With her first book, "In Between", photographer Jody Rogac shares a collection of portraits that balance the momentary glimpse of the camera with her highly composed sense of style. Working primarily in medium-format photography, her portaits cast her unruffled subjects in moments of genuine poise and grace, beautiful and serene.
As she prefers a very personal, analog process, Jody works intuitively with her subjects to capture them as simply as possible, while crafting contemplative, enduring imagery. Published by Alldayeveryday, with the launch of her book tomorrow at The Newsstand, we spoke with Jody to learn more about her practice, and her release.
The book, "In Between" combines a selection of your personal work, as well as some commercial work you've done. But on the whole, there is such a great sense of style and cohesion to these images. What defines an image that you gravitate towards?
Well, I obviously like to photograph people — whether it’s a portrait, or a fashion shoot. I can’t pinpoint one kind of picture I like to make more than others, like sometimes working with an interesting subject alone can be so rewarding, or sometimes there’s something exciting about a lot of production, working with a stylist, and having it be more staged. But I would describe by style as quiet and unassuming.
Do you have a certain process to taking your photographs?
I think it’s really a quiet and thoughtful process, but it's one that I don’t think about too hard about before I start shooting, especially when I’m working with a lot of people I haven’t met before, you know, that I invite to the studio. But a lot of it is just seeing what happens when you get someone in front of your camera.
What type of camera do you use, and why do you choose medium-format?
I use a Hasselblad camera, which is medium-format — it's the first camera I ever owned, and it's the one I still use today. What I like about the process of shooting in medium-format is that it slows you down — you actually have to look, and think before you shoot. It’s not, oh, snap snap snap, firing off a million images — it's good to really look, and think, before taking a picture.
There seems to be a sense of calm, an organic feeling to your photography. Do your shoots take a long time? Do you feel you're looking for something when capturing a subject?
Not really, I don't usually take too many rolls. And I don’t really believe you that can really “capture” somebody in a picture, for instance. Like, people sometimes say to me, “Oh, you really captured who they are”, but I think that’s impossible. I don’t think I’m really trying to get at anything, other than just really respecting my subject and trying to make a nice picture, as simple as that sounds.
Your portraits have a great sense of composure — a natural, composed energy.
Yes, everyone in the portraits here seem quite serene. And I guess that is something that I do look for — if I’m lucky, I’ll get a picture of someone lost in thought. But I like to direct people, too, into certain positions. I sort of model behind the camera sometimes. But mostly I just tell people to sit comfortably.