GREG WILSON'S SIMPLY STUNNING INTERIORS & EXTERIORS
TEXT BY ALICE B. MILLER • IMAGES BY GREG WILSON
The Muses have smiled on Greg Wilson, giving him both the passion and the patience to pursue what he loves most: Architectural photography. Since the late '70s, when he purchased a Nikon F2 and started shooting everything from food to fashion to life style, he has transformed his intuitive connection with building exteriors and interiors into a high art.
Architectural Digest, Florida Design, Traditional Home, Better Homes & Gardens; Florida Realtor, Kurt Lucas, Cohen Creative, Arda-man & Asso-ciates, Clarke Advertising and Public Relations, Bruce Williams Homes, Clifford M. Scholz Arch-itects, M.L. Collingwood Construction, etc. Depending on the client, the goal of the photo will vary. "Builders, for the most part, want to see traffic flow-how one room relates to another. For a decorator or interior design firm, we'll show how the color schemes tie together textures in the fabrics and window treatments.Architects are much more interested in space and shape and graphic line than are the other two and are more interested
"We do quite a bit of aerial work to show scale and the relationship of a property to its surrounding area," adds Wilson.
Yet measures the success of all shoots by the same gauge: When a client looks at the picture and says "Wow!" then I've done my job. I want you to have an emotional experience when you look at that picture. I want you to know what it felt like to stand in that space."
BUILDING TOOLS Wilson takes a pragmatic approach to the film-digital question, selecting whatever will deliver the optimum result. Most often, only large-format will deliver the image size and quality required by his upscale clients. For these shoots, he uses two Sinar 4x5s-a C he bought his used 25 years ago, and
An anecdote illustrates why Sinar is his camera of choice. It seems he was in West Palm Beach trying to get a twilight shot, but the wind was so strong it blew his hair straight back, right into the camera.
"We were shooting 30-second exposures and fully expected to get motion blur. But, when the eight sheets of film were returned, every one was absolutely tack sharp. I attribute that to a real solid Gitzo tripod and my Sinar," said Wilson.
For other clients, Wilson will only shoot with his 6-megapixel Kodak 660 digital SLR. "Since their primary end use is newsprint and economical glossy, the artificial sharpness you get from a digital file makes their imagery jump off the page. They are delighted with it."
"Unfortunately, digital doesn't hold up well for architecture images captured at night or twilight, with long exposure times. Plus, the chip is so much smaller than film that if you're using a 40mm lens on a Hasselblad, it knocks out wide-angle lenses to where we can't use them."
Wilson decided, instead, to buy an Imacon Flextight scanner
So, while he's not moving any further into digital capture at this point, he can't wait for the time he no longer has to deal with film, especially on the road. "I've never had trouble with X-rays, knock wood, because we shoot really slow film. But once that film is exposed, it's the most valuable thing we hold, and we treat it like gold."
SHEER BRILLIANCE How does Wilson achieve the luminescence we see in images throughout this article? His explanation: "When we light a room, we're not finished until we can feel it. It's a matter of working till you've created a
Perhaps surprisingly, these awesome images are just part of the total package he delivers to clients. He also gives them something that's priceless: he makes the project easy for the client. "They tell me what they're trying to achieve and we take it from there. They don't need to know all the problems. They just want an image that will speak well for them and their products."
And no matter where he is, he's usually reachable by cell. One agency remembers calling him when he was getting ready to skydive and how he was able to answer their questions and schedule their job "on the fly." "When they hung up, they knew it would being taken care of. That's huge."