Dina Litovsky is a name most of you will recognize. You’ve likely seen her work in National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, and more. She mainly focuses on social behavior and isn’t afraid to direct her lens on society’s subcultures. Well, we’re thrilled to say Litovsky agreed to give us some of her time and talk about all things photography in this week’s edition of Inside the Photographer’s Mind.
Why Dina Litovsky?
I’ve admired Litovsky’s work for some time. She delivers a unique perspective on human and social behavior. Her work often shows communities in a manner that the public hasn’t seen before. Take her series How the Amish Vacation as an example. Rather than show how they live their life day to day, she documented the Amish community at Pinecraft in Sarasota, Florida, where they commonly vacation. As the world fixates on the daily traditions of communities like the Amish, Litovsky delivers something refreshing by showing how they let go and let their hair down.
On a commercial front, many people will know Litovsky for her celebrity portraits. Dave Chappelle, Bill Clinton, and Sarah Silverman are among the list of celebrities who have posed in front of Litovsky’s lens.
Combined with the awesome work she does with her camera, it’s also what she’s currently doing with her keyboard that’s equally intriguing. Her frequent newsletter has given Litovsky a fresh outlet to express her thoughts and feelings pertaining to photography. As impressive as her photos are, her writing also sits at a high standard, proving she’s made a natural transition into expressing herself with words: something she says has reignited her passion for photography.
Due to her constantly busy schedule, it took a few months before I could sit down and speak with Litovsky. I’m happy to say the time finally came, and the 45 minutes spent with her didn’t disappoint. Here’s what to expect.
Dina Litovsky on Vritual Portraits
Like all of us, Dina Litovsky had to find a way to transition her skills during the pandemic. Known for frequent travel and powerful documentary storytelling, the initial outbreak of COIVD-19 put a halt on what she does best.
After seeing the work of Nikola Tamindzic, the photographer often credited with the birth of remote portraits, Litovsky put her twist on this newly founded genre of photography. In the podcast, Litovsky explains that she finds remote portraits to be more simplified than in-person shoots. In her newsletter, she wrote that remote portraits allowed her to find her “own unified style.” Impressively, one of her virtual photoshoots, in which she photographed Pfizer/BioNTech scientists, landed her on the front cover of TIME magazine.
Litovsky’s thirst for remote photography has since evolved, and she’s now working on a personal project which involves remote street photography. After putting out a request on her socials, Litovsky received in the region of 100 worldwide responses from people willing to help her with her project. The work includes photographing the streets from the viewpoint of people’s windows. It’s still in its infancy, but it aims to create a global portfolio of city views. For more detail, hit play on the audio or video player above.
What Else to Expect
Beyond her recent work, Litovsky and I explore other topics within the photo industry. Discussing her newsletter, Litovsky shares where her inspiration comes from and how she built a loyal following with her words. She also shares thoughts on artist statements. Litovsky explains how she struggles with some of the language used, which can often alienate viewers. I’ve discussed this before and it’s something I describe as elitist language in photography.
We also discuss what makes for a solid documentary project. Digging deep we explore where the balance is between powerful stories and strong, technical imagery.
It’s a fantastic conversation, and anyone looking for insight from world-class photographers should listen in full.
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