"Johnny's a friend and I was shooting the movie campaign images for the Pirates of the Caribbean," he said. Gorman tried out the 1Ds on Depp and loved the results. The final images were of a completely digital Depp.
"Shooting digital today really frees me up," said Gorman. He's gone from having 13 setups per one shoot to two to three. "The time it takes for a shoot is only 30 percent of what it used to be," he added. It also gives him the flexibility to see what images look like in both black and white and color, he said.
Singer Michael Jackson, Gorman explained, is one of his favorite subjects to photograph. The two talked on the phone for hours about an upcoming shoot. When Jackson arrived at a shoot he "had all these ideas for it written down of scrap pieces of paper. This makes for a great shoot," said Gorman. Digital technology allows Gorman to indulge his clients' ideas as there isn't time wasted with set changes and worries about low light.
Like many professionals, Gorman fell into this particular niche by doing head shots. From the start, he favored "tight-in" shots. His style emerged by taking a few personal shots.
"At the end of a shoot, if I had gained their trust and we had a good relationship, I would ask them for a personal picture for me," he said, adding that's when he would experiment and produce some of this best work.
Digital has become so vital to Gorman because in his work, he looks at "keeping the inner play of light as the key component." And digital, "sees low light," he explained. With neutral light , he sometimes uses reflectors, he told the crowd, and has a minimalist approach to backgrounds.
A proponent of ambient light, he enjoys experimenting with window light. Sometimes, he uses milk glasses on the window sills to create a light box effect or places a beautiful silk over the window for more muted tones.
Gorman believes in digital's role in the future and explained to the audience that it is important that he educate his clients about its benefits.
"If I shoot half the shots in film and the other half in digital, the subject will always choose the digital images," he said.
An added bonus to being in this portraiture niche is that many of the subjects are pro camera junkies themselves. He swaps tips with the likes of Harrison Ford, Donald Sutherland and other actors.
Not a bad gig.