoot goes in a new, positive, yet unexpected direction, we'll pick up on the shoot list in the next shoot.

11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
Shooting "real" people or allowing a model to be "expressive" is the most rewarding. There's a real creative joy in being part of a collective effort that enables new images to come to life.

12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
Nature is probably the hardest. There's no moving the clouds, or making a rain storm go away. All you can do is postpone the shoot or drive to the next state.

13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
At iofoto, everyone is involved in creating our images. From pre-pro through shooting and digital enhancement, our team shares the creative spirit. Having fun, working hard and challenging the "status quo" are everyday occurrences.

14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
Any person who passionately balances life and work with a high level of integrity is an inspiration - that person can be a musician, an artist, a farmer, or a high-tech entrepreneur.

15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
Every photographer hits a creative wall at times, but the influences are usually external. Simply changing a lens or changing the light can easily jump-start a new creative flow. Our problem at iofoto is the opposite - how do we put enough hours into a day to shoot all the ideas we have!

16. Tell us about a time when inspiration just hits you, and you felt the insatiable urge to create. What did you do with that energy?
Ideas for images should be written down and researched, even if you can't create them at the time. I have pages and pages of ideas that I'm still trying to shoot.

17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
I have learned that every new image creates yet another question, or several questions. Some artists talk about creativity as peeling away a series of layers as an attempt to get to the heart meaning. I see creativity as a process, and a continual re-configuration of its basic elements. Creativity is an unfolding matrix of new ideas, old images and techniques. Every image can explore new visual territory.

18. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
I was inspired early on by the traditional landscape artists such as Edward Weston and Harry Callahan. However, these two photographers also explored portraiture as uniquely as they explored abstract patterns. Emmet Gowin was also a major influence- his black & white images demonstrated how images could not only capture a moment in time, but connect time itself.

19. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting in to stock photography?
First, choose subjects that you feel passionate about shooting. Take the time to perfect your product - both artistically and technically. Then work on all the business aspects from creative research to good financial and legal practices. Don't get in a rush. Good things takes time! Oh yeah, and have fun!

More Hear It! Interviews