About – Q & A with Hal Goodtree

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Q: How would you describe your style?

A: I’d say I’m a documentary-style photographer.

Q: Why not a just a “documentary photographer”?

A: To me, documentary-style suggests photography on location, in ambient light, with non-actors.

Q: So, you’re not a studio photographer.

A: Exactly.

Q: Why not?

A: I like the spontaneity of working on location . I like natural light.

Q: Does that mean you primarily photograph people?

A: Documentary-style can be applied to people, events, landscapes, food… just about anything.

Q: How can you photograph food in a documentary-style?

A: Photographing food in situ, on the table of a restaurant, has a different kind of energy than food in a studio.

Q: Changing topics, what’s your obsession with Magic Hour?

A: I really love taking pictures at twilight. It’s a moment we all observe, but seldom remember.

Q: That can’t be true.

A: Ask anyone the color of the sky and they will say “blue.” But, for at least a few minutes every day, the sky is yellow, purple, green or pink. That’s the world I’m trying to illustrate with magic hour pictures.

Q: You used to be a television producer.

A: Still am.

Q: What kind of things have you produced? Have you worked with any celebrities?

A: I’ve worked at the NFL, for The New York Times, with Cindy Crawford and James Earl Jones.

Q: Do you have any nice shiny awards?

A: The work has been awarded an Emmy for a New York Mets spot and a Cannes Lion for an anti-smoking PSA. In 2015, a film about American Tobacco and the Durham Renaissance won Best Short Documentary at the Longleaf Film Festival.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m prepping another documentary and will be teaching a course in Night Photography at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies.