The master filmmaker had a cameo role in the education of the master photographer. As a student at the American Film Institute, Greenfield-Sanders landed a job photographing the guest lecturers for the school's archives. It just so happened the speakers went by names of Bette Davis and Alfred Hitchcock.
"Hitchcock didn't like the way I was lighting the room," Greenfield-Sanders recounted. "He invited me out to his studio and introduced me to his lighting guys."
Likewise, Davis taught the young photographer to never shoot a subject from below. "She said 'Drive me around for a few days and I'll teach you things,' and so I drove with her."
From these extraordinary experiences, Greenfield-Sanders moved from filmmaking to still photography and became one of the preeminent portraitists in the industry. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery among many others. He's in high-demand by patrons of fine arts as well as by leading publications worldwide. His portraits are a Who's Who of distinguished actors, directors, musicians, artists, politicians, and former presidents.
His stature as one of the foremost photographers earned him an invitation to exhibit at the acclaimed Museo Carlo Bilotti in Rome, Italy. He was humbled by the opportunity. The museum's first two exhibitions featured painters Damien Hirst and Willem de Kooning, both of whom Greenfield-Sanders has photographed.
"For this show, it was essential that I used the latest technology to produce photographs worthy of the Museo Carlo Bilotti," he explained. He wanted to exhibit 50 black-and-white and color prints up to 56 inches wide by 72 inches high. He knew, to accomplish this he needed a breakthrough digital printing solution that could produce all the detail his images are known for in very large sizes.
He teamed with Nash Editions, the fine art digital printmaking studio, and Epson to print these images using the newly announced Epson Stylus Pro 11880 wide-format ink jet printer.
"The audience was stunned by the quality of the prints," said Greenfield-Sanders. "I always liked traditional prints but there were too many constraints on size, or the quality suffered when going to large sizes. With the Epson Stylus Epson Pro 11880, my photographs have tremendous detail at incredible sizes that create the sense of three-dimensionality."
Using a rare 11"x14" view camera as well as an old wooden 8"x10" Deardorff, Greenfield-Sanders' hallmark is conveying the "intellectual confidence" of his subjects through simple facial expressions shown in captivating detail. "I like it when my subjects feel I reached inside them and captured some quality they are proud of," said Greenfield-Sanders.
Examples include a mischievous Bill Murray, a contemplative John Malkovich, an elegant Rachel Weisz, and a humorous Rose McGowen.
The exhibit marks the debut of Greenfield-Sanders' portraits of directors, notably Martin Scorcese, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Mike Nichols, Spike Lee, John Waters, Wes Anderson, and Darren Aronofsky.
"I look at these prints and I don't see photographs," said Greenfield-Sanders. "I see the incredible personalities I had the privilege of photographing as if they were standing there again in front of my camera."
He credits Epson's new TFP™ print head in the 64-inch wide Stylus Pro 11880 printer, which in combination with AccuPhoto™ HD screening technology held all the detail captured in the original 11"x14" negatives at such large sizes. In addition, the entire system, encompassing the print head, screening algorithm and Ultrachrome K3™ with Vivid Magenta ink, produced accurate flesh tones and smooth tonal transitions that faithfully reproduced all the subtleties of his lighting.
"The finished prints simply look real. It's the highest compliment a photographer can give," he said.
Greenfield-Sanders believes the quality of the Epson Stylus Pro 11880 will have a positive effect on the industry. "Whether you have space in your studio for this size printer or work with a digital fine art studio as I did with Nash Editions, there are no longer restrictions for large size prints. Moreover, the level of creative control is unprecedented. Not only can we go big we can go big to the highest levels of quality."