Member of the Month November 2017
Limor GarfinkleNovember 1, 2017
Originally from the south of Israel, Limor Garfinkle relocated to New York City after serving in the Israeli military. While in college earning a degree in communications design, she worked for Grey NYC as production studio coordinator, and then had a four-year stint as a senior art director for the ad agency SMA NYC. Mostly self-taught in photography, she began shooting as a wedding photographer but, when given a rare opportunity to shoot global ad campaigns and commercial spaces in Manhattan, she seized the opportunity and ran with it.
These days she’s a commercial photographer working out of NYC shooting interiors. Her new project, “In Focus: The Comedians,” will debut at the TBS Comedy Hub at the Public Hotel on Wednesday, November 8 as part of the 2017 New York Comedy Festival. In honor of her latest Member of the Month nomination, I had a chance to speak with Limor to talk about the new project and her career… here’s what she had to say.
Peter Berberian: What made you first decide you were going to be a photographer?
Limor Garfinkle: I don’t know if there was one thing that made me decide to be a photographer. I always loved experimenting with black-and-white photography back in the film days, and I took a couple of darkroom classes at the School of Visual Arts. I have always enjoyed photographing people and places, and when the recession hit back in 2008, I was out of my advertising agency job and I knew that I couldn’t rely on that industry bouncing back anytime soon.
Deciding to make a career shift, I walked into a local wedding studio and got my first job in the industry as a wedding photographer’s assistant. While assisting, the photographer let me take some shots of the people at the event. When the studio owners saw those photos, they decided to give me a trial-run as a second shooter rather than an assistant. I had to learn quickly on the job, but luckily I was working with some pretty generous photographers at that studio and they were amazing at helping and answering all of my millions of questions. I became obsessed with photography. I drank, ate and breathed photography for a couple of years.
PB: What do you primarily photograph?
LG: For my ‘day job’ I shoot commercial interiors. I work for a really awesome commercial contractor who builds the most amazing spaces in Manhattan. I shoot all the spaces they build, such as Spotify, Warner Music Group, Foot Locker, Havas Worldwide, Vox Media and SYPartners, just to name a few. For the last two years, I have been working on my “Comedians” photo series, so I would say I have been shooting people just as much as commercial interiors.
PB: Do you do anything before a shoot to prepare yourself?
LG: It depends on the type of shoot, but there is always some kind of preparation. If I shoot a space, I make sure to do a walk through before-hand so that I know what I am dealing with, and how much assisting I am going to need.
PB: What is your favorite set up to shoot with?
LG: I have been working with the Nikon D800E. For architecture, my go-to lenses are the 24mm T/S and the 14-24mm Nikon Lenses. For my environmental portraits for the “Comedians” series, I have exclusively been using my 24-70mm Nikon Lens. I can’t do anything without my Hoodman loop—it’s so great for viewing detail on the small screen of the camera. I always shoot on a tripod, specifically my RRS carbon fiber tripod and a Manfrotto gear head.
PB: Who are your greatest influences in the art world?
LG: OMG there are so many! I have always been inspired by Picasso, Kandinsky, Miro, Malachite, Klee, Van Gogh, Monet, Chagall, Matisse, Pollock, DeKooning, Gorky, Dali, Wood, Benton and Hopper, and the list goes on and on.
PB: What is your favorite photography quote?
LG: “It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” —Paul Caponigro
PB: Who are your three favorite photographers?
LG: I love Annie Leibowitz her shots are so elaborate, they are very cinematic, bigger than life. Also, her subjects always seem so alive, she knows how the get the best out of them.
Dan Winters, when I look at his portraits, I find myself lingering over every detail in the shot. I love his posing choices for his subjects. The mood in his portraits is a bit melancholic, there’s something haunting about them. I love the color choices he makes in his editing, and the composition.
Mike Kelley is one of the best architectural photographers out there, I have never met a harder working photographer in my entire life. His work ethic and his photos are very inspiring to me. His personal work is meticulous, he is some kind of a genius. He is also very humble, and would probably kill me for praising him so much.
PB: If you were to do anything else for a living, what would it be?
LG: I would work with a non-profit organization that helps children in need.
PB: What is your favorite photo that you have taken?
LG: I don’t know if I have a favorite. It keeps changing.
PB: How about right now?
LG: I must choose one, I still love my shots from the shoot I did for Spotify a couple of years ago
PB: What is your favorite personal picture that you have taken?
LG: My favorite personal photo is without a doubt a photo of my son. My son hates to be photographed, but I have a deal with him that I will leave him alone year-round, if once a year around his birthday month, he will let me do one official portrait of his. My favorite is always the latest photo that I took of his. But since I don’t share photos of his online, my second favorite would have to be a portrait I shot of my friend Karaminder.