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Behind the Lens With Pat A. Robinson

Behind the Lens With Pat A. Robinson
Pat A. Robinson By

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Meet Pat A. Robinson :
My love for photography began in junior high school, starting with a plastic Kodak film camera, as a means to meet people and start new friendships.

I dreamed that the art of photography would be my life's work. I'm a self-taught photographer. My skills advanced further by taking photography, writing, and taking journalism-related courses and workshops. Coursework led to an internship at the Associated Press under the direction of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Roberto Borea.

My experiences strengthened over time as I gained opportunities to learn my own style, composition, and how light affected a photograph.

Some of my understanding of photography was through looking at photographs and photography books. I like to analyze how a picture was taken. I enjoy looking at the images in photo books by photographers like Gordon Parks, Mary Ellen Mark, W. Eugene Smith, Roy DeCarava, Henri Cartier Bresson and many others.

Their black and white images hooked me and gave me a course to follow. Film directors like Gordon Parks, Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola, Spike Lee, and Brian DePalma also inspired me visually.

Gear:
2-Canon 1D MKIII,1-Canon 7D, lens range from 8mm to 300mm F2.8, Quantum Trio-Canon 580EXII, 3-430ex flashes, Aquatech Sound Blimp.

Teachers and/or influences?
I want to acknowledge, and honor the following people who inspired me to pursue my love for photography: Robert 'Buck' Miller, Pierre Couture (Morrison Portrait Studio), Dal Bayles, Dan Artley, Bob Strong, Carol Greenawalt, Jack Orton, Rick Wood, Clayborn Benson, Gary Porter, Dale Guldan, Roberto Borea, John Vagnoni, and Harry T. Kemp.

I knew I wanted to be a photographer when...


I was in junior high school, as a means to meet people.

Your approach to photography:
Unobtrusive and respectful, combining years of skills to get the image.

Your teaching approach/philosophy:
Keep a camera near you; continue to shoot; learn your functions of your camera; maintain a visual perspective; look around and stay alert for unique photos.

Your biggest challenge when shooting indoor (or low lighted) events:
Low light is a challenge but I manage to make it work out. I use monopods for the heavy lenses, or I'll brace myself and use a breathing technique to keep a sharp image.

Your biggest challenge when shooting outdoor events:
Not being able to get a comfortable or established shooting post, and not having enough time to photograph the artist.

Favorite venue to shoot:
Pabst Theater, Alverno College-Pittman Theater, Chicago Theater, Jazz Showcase,

Favorite festival to shoot:
Chicago Jazz Fest.



Where was your first assignment location?
My first jazz concert was the Alan and Lita Blake and Branford Marsalis Quintet at the Marc Plaza Hotel in Milwaukee. Joe Segal brought the brothers in Milwaukee, and it was cold, but the Marsalises got the hotel hot with their traditional sound.

Your favorite musician(s) to photograph:
Chet Baker, John Coltrane, Stefon Harris, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Art Blakey, Sarah Vaughan...so many to list, because their music is so moving and historic.

Did you know...
Both my parents are hearing impaired.

Your favorite jazz story:
I was a young guy waiting in a long line of autograph seekers at a 1984 Dizzy Gillespie concert in Milwaukee (I was shooting on my own, but did sell some of the images to Jazz Times), when Dizzy's saxophonist, Abdul Al-Khabyyr saw me in the line, pulled me to the front and escorted me to the dressing room where Dizzy was smoking his trademark cigar while being interviewed. I have some great shots (film)—some of which are on display at AAJ!

View more Pat A. Robinson photos at All About Jazz

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