| RICHARD A. LATOFF --- PHOTOGRAPHER|
Best known for his brilliantly colored and stunningly energetic images of Washington DC, Richard Latoff is probably the most well known photographer in the region. Over the last 30 years, 10’s of thousands of his prints have been purchased by visitors to our nation’s capitol. These include original prints and a series of posters designed and published for the Smithsonian Institution and The National Parks Service.
Richard Latoff is a native Washingtonian. Born on Capitol Hill in 1949. He remembers the first camera of his life; The family Brownie Hawkeye, which “I was not allowed to touch under any circumstances”. The second was one of the first Polaroid model 95’s, purchased by his uncle; “ the two things I remember the most, the pictures developed in one minute and they smelt funny, like medicine”.
Turning serious about photography in 1975 Rick invested in a Minolta XG7 and sold numerous prints from the first roll he shot with it. “ I beat the living hell out of that XG7 and today its one great paperweight”
The CANON EOS 650 came along in 1987 and went with him on a European tour and the result was his first professional work, including an award winning team photograph of the 1988 Austrian National Ice Hockey Champions, and in the USA, a contract to document the construction of the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC.
In 1989 he went completely NIKON and such firms as Abramson, Conway and Bell Atlantic began hiring Rick to shoot corporate projects. At this time Rick founded the company that developed and manufactures the portable 35mm film based Time-Lapse Camera System that Walt Disney, The GSA, The World Bank and Gilbane Company, to mention a few, use to document major construction projects around the world. “ It replaces a $ 150,000 system with a $ 15,000 system that did a better job”.
Initially using the Nikon F4 and later F5, Rick has produced several defining images of Washington, DC. He has never stopped learning about the Art of Photography. In recent years, he has continued to experiment with new techniques, equipment and materials.
Digital and Digital/Analog processes along with computer tools such as Photoshop “ are simply new colors on the palette”. “ I approach photography more as a painter or as all painters, allowing the images or situation to dictate the technique, not attempting to force my will upon it. With this approach, I always present several styles in one show.”
With experience and recognized knowledge Rick has, in the last few years been asked to lecture and judge at several photographic clubs and societies, including The IMF and World bank. Add to this, credits ranging from national publications such as ENR, Civil Engineering and AW&ST to regional and local news and magazines. The total number of covers is in excess of 200.
Rick’s most recent ventures include the opening of the Latoff Gallery in Alexandria Virginia, documenting the construction of The National WWII Memorial and Producing a documentary and companion book for the Smithsonian and PBS. ”In 2007 I will be putting more time into publishing books and commercial art”
Driving all the commercial operations is the artistic endeavor. That is where the heart is. Rick’s legacy is his art. “This shall survive beyond all and give the future a look into the period when photography made its quantum leap from analog to digital. No time or change in the medium has had such a profound affect, and I am fortunate to be witness and in a position to preserve it for future eyes.”
I believe you will find that Rick’s work bridges the transition between the Analog and Digital worlds. The results being, the best of both and truly enduring. He has ‘The Eye’.