Exploring the History and Relevance of Black and White Images and Timeless Appeal in Modern Photography

In exploring the history and continuing appeal of black and white photography, a quick history is in order. Weissmann Preservation Center at Harvard Library has gathered and printed Harvard’s History of Photography Timeline from 1926 to 2004, a bullet-point list of important moments in photography.

Key stops for all photographers from amateur to professional include:

  • 1851: Frederick Scott Archer introduced the wet collodion process – This innovation in photography required less time for exposure.
  • 1874: Silver gelatin paper becomes commercially available. The widespread use of silver gelatin paper in the 1890s made it the most common black-and-white photographic print process of the 20th century.
  • 1885: French criminologist and anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon introduced the modern mug shot. Taking mug shots provided professional photographers with income.
  • 1888: George Eastman markets the Kodak No. 1 box camera with the slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest.

1900: Eastman Kodak introduced the Brownie camera at the retail price of one dollar, their goal was to sell film and development services.

From Brownie To Black and White Art

The Eastman Kodak Brownie camera made the art of photography accessible to everyone. It is hard to fathom the excitement of the average person to be able to document the history of their lives in crisp black and white glossy printed photographs. In its day, the Brownie was the equivalent of the Apple iPhone with a built-in digital camera.

The Kodak Brownie camera

Michael Grecco may or may not have known the history of photography as a young pre-high-school man who was gifted his first 35 mm camera, but he quickly learned to document history and create art with black and white photography.

Experimenting For Perfection

The joy of taking a picture soon became an obsession in photographic experimentation for young Michael Grecco. The Brownie was the everyman camera, anyone could take a picture. On the other end of the spectrum were 35 mm precision machines that required the operator to calculate the aperture speed based on light and the required effect.

Taking picture after picture and examining the results taught Michael Grecco the fundamentals of framing, and how to use shadows and light long before his days studying with photography historian and photographer Carl Chiarenza, a master of black and white photography. Michael Grecco was fascinated with the light, framing, shadows, and effects of black and white photography.

The Human League photographed by Michael Grecco.

The artistic, documentary, and technical aspects of photography that Michael Grecco learned through experimenting paved the way for the future perfection of his detailed career as a multi-faceted photographer. He has filled roles as a freelance news photographer for the AP and captured the alluring details of the emerging Punk movement from Boston to New York for the music press.

Michael Grecco being helped across a stream by a protester at the Seabrook Nuclear Protests in Seabrook New Hampshire, 1977.

Killing Joke photographed by Michael Grecco.

As his portfolio grew, he captured candid and innovative portrait shots of people in the entertainment and sports industries. He is often a guest of fashion designers unveiling their latest runway creations.

The Timeless Appeal of Black and White Images in the Digital Age

Michael Grecco shares his knowledge on capturing black and white images for the amateur and professional in two books, The Art of Portrait Photography, Creative Lighting Techniques and Strategies, and Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait, the Art of Celebrity and Editorial Photography.

As the digital age matures with the introduction of AI, VR, AR, and the pursuit of other galaxies, the appeal of the interplay of shadows and light expressed in black and white keeps its appeal in modern photography. Michael Grecco is intrigued by the horizon of photography and realizes that the fundamentals he learned shooting with 35 mm black and white film will serve him well in modern photography.

Athletic Photography: Capturing Action, and Emotions Underwater

Athletic photography is regarded as a specialty. Capturing sporting events in motion requires specialized equipment along with a skilled photographer. The difficulties of capturing action and emotions underwater are magnified by the environment.

Capturing the tapestry of nature is an important artistic endeavor of photographers. There are professional photographers who gravitate to underwater nature photography and those who gravitate to human competition in the water. Water offers a kaleidoscope of textures and colors to the photographer that is both an ally and a nemesis.

The unique environment of photography in water presents similar challenges for all photographers who focus on nature as well as sports. Action and emotions permeate both, however, those photographers who set their apertures to photograph the live action of sports are adding instantaneous reactions to their tool belt of skills.

Equipment, Technique, and Skills that Challenge Underwater Photography

The equipment challenges of underwater photography are met by a camera manufacturing industry that competes. To best their competitors there is an inflow of capital, time, and research into developing underwater cameras and the apparatus to use them. Today the underwater photographer has freedom of movement and a choice of equipment that has never been enjoyed for underwater photography.

Photographic equipment available for underwater use includes waterproof cameras, housing, lights, strobes, and the equipment necessary. Everyday sporting events on fields, courts, tracks, courses, and raceways attract thousands of photographers who try to capture a gem among the millions of images that are taken.

Along with learning the intricacies of the latest equipment and its limitations, underwater photographer needs to challenge their own techniques and skills to capture action and emotions underwater.

The skills that shape a photographer are constant. They need to understand and use the interplay between shadow and light, negative and positive, foreground and background, and framing and perspective. These difficult skills are made more difficult to master by the challenge of water and its effect on clarity, distortion of distance, and refraction of light.

Using the Fluid Dynamic of Water to Enhance Action and Emotions

The underwater photographer must recognize the how and why of the fluid dynamic of water and its unique interplay of shadow and light on the subject. Water can be used as a foreground, background, or a combination of both to enhance action and emotion in the underwater photograph.

Michael Grecco has decades of experience beginning with 35 mm black and white photography for leading news organizations. He has developed techniques and skills that are intrinsic, intricate, and essential in creating photographs that join the forces of framing, lighting, and environment.

Each year as he tackles a new discipline in his photographic adventures his understanding of light and shadows, framing, and perspective is sharpened. Whether photographing in black and white, on the field, or in the water, Michael Grecco is skilled at capturing athletic action and emotion.

Capturing actions and emotions underwater requires Michael Grecco to apply his photographic skills to compensate for the environmental challenges that water brings to the photograph. Along with his other photographic accomplishments, Michael Grecco has mastered the art of photography that captures underwater actions and emotions.

Photography in The Fashion Industry: From Runway to Real-Time

The age of the social media influencer and the maturing digital photography age has created a metamorphosis for photography in the fashion industry. Digital photography has transformed the runway presentation for invited guests into a real-time social media event. The blazing speed of digital photography innovations and the meteoric rise of social media changed fashion and photography simultaneously.

From Four Weeks to INSTANT

Fashion designers in the age of social media no longer wait weeks for a handful of influential fashion magazines to print and pass judgment on their latest designs. Today digital photography allows runway shows to be seen and judged not only in real time but also by a vastly expanded audience. Feedback from consumers across social media platforms begins to influence consumer behavior before the model completes its turn on the runway.

Row of professional photographers with digital cameras capturing a fashion event.

In the digital age, everyone always has a camera with them and instant access to commentary. Before the digital age runway fashion shows were photographed by a handful of professionals who were allowed to roam the show. W, Elle, Cosmopolitan, GQ, and other fashion magazines would wait for the pictures from photographers that editors selected for print. It could be as long as a four-week process depending on publication dates. In the era of digital photography and social media, fashion show pictures are nearly instant.

High-Resolution Photography

Everyone is a photographer in their own way in the digital and social media era, just as everyone is a critic with their ability to leave instant reviews. There is still a difference between clicking stars and writing a proper review, just as there is a difference between sharing images on a social media platform and high-resolution photography.

Audience member capturing a runway model with a smartphone at a fashion show.

True, a camera in every hand has revolutionized the fashion show. Runway shows that were once photographed by a handful of professional photographers are now captured by the entire audience. Digital images can quickly be edited with the advanced features of cell phones.

The professional photographer has an advantage with equipment that can capture high-resolution images, edit them, and deliver them instantly. Fashion photographers know the importance of framing, lighting, and angles to capture the intricacies of life in photos. The professional photographer is also skilled and versed in editing techniques. A professional fashion photographer can turn an image into an abstract work of art or a historical image of a time and place.

Fashion for All

The fashion industry embraces the democratized immediacy of instant social media postings by influencers. At the same time, the writers, designers, and publishers of the fashion world look to professional photographers to capture the shows with authenticity. Digital photography and on-the-spot editing software have changed the fashion world.

Fashion designers welcome every person photographers at their shows and most encourage clicking photos. They recognize that a professional fashion photographer is still essential for a successful unveiling of their latest collections. Social media photographers and influencers provide instant coverage, professional photography provides enduring images.

The digital age of INSTANT has declared that fashion is for all.

Storage and Sharing: The Digital Album

Pixels in the Clouds are a storage and sharing solution for digital albums. Once, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the photo album was a memory holder for households and families. A traditional photo album had pages of plastic sleeves that held printed photographs. Album after album, they were filled with pictures of life events, new babies, vacations, graduations, engagement parties, weddings, anniversaries, everyday barbeques, parties, and other days worth photographing.

Unlike this age of smartphones, a photo was an investment, taking one was a decision-based expense. Traditional picture-taking required a camera (not everyone had one), film, development, and time. Film cost varied depending on the quality of the camera, and the number of exposures (pictures) on a roll. Developing (also called processing) was slightly more than the cost of the film with different levels of service.

The Hard Drive Album to The Cloud

The photo album was a practical way to organize, store, and share photos. The evolution was cosmetic rather than innovative. Digital photo storage has kept pace with the innovations of digital cameras and smartphones.

Aside from traditional albums, photos can now be organized by digital albums on mobile devices.

As the cost of the digital camera decreased, their popularity increased. The only way to continue the photo album concept digital memories would have to be printed. For every problem, a solution. Software became available to store, sort, and share digital photos. The virtual photo album took center stage in the world of digital photography. Digital pictures could be stored and shared on computer hard drives, removable disks, and thumb drives. The photo album had a virtual home.

Each innovation in digital photography led to the next generation of storage and sharing solutions. The smartphone with a built-in camera caused an explosion of digital photos. Thumb drives, removable drives, and hard drive storage solutions are limited and cumbersome to share.  The advent of the space age requires cloud storage, a “limitless” virtual photo storage system with ease of access and shareability.

Simply upload photos to the Cloud with your smartphone.

Where to Share

Traditional photo albums required physical presence to share cherished memories with others.  The cloud storage of the digital age comes complete with virtual photo albums that can be shared anywhere. The cloud storage of digital photos can instantly be accessed by social media accounts. It is a practical solution for the explosion of digital photos.

The Digital Photograph Does Not Fade

The digital photography solution has also solved a problem that the film manufacturers either weren’t aware of or just failed to tell consumers that physical photographs fade. The memories may be forever, but physical photos degrade, the color fades, the paper disintegrates and of course, they are susceptible to being lost in floods, fires, and any number of disasters.

Digital cameras are evolving with new technologies. Keeping pace with the innovations of digital photography is storage and sharing platforms. The home television monitor can rotate digital photos accessed from cloud storage. Individual digital photos can be loaded to picture frames or TV monitors on demand.

The storage and sharing of photos have expanded exponentially from hard-bound albums to cloud storage. It is only the beginning of the innovations in the digital photo space as AR, VR, and AI become a fixture of everyday life.

Photojournalism: Capturing Moments in Real-Time

The digital age has had a dramatic impact on the way each person interacts with the world community and photojournalism captures moments in real-time. Photojournalists were early revolutionaries in blazing a trail to capturing and sharing moments in real-time. The Associated Press (AP) were pioneers in shrinking the world by sharing photos of events as quickly as possible using Wirephoto, a technology that they were heavily invested in to capture and share the photos of their freelance photographers around the world.

Wirephoto machine (photo credit: Sandstein)

Photojournalists used carrier pigeons, the Pony Express, the mail, trains, planes ships, and automobiles to send their photos. The Wirephoto changed all that and cut the time between shutter clicks and published photos dramatically. Less than four decades after the introduction of the Wirephoto on January 1, 1935, Michael Grecco became intrigued by his first black and white film camera.

The Camera Shrinks the World

The digital photography revolution coupled with internet technology has made it possible for today’s photojournalists to capture and share moments in real time. It has also opened the opportunity for every person to be a photojournalist among their circle of family, friends, colleagues, and associates thanks to social media.

Photutorial published an article- How Many Pictures Are There (2024): Statistics, Trends, and Forecasts which estimated that by 2030, there will be over 2.3 trillion pictures taken every year. These 2.3 trillion captured moments will document ordinary life along with extraordinary events.

As an AP photojournalist in Boston during the advent of Punk Rock, Michael Grecco captured original everyday life as well as extraordinary concert photos. Those printed black-and-white photos offer a rare glimpse of the punk lifestyle. Unlike the photojournalist in the digital age, the 35 mm photographer did not have unlimited film to capture every moment in time. Framing, lighting, angles, aperture, backgrounds, environments, and subjects were calculated to achieve dynamic artistic photos.

The Cramps photographed by Michael Grecco.

His time as a black-and-white film photographer laid the foundation for Michael Grecco to grow with technology and become a pioneer in the digital age of photography.

Michael Grecco in 1985, seen covering the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Texas, as a staff photographer for the Boston Herald.

Michael Grecco covering an Anti-KKK rally in Boston in 1983. The police had decided to attach the press to get them out of the way, then attack the protesters to remove them.

Instantly Critiquing Captured Moments

A significant impact of growing with the technology that affects the captured moments of Michael Grecco is the ability to instantly critique his own work. No more waiting for hours to see the output. The photographer only has one chance to capture the moments of live happenings such as concerts or events. A digitally captured photo can be viewed, critiqued, and instantly taken again by professional photojournalists.

In the hands of Michael Grecco, a digital device allows him to instantly compensate and adjust how he captures moments in real-time. Mastering the art of photojournalism is a never-ending quest that is constantly expanding by applied technologies. AI, VR, AR, and the maturing space age continue to have a profound impact on photojournalism and its ability to make the world and universe smaller.

New Storytelling

The transformation of photojournalism by the digital revolution is in its infancy. Digital cameras introduced in the 1990s are primitive compared to today’s choices.

New storytelling techniques will be possible in the world of photography as technology expands to include AI, VR, and AR in digital cameras. This will create new challenges for photojournalists and open the doors to ethical questions about staged digital photos presented as reality. Times are a’ changing for photojournalists. What will not change is photojournalists’ commitment to capturing moments in real time.

Digital Photography: A Revolution in Immediacy

Digital photography created a revolution in immediacy, eliminating the wait for film to be processed. In 1970 when Michael Grecco received his first film camera and began his adventure in photography. The process was to buy the film, load the film (be careful not to expose the film), shoot the pictures, unload the film, wait for the film to be developed, and then view the results. Those who had their own or access to a darkroom had a time advantage over other photographers who had to wait up to a week to retrieve their developed film and see the results of their work.

Michael Grecco practiced his skills at the apex of the technological advances in 35 mm dreams. From the mid-1970s through the early 2000s camera and film researchers, developers and manufacturers were introducing technological advances that were changing photography.

Introducing the Digital Camera

In 1995, the digital camera was introduced to the public. Expensive for the average person, the digital camera was soon comparable in price to film cameras. Then in 2000, a cell phone with a built-in camera hit the market. Digital photography, a revolution in photographic immediacy was sweeping the world at light speed.

The falling retail price of stand-alone digital cameras and the increase in technological capabilities of the cell phone camera meant that more people than ever were taking pictures. The immediacy of digital photography fits perfectly with a new way of life that demands instant gratification.

The internet hosted a new form of communication that offered an outlet to the new crop of digital photographers, social media. According to PetaPixel, film photography peaked in 2000 at eighty-five billion photos. However, according to photutoria, around 2.3 trillion photos will be taken every year by 2030.

The Democratization of Photography

The immediacy along with access to digital cameras in every phone has had an immense impact of interest in photography as an art. The digital photography experience offers the instantaneous output that social media requires, it also offers the photographer as an artist instant feedback. Professional photographers shooting athletes, fashion models, products, and landscapes can make instant adjustments to their lighting, angles, lenses, and other technical aspects of their project.

Michael Grecco began his career as an independent news photographer who offered his photos to wire services such as the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI). They in turn would sell the photographs to thousands of newspapers, magazines, and other outlets. Today the citizen photographer armed with a digital camera can fill the role.

Challenges of Digital Photos

The excitement of digital photography has its own challenges. The digital camera has created an oversaturation of the visual landscape. It is increasingly difficult to stand out in the sea of billions of photos per day. The pursuit of the perfect picture can push creativity and spontaneity to the back seat.

The digital camera indeed offers everyone a shot at being a published photographer. Those who are pursuing photography as an artist, documentarian, or history interpreter need to learn the fundamentals of photography. It is essential to learn how lighting affects photos. Michael Grecco offers insight into photographic lighting in two books The Art of Portrait Photography: Creative Lighting Techniques and Strategies , and Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Celebrity and Editorial Photography:

Celebrity Portraiture: Capturing Iconic Moments

Michael Grecco is a perpetual student and recognized expert in celebrity portraitures with an uncanny eye for capturing iconic moments. His three-plus decades of learning and mastering the techniques and innovations of photography give him an uncanny ability to capture the essence of moments.

A portrait is defined as an image of a person or group of people while a portraiture is the art of making portraits. The digital age has an insatiable desire for images, and visuals fulfilled by a camera in every hand. These portraits fill the desire for social media, separate and apart from the art of photography.

Celebrity Portraiture Capturing Iconic Moments- Terri Nunn

Berlin’s Lead Singer Terri Nunn photographed by Michael Grecco.

Celebrity Portraiture Capturing Iconic Moments 2- Maya and Nandy McClean

Twins Australian Singer / Songwriters Maya and Nandy McClean photographed by Michael Grecco.

The Essence

Throughout his thirty-plus-year career as a photographer, Michael Grecco has developed a unique style and discerning eye that has captured iconic moments in history. The art of Michael Grecco relies on his ability to see and capture the essence in his celebrity portraitures.

As a photographer who began as a photojournalist, Michael Grecco appreciates and explores the techniques of capturing essence beyond the physical. These include the use of light, framing, focus, depth of field, aperture speed, and innovations in equipment. He is recognized in photography as an expert in lighting which combines his understanding of the technical as well as artistic.

Celebrity Portraiture Capturing Iconic Moments- Will Smith

Grammy Award Winner American Actor and Rapper Will Smith photographed by Michael Grecco.

Celebrity Portraiture Capturing Iconic Moments- Jane Monheit

American Jazz Vocalist Jane Monheit photographed by Michael Grecco.

The celebrity portraiture delivered from the photography equipment of Michael Grecco captures the spirit, charisma, and allure of the subject that goes beyond the physical into the realm of essence.

The Portraiture Personality

Leonardo da Vinci was captivated by the interplay between light and darkness in his work. The Renaissance technique known as chiaroscuro was pivotal in art. It did not disappear with the Masters of the Renaissance, it evolved as a technique and crossed over to sculpting, photography, cinematography, (Fellini as an example) and even set designs for opera and theater.

Michael Grecco began his life journey of exploring the interplay between light and darkness in his photography at an early age. Like da Vinci, and Fellini, his intrigue with using chiaroscuro continues to this day. The interplay between the dark and light is fundamental in the celebrity portraiture personality art of Michael Grecco.

Celebrity Portraiture Capturing Iconic Moments- Steven Spielberg

Academy Award Winner American Director Steven Spielberg photographed by Michael Grecco.

Celebrity Portraiture Capturing Iconic Moments- Kelly Hu

Chinese-American Actress Kelly Hu photographed by Michael Grecco.

Mr. Grecco has photographed Hollywood legends, music moguls, athletes, models, and a who is who of entertainment industry personalities. Each photograph sets Mr. Grecco apart with his ability to delve deep into the psyche of his subjects, revealing layers of personality. He transcends the superficial glitz and glamour often associated with celebrity photography. Using all the photographic tools in his arsenal, Mr. Grecco aims for a portraiture that encapsulates personality, essence, spirit, and charisma.

Celebrity Portraiture Capturing Iconic Moments- Will Ferrell

Comic Will Ferrell photographed by Michael Grecco.

Celebrity Portraiture Capturing Iconic Moments- Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson

Comedians Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson photographed by Michael Grecco.

The Reality of Fortune and Fame

Mr. Grecco has set himself apart in the world of photography by continually learning and applying new techniques, innovations, and advancements in technology to his craft. After more than three decades he continues to approach each photograph with dedicated enthusiasm. Photography is not just Michael Grecco’s career, it is his life. In a Michael Grecco celebrity portraiture, the viewer is offered a glimpse of the heart, soul, essence, personality, and humanity of the rich and famous.

Photography’s Influence on Modern Advertising: Beyond Just an Image

Photography’s influence on modern advertising goes beyond a moment in time. Beyond just an image, a photograph has the power to tell a story, create a brand, capture a feeling, create desire, and influence the viewer. The photographer is the Influencer of the digital advertising age.

Photography’s Influence in Modern Advertising- Porsche Master Mechanic Charley Folkes

Porsche Master Mechanic Charley Folkes photographed by Michael Grecco.

Photography’s Influence in Modern Advertising- New American Gothic

New American Gothic photographed by Michael Grecco.

The “Golden Age” of advertising is defined as the decades from the 1950s through the 1980s, however its power, and influence, did not end when the year turned 1990. Advertising continued to evolve. Those that are familiar with the American Television series “Mad Men” where treated to a “behind the scenes look at the boom time of the ad men.

In New York City, the glamour of the ad agencies and the people behind the ideas became a culture onto itself that was mimicked in every city and town across the USA and throughout the world. It began as the era of the grey flannel suit, the two-martini lunch and advertising men pushing businesspeople out of the spotlight in financial news. This gave way to the decadence of a counterculture that revolutionized society and all forms of art including photography. The process continues.

Photography Advertisers the Advertising

The lead character in Mad Men, Don Draper was a composite of the people who glamorized the sales pitch. The army of ad execs who inhabited Madison Ave and similar districts around the world took the ordinary and turned them into the extraordinary that people did not need but were made to want by advertising.

Photography’s Influence in Modern Advertising- Andre Da Silva

Actor Andre Da Silva photographed by Michael Grecco.

Photography’s Influence in Modern Advertising- Young Hippy Hula Hoop Dancer

Young Hippy Hula Hoop Dancer photographed by Michael Grecco.

Beyond the ad script and pitch, the ad men of the 1950s through the 1980s relied on the images that were the prime focus of the ad. For this they relied on photographers who were also evolving in their storytelling power.

The Story as a Picture

“Every picture tells a story”, and “A story is worth a thousand words.,” are cliches that drip truth. Photography’s influence on modern advertising goes beyond image to the photographer’s gift to create and tell a story in moments captured in time. Michael Grecco has developed and refined the gift of storytelling through photography by embracing its evolution.

Photography’s Influence in Modern Advertising Arcona Skin Care CEO Jenae Chanel

Arcona Skin Care CEO Jenae Chanel photographed by Michael Grecco.

Photography’s Influence in Modern Advertising- The “Soap” Twins

The “Soap” Twins, Cape Town, South Africa photographed by Michael Grecco.

Photography’s Influence in Modern Advertising- Happy Acura Car Owner Campaign

Happy Acura Car Owner Campaign photographed by Michael Grecco.

Michael Grecco learned the craft of photography by rising through the ranks as a photojournalist telling a story with each click of the shutter. Newspapers and magazines were the beginning of turning the craft of photography into a lifetime pursuit of the art of photography for Mr. Grecco.

Photo to Art, Art to Photo

From his early days of selling photos of news events to the Associated Press (AP) Michael Grecco became captivated with the nuances of lighting, framing and storytelling. Every photo he shot was a captured moment and an experiment in photographic excellence.

Photography’s Influence in Modern Advertising- Mindfulness

Mindfulness photographed by Michael Grecco.

In the late 1960s Andy Warhol grabbed the golden ring of fame for turning the art of still photographs into art. Today, Michael Grecco, a Photographic Influencer in the heart and soul of the digital age is melding his photographs to tell stories, create desire, influence, and push the boundaries of commercial advertising as art. Michael Grecco is redefining the focus of photo to art and art to photo.

Breaking the Mold: Creative Experimentation in Professional Photography

Photography has been a passion for Michael Grecco since the age of twelve, and this passion grew as he started doing creative experimentation in professional photography later on. He turned his first 35mm camera into a lifelong passion for creative experimentation of photographic techniques and innovations. Less than a decade after receiving his first camera Michael Grecco became a “stringer”, a freelance photographer for Associated Press (AP). Stringers were only paid for the photos that the AP considered good enough for publication. It was the ultimate test of shooting photographs that were a cut above the rest.

Poet Barry Yourgrau photographed by Michael Grecco.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, cast of the X-Files cross-processed photographed by Michael Grecco.

In photography, it sharpened the lens for the pursuit of excellence. It meant breaking from traditional framing and lighting and developing innovative techniques that would be noticed above the dozens of other stringers who were turning in photos. During these early days, Michael Grecco experimented with lighting, framing, and unique angles when shooting photographs. His style was noticed, and he moved up the ladder. He was hired as a staff photographer at a Boston newspaper, rock magazine, and radio station.

Lighting, Lenses, Developing and Framing

Each new career opportunity enabled him to creatively experiment with different lighting techniques, new lenses, innovations in processing and film. Michael Grecco was breaking the mold with each advancement as a professional photographer. From capturing news events to documenting the early days of punk, each adventure in lighting techniques, advancements in equipment, developing techniques and framing the shot was the creative experimentation in professional photography that would set the next challenge.

Musician Al Jourgensen of Ministry photographed in Austin Texas by Michael Grecco.

Image shot for and at Smashbox Studios photographed by Michael Grecco.

Today in the world of photography Michael Grecco proudly wears the moniker “Master of Lighting”. Throughout his long storied career Michael Grecco has combined an experimental approach to perfecting the technology of professional photography. His personal artistic vision leads him to explore all the genres and applications of his passion of professional photography.

From news to pizza ads starring iconic country stars, Michael Grecco is equally at home photographing, high fashion, action sports, advertising and the depths and nuances of life and the universe. He embraces the challenges of creative experimentation in new technology, lighting, lenses, camera equipment, framing and presentation and whatever technology will offer next.

Al Jourgensen of the band Ministry photographed by Michael Grecco.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson of the X-Files photographed by Michael Grecco.

The Photographic Signature of Michael Grecco

Michael Grecco continues to challenge himself and his vision to experiment with all the tools that a professional photographer can use in the era of technological advancement. Using a drone, computer, telescope, satellite, or old-fashioned box camera are all part of the photographic signature of the creative experimentation in professional photography by Micheal Grecco.

Guitarist Al Jourgensen of Ministry photographed by Michael Grecco.

Mr. Grecco sees no limits to the boundaries that have opened in the art of photography by technology. VR, AR, and AI are all challenges in breaking the mold by using creative experimentation in professional photography. Michael Grecco looks forward to embracing them all and integrating them into the art of creative experimentation in professional photography.  

The Art of Environmental Portrait Photographs – Telling Stories Through Spaces

Michael Grecco tells stories through spaces in his environmental portraits. Early photographers were at the mercy of technology. It was a case of tools limiting artistic vision for the earliest photographers. The size of the camera, the film, development, and printing techniques all had to be considered by the photographers of the 1880s who shot stoic portraits. The earliest steady work for the photographers in the 1880s was taking portraits for the law, today known as mug shots.

Actor Martin Landau when he won the Oscar for the movie Ed Wood, by Michael Grecco.

Actor Lucy Liu shot for People Magazine by Michael Grecco.

Each technological advancement in photography, equipment, developing, printing, and displaying it added new layers for the photographer to explore. The staple of photography, the portrait went from historic to artistic. Trained photographic technicians could capture clear law enforcement, school, or family portraits. The photographic artist, visionary and innovator turned stoic portraits into the art of the environmental portrait.

It took the eye of an artist to use the tools, techniques, and technology of photography to advance photographs to the realm of telling stories through spaces.

Comedian and actor Mel Brooks photographed for People Magazine by Michael Grecco.

Environmental Portraits

Cutting his teeth as a news photographer at the pinnacle of the era, Michael Grecco developed a unique style of freezing moments in time. Through the lens of his camera Mr. Grecco saw his job as a storyteller with photos. This included capturing the subjects of his photos in the spaces that they inhabited. Over the decades he has mastered this technique which has become known as environmental portraits.

Surfer Howard Devon shot for Business Week photographed by Michael Grecco.

Director Martin Scorsese on his “perch” in New York City, photographed by Michael Grecco.

The photo above captures a quiet moment with the iconic director Martin Scorsese. Here, Scorsese stands on a rooftop, his gaze over New York City, a place that’s as much a part of his story as his films. The city’s buildings rise around him, not just as a backdrop, but as silent witnesses to his remarkable journey in cinema.

Comedian and host Chelsea Handler by Michael Grecco.

Houda in Death Valley by Michael Grecco.

The choice of environment becomes an integral part of the story. Mr. Grecco uses the environment not to frame the subject but to harmonize, complement and tell stories with its inclusion. His earliest work as a photographer who documented the beginnings of punk afforded him a rich environment to tell stories through the spaces of his photography.

Artistically Technical

Porsche Mechanic photographed in Beverly Hills by Michael Grecco.

Comic actor Steve Martin photographed by Michael Grecco.

Michael Grecco has developed all the technical tools of a professional photojournalist and applied them to creating artistically technical environmental portraits. The classic skills of a professional photographer are evident in the art of Micheal Grecco. Lighting, framing, and depth of field all contribute to the artistically aesthetic photos Mr. Grecco produces across an array of applications.

Houda in Death Valley, California, photographed by Michael Grecco.

The above photo is from the advertising portfolio of Michael Grecco, on its own it is art. The subjects and environments harmonize and contrast to fill spaces with stories beyond background and framing. Michael Grecco applies his love of artistically technical environmental portraits to tell the stories in the spaces that he sees through the eye of his camera in every genre he undertakes.

The Intersection of Photography and Technology: Embracing Innovation

In the ever-evolving world of photography, the one constant has been change, driven by leaps in photography and technology. From the days of the darkroom to the digital age, photography and technology has expanded the horizons of what’s possible in photography. Today, as we stand at the forefront of a new era marked by drones, AI, and mirrorless cameras, photographers like Michael Grecco are at the vanguard, embracing these changes to push the boundaries of their art.

Drones: A New Perspective

Drone photography has revolutionized the way we capture images, offering a bird’s-eye view that was once the sole purview of helicopter or plane photography. For Grecco, drones have opened up a new dimension in his work, allowing him to capture landscapes and cityscapes from mesmerizing angles. The ability to shoot from elevated vantage points has given his work a new depth, adding a layer of grandeur to his already impressive portfolio.

A drone hovers above Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado taking photos from above. Photography by Colin Lloyd.

AI-Assisted Editing: The Future of Post-Production

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made its way into the photographer’s toolkit, offering tools that can significantly reduce editing time while enhancing creativity. AI-assisted software can now sort, tag, and even edit photographs based on learned preferences. Grecco leverages these tools to streamline his workflow, focusing more on the creative aspects of his work. The precision and efficiency offered by AI have enabled him to experiment more freely with his images in post-production.

The Rise of Mirrorless Cameras

The transition from DSLR to mirrorless cameras marks a significant shift in photography. These cameras are lighter, faster, and offer better video capabilities, making them ideal for photographers on the move. Grecco has embraced this technology, appreciating the compactness and versatility of mirrorless cameras. The reduced weight does not come at the expense of image quality – a crucial factor in professional photography.

Staying Ahead in a Digital World

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying relevant means staying adaptable. Grecco’s approach to embracing technological advancements is not about jumping on every new trend but about understanding how each innovation can enhance his artistic vision and storytelling. It’s about finding a balance between new tools and timeless techniques.

Technological advancements have not only changed the tools of the trade but also the way photographers approach their craft. In the hands of a master like Grecco, these tools become an extension of the artist’s vision, enabling him to explore new creative territories while maintaining the essence of his art.

In the realm of photography, understanding and leveraging the latest technological advancements goes hand in hand with mastering the art of composition. Techniques like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing are foundational skills that remain vital, no matter how advanced the equipment gets.

Are you looking to harness the latest in photography technology for your next project? Michael Grecco combines his mastery of traditional photographic techniques with a keen understanding of cutting-edge technology to deliver stunning, contemporary results. Whether it’s a high-end advertising campaign or a personal project, his expertise can help elevate your vision. Connect with Michael Grecco at (310) 452-4461 or info@grecco.com to explore how the latest photographic innovations can bring your creative ideas to life.

Capturing Emotion: The Art of Storytelling in Photography

Photography, at its core, is more than just a mere click of the shutter – it’s a powerful storytelling tool. It’s about capturing moments that speak, breathe, and feel. A great photograph can tell a story, evoke emotions, and transport the viewer to another place and time. In the hands of a master like Michael Grecco, the camera becomes a storyteller, weaving narratives through light, shadow, and emotion.

Quentin Tarantino photographed by celebrity photographer, Michael Grecco.

Gwen Stefani from No Doubt photographed by Michael Grecco.

The Language of Light and Shadow

One of the first tools in Grecco’s storytelling arsenal is his masterful use of light and shadow. Light shapes the mood of the image, subtly guiding the viewer’s eye to the heart of the story. Shadows, on the other hand, often add depth and mystery, compelling viewers to look deeper. Grecco’s skilled manipulation of these elements helps to set the tone of his narratives, whether it’s a dramatic, high-contrast scene or a softly lit, intimate moment.

Steven Reddicliffe photographed by Michael Grecco.

Carmen Electra photographed by celebrity photographer Michael Grecco.

Framing the Emotion

Composition and framing are pivotal in Grecco’s work. By thoughtfully composing each shot, he creates a frame that not only captures the subject but also encapsulates a whole spectrum of feelings. The use of leading lines, the rule of thirds, and strategic framing techniques are more than compositional choices; they are narrative decisions that enhance the emotional impact of his photographs.

Mel Brooks photographed by celebrity photographer, Michael Grecco.

Hugh Hefner photography by celebrity photographer, Michael Grecco.

The Authenticity of the Moment

Grecco’s approach to storytelling is also grounded in authenticity. Whether it’s a candid shot or a conceptual piece, he strives to capture the genuine essence of the subject. His images are not just about the physical appearance of the subjects but their inner stories, emotions, and truths. This authenticity makes his photographs not just visually striking but emotionally resonant.

Google Founders photographed by Michael Grecco.

Martin Scorsese photographed by celebrity photographer Michael Grecco.

From Vision to Reality

The journey from artistic vision to a compelling photograph is a delicate balance. Grecco’s work exemplifies how a photographer’s unique perspective can bring a narrative to life. He often collaborates closely with his subjects, understanding their stories, and then articulating these through his lens. This collaboration is key to creating images that are both true to the subject’s narrative and reflective of Grecco’s artistic vision.

Penelope Cruz photographed by Michael Grecco.

Will Ferrell photographed by celebrity photographer, Michael Grecco.

Mastering the Art of Photographic Storytelling

For budding photographers, mastering the art of storytelling through photography is a journey of constant learning. It involves not only technical skill but also an understanding of the emotional language of images. By studying the works of masters like Grecco, photographers can learn how to use composition, light, and authenticity to tell compelling stories through their lenses.

Steve Martin photographed by Michael Grecco.

Will Ferrell photographed by Michael Grecco.

In the realm of photography, the ability to weave a story through images is a powerful skill. If you’re looking to bring the narratives of your brand to life through photography, Michael Grecco has the expertise and artistic vision to transform your concepts into impactful images. His experience in capturing the essence of a story through his lens makes him an invaluable asset for any campaign. Connect with Michael Grecco at (310) 452-4461 or info@grecco.com to begin crafting visual stories that resonate and engage.

Mastering Light: Advanced Lighting Techniques for Dynamic Photography

In the world of photography, light is more than just a necessity for exposure; it’s the brushstroke of an artist. Master photographers like Michael Grecco understand that light, when skillfully used, can transform a good photograph into a masterpiece. It’s about more than just illuminating the subject; it’s about setting the mood, creating depth, and sculpting the image.

LaDainian Tomlinson photographed by Michael Grecco.

  1. Understanding the Quality of Light

Light comes in various forms – hard, soft, natural, or artificial. Grecco’s mastery lies in his understanding of light’s quality and how it interacts with the subject. Hard light creates strong shadows and contrast, often used to convey drama or intensity. Soft light, on the other hand, is diffused, reducing shadows and giving a more even tone, perfect for portraits where a more delicate touch is required.

David Crosby photographed by Michael Grecco.

  1. The Color of Light

The color temperature of light can drastically alter the mood of a photograph. Grecco often plays with warm and cool tones to evoke different emotions. Warm light can create a feeling of comfort and intimacy, while cool light can convey bleakness or detachment. His precise control of color temperature helps in setting the tone of the photograph right from the outset.

Andy Pettitte photographed by Michael Grecco.

  1. Direction and Angle of Lighting

The direction from which light hits the subject can completely change the narrative of the image. Side lighting can emphasize texture and depth, while backlighting can create a silhouette, adding mystery or drama. Grecco’s adept use of lighting angles helps in highlighting the best features of his subjects or creating the required dramatic effect.

Kate Somerville photographed by Michael Grecco.

  1. Light Shaping Tools

Grecco’s studio is a playground of light shaping tools like softboxes, reflectors, grids, and gobos. Each of these tools serves a purpose – from softening the light to creating patterns or directing the light to a specific area. His expertise in using these tools allows him to sculpt the light in a way that it becomes integral to the storytelling of the photograph.

Big Apple Fashion photographed by Michael Grecco.

  1. The Dance of Shadows

Equally important in Grecco’s work is his understanding of shadows. Shadows can add depth, dimension, and drama. They can be as expressive as the light itself, and Grecco uses them to add layers to his narrative, often using shadows to subtly draw attention to or away from certain elements of the image.

Vancouver WS Photographed by Michael Grecco.

In every photograph Michael Grecco takes, there is a deliberate consideration of how light and shadow play together. He crafts each image with the precision of a painter, understanding that the way light falls and shadows cast can make all the difference.

Will Smith photographed by Michael Grecco.

The art of using light is akin to the importance of composition in photography. Just as the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing guide the viewer’s eye, lighting too directs the viewer to the heart of the image. It’s an essential skill for any photographer looking to elevate their craft.

Are you inspired to explore the dynamic world of lighting in photography? Whether you’re aiming to add depth to your portraits, drama to your landscapes, or a distinct mood to your commercial shoots, Michael Grecco has the expertise to guide you. With his deep understanding of lighting and composition, he can help you transform your visions into compelling images. Connect with Michael Grecco at (310) 452-4461 or info@grecco.com to begin your journey into the art of light in photography.


The Evolution of Portrait Photography: From Classic to Contemporary

Portrait photography, an art form steeped in history, has continually evolved, reflecting the changing tapestry of society and the ever-advancing technology of the camera. From the rigid, stoic poses of early daguerreotypes to the dynamic, storytelling images of today, this genre has witnessed a remarkable transformation, adapting to cultural shifts and artistic trends.

Robert Duvall photographed by Michael Grecco.

The Classic Era: A Study in Formality

In its early days, portrait photography was an exercise in formality. Long exposure times required subjects to remain still for several minutes, often resulting in stiff, unsmiling portraits that were more a record of appearance than an expression of personality. The focus was on clarity and detail, with photographers often employing painted backdrops and elaborate costumes to convey status and elegance.

Jason Schwartzman photographed by Michael Grecco.

Lucy Liu photographed by Michael Grecco.

The Transition: Capturing the Candid

As technology progressed, so did the art of portrait photography. The introduction of faster film and more sensitive cameras allowed photographers to capture their subjects in more natural, relaxed poses. This shift marked the beginning of candid photography, where the emphasis moved from how people wanted to be seen to capturing them as they truly are.

Richelle Fox photographed by Michael Grecco.

Bradley Schumacher photographed by Michael Grecco.

Contemporary Portraiture: A Tapestry of Stories

Today, contemporary portrait photography is a rich tapestry of styles and approaches. It’s no longer just about capturing a likeness; it’s about telling a story, conveying an emotion, and revealing the essence of the subject. Contemporary portraits can be candid and raw, stylized and conceptual, or anything in between. Photographers like Michael Grecco have mastered this art, using their unique vision to create images that resonate with depth and authenticity.

Arnold Schwarzenegger photographed by Michael Grecco.

Jane Monheit photographed by Michael Grecco.

Michael Grecco’s Vision: Blending Past and Present

In his approach to portrait photography, Michael Grecco seamlessly blends classic techniques with modern trends. His work is characterized by a deep understanding of lighting and composition, coupled with an intuitive sense of his subjects’ personalities. Whether he’s capturing a high-profile celebrity or creating a personal portrait, Grecco’s photos tell a story that goes beyond the surface, inviting viewers to connect with the subject on a deeper level.

Steven Spielberg photographed by Michael Grecco.

Composition in Portrait Photography

In any era, the key to a compelling portrait has always been composition. Techniques like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing are not just artistic choices; they are tools to draw the viewer’s eye, to focus on the subject, and to convey a message or emotion. Masters of portrait photography leverage these techniques not only to create visually pleasing images but also to add layers of meaning and narrative to their work.

Martin Scorsese photographed by Michael Grecco.

Whether you’re an aspiring photographer looking to hone your craft or a brand seeking a powerful visual story, the art of portrait photography offers endless possibilities. If you want to capture the essence of your subject with a contemporary twist, Michael Grecco is the photographer to call. With his expertise in blending the classic with the contemporary, he can bring your vision to life in a way that resonates with today’s audiences. Reach out to Michael Grecco at (310) 452-4461 or info@grecco.com and take the first step towards creating a portrait that’s not just seen, but felt.


Digital Revolution: How Technology Transformed Photography

The click of a shutter, the whirl of film advancing, and the magical anticipation of waiting for a photograph to develop—these were once integral elements of the photography experience. Today, however, the rapid digital revolution has drastically reshaped the realm of photography, ushering in a wave of transformative changes and propelling the art form into uncharted territories.

From its inception, photography was a delicate ballet of light and chemicals. The process of capturing and then developing images required a meticulous touch, knowledge, and often, patience. Then came the digital age, and with it, a seismic shift from the tangible to the virtual, from analog grain to digital pixel.

1. The Dawn of Immediate Gratification
Perhaps one of the most evident changes ushered in by digital photography is immediacy. Gone are the days of waiting for film rolls to be developed to see the results. Today’s photographers can instantly view, evaluate, and if necessary, retake shots on the spot. This speed has democratized photography, allowing more people to try, learn, and refine their skills in real-time.

2. Photojournalism: Capturing Moments in Real-Time
In the realm of photojournalism, the digital revolution has had profound implications. Journalists can now transmit images from remote locations in moments, bringing global events to viewers with unparalleled immediacy. This swiftness has, in many ways, made the world feel smaller, more connected, and more informed.

3. The Fashion Industry: From Runway to Real-Time
Fashion photography, too, has experienced a metamorphosis. Digital photography allows for quicker turnarounds, enabling images taken at fashion shows to be shared in real-time, directly influencing trends and consumer behaviors. Moreover, with the rise of photo editing software, the presentation of fashion has become more polished, curated, and occasionally, contentious.

4. Portrait Photography: The Age of Retouching
With digital tools at their fingertips, portrait photographers can not only correct imperfections but also create the “perfect” image, sometimes pushing the boundaries of authenticity. This power of retouching has reshaped societal perceptions of beauty and sparked dialogues about realism versus idealism in portraits.

5. Advertising: Tailoring the Narrative
Digital photography has allowed advertisers to be more versatile and reactive. Brands can now swiftly adjust campaigns, tailor images to specific audiences, and engage with consumers in a more personalized manner. The ability to modify and adapt images efficiently has revolutionized how products and services are marketed to the masses.

6. Storage and Sharing: The Digital Album
Physical photo albums, though nostalgic, are becoming relics of the past. Digital storage solutions like cloud platforms have made it easier to store, categorize, and share memories. Social media platforms, fueled by digital photography, have transformed the way we share and consume images daily.

While the digital revolution has undoubtedly brought myriad benefits, it’s also worth acknowledging the nostalgia and authenticity associated with analog. There’s an inherent charm in the grains of a film photograph, the weight of a camera, and the magic of a darkroom.

Yet, as we stand at this intersection of the past and future, one thing remains clear: the essence of photography, whether analog or digital, is the story it tells. And as technology continues to evolve, so too will the stories we capture and share.

Are you ready to embark on your own digital photography journey, or perhaps refine your existing skills in this ever-evolving landscape? Contact Michael Grecco today. As an award-winning commercial photographer with a deep appreciation for both analog and digital realms, Michael is poised to help you navigate the world of photography. Reach out at (310) 452-4461 or via email at info@grecco.com.

The Luminous Legacy of Light Painting: An Odyssey Through Time and Artistry

Photography, as an art form, has never been bound by the limitations of convention. Throughout history, each generation of photographers has left its own indelible mark, pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. Among the myriad techniques they’ve introduced, one stands out for its sheer magic and mystique: Light Painting.

From its nascent days, light painting has evoked wonder. It’s not just about capturing light but orchestrating it, choreographing a ballet of photons dancing across a canvas of darkness. The result? A symphony of colors, shadows, and patterns, each telling a story more enchanting than the last.

In the modern era, we’ve seen artists like Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu redefine the boundaries of light painting. While many think of drones merely as tools to capture aerial vistas, Wu utilizes them as brushes of illumination. Traveling to the far reaches of the planet, he employs drones not to shoot from the sky but to paint it with luminance. His landscapes, bathed in the ethereal glow from high-flying drones, tell tales of unknown places, reminiscent of scenes from a sci-fi movie, evoking feelings of wonder and the vastness of the universe. His work blends influences ranging from science fiction to 19th-century romantic painting. The Terminus project stands testament to his prowess and innovation. Capturing rapidly disappearing glaciers at an altitude of 17,000 ft in Peru, Wu not only documents the beauty of these icy titans but also captures their fleeting existence in our changing world. Reflecting on this project, Wu noted the dichotomy of his feelings, torn between the majestic scale of the glaciers and the somber reality of their decline.

But what stands paramount in the history of light painting is the groundbreaking tool: the Hosemaster. Pioneered by the legendary American photographer Aaron Jones, the Hosemaster wasn’t just a light painting generator; it was a wand of wonder. In Jones’ gifted hands, this device could manipulate, mold, and manifest light in ways previously deemed impossible. It’s no exaggeration to say that Aaron Jones, with his Hosemaster, reshaped the very paradigms of artistic photography.

Today, while technology has evolved and digital tools offer a myriad of options, the essence of light painting remains unchanged. It’s about the dance of light and darkness, the balance of brilliance and obscurity, the tale of shadow and luminescence. And at the heart of this tale, there’s always a nod to pioneers like Aaron Jones and Reuben Wu, for they showed the world the endless potential that lay in the interplay of light.

As we stand on the threshold of yet another artistic renaissance, there’s an invitation for every aspiring photographer to delve into this magical world. The journey of discovery, creativity, and innovation beckons. And remember, every masterpiece starts with a single beam of light.

Eager to cast your own luminescence in the world of photography? Let a seasoned professional guide your vision. Contact Michael Grecco today. With unparalleled expertise and an eye for the extraordinary, he’s your gateway to the enchanting universe of light painting. Reach out now at (310) 452-4461 or info@grecco.com and illuminate your photographic dreams.