profoundly changed the field of photography, certain fundamentals about the process do not change. Today’s point and click pics brought about by iPhones seems to turn everyone into an instant photographer, to which Lulow is quick to point out, “I try to teach people to SLOW DOWN their picture taking. Even with iPhones, it’s necessary to understand the process and concentrate more on the results.”
Lulow closed his Flatiron studio in 1998, but continues to teach photography courses, and has a steady stream of assignments, shooting on location, mainly around the New York City-metro area. “If you are going to photograph people, you have to have an awareness of how they react to the photographic process in general and how to get them to be part of that process! My particular technique is revealed in the various blog articles I publish regularly.”
His focus on photographing people from all walks of life has also taken him full circle. Judy Collins now lives in New York City. Lulow recently photographed her again, over forty years after their first session in Denver, only this time the shoot took place in Beacon, New York. The gig came as a result of Lulow’s relationship with the Town Crier Café and the man who owns it—Phil Ciganer, who is an old-time music entrepreneur cut from the same cloth as the promoter Bill Graham.
Phil Ciganer runs the Towne Crier Cafe with his wife, Mary Ciganer, who is a pastry chef for the restaurant. Founded in 1972, initially in Beekmanville, NY (Pawling, NY), the Towne Crier Cafe has become a landmark venue for fans—and performers—of live music. The performance space is spacious but intimate—what the NY Times called “Down-home access to world-class performers.” The Town Crier has a photo squad that includes Bill Lulow, who was one of their first photographers.
Whether he’s photographing musicians, businesspeople, creatives or people leading ordinary lives, all of the subjects of Bill Lulow’s photos look as though they are on the verge of doing something big. He picks people who he thinks are interesting or up-and-coming. He might hear of their names locally and offers to do photographs for them. One is Scarsdale singer Kelly Flint, who connects film directors with advertising agencies for commercials through her company Strike Media. Another is Americana singer songwriter Susan Kane, who released her fourth CD in 2016.
Some of Bill Lulow’s favorite portraits do include the famous. Vogue’s former Fashion Editor, the iconic Diana Vreeland, didn’t like Irving Penn’s idea of photographing her with a bunch of dummies (mannequins), so she instead posed for Lulow. “I asked her how she was enjoying the Met Museum’s Costume Institute, she made a face and I snapped about 14 sheets of 4x5 film.”
In the famous shot he took of Jerry Garcia, Lulow had asked him how he had prepared for his performances. Garcia told him, “I’m preparing all the time and even during my performances.”
Susan Kane Kelly Flint