Norman Jean Roy: Digital Killed Fashion Photography

Technology's influence can be seen in nearly every part of image-making, but the lensman is none too happy about its effects on fashion photography

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Norman Jean Roy / Vanity Fair
Norman Jean Roy / Vanity Fair

Technology’s influence can be seen in nearly every part of image-making, but lensman Norman Jean Roy is none too happy about its effects on fashion photography.

The photographer, who shoots for Vanity Fair and Vogue, told The Cut: “I think, with the advent of digital photography, the dictatorship aspect of photography became democratized and over time became a group effort, which I think is bulls**t.”

He would never encroach on a hairstylist’s vision, he said, or tell a makeup artist which eyeshadow shade to use. To avoid the photography-only democracy, Jean Roy said he always shoots on film, believing that the medium keeps a photographer focused and in the moment. According to Jean Roy, the final shots are just better on film—imperfect in a way that gives it life without the help of digital retouching. “We’re in such a hurry to make sure we ‘got it’ that in the process I genuinely think the results today are infinitely inferior than where they were ten years ago,” he says.