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Last Saturday was a great day; It was one of the few fashion shoots I attempt and despite all the controversy and criticism surrounding fashion photography, it still feels like the most difficult work I’ve attempted and some of the greatest fun. Maybe the fun had less to do with it being a fashion shoot and more to do with the day, the people, the energy of the shoot.
I’ve heard two commercial fashion photographers speak recently about the importance of the right team in having a successful shoot. I have a pretty good sense of what that means and there certainly is more control over picking your team when you’re paying them to work. When you’re asking everyone to work for free, well hell, you kinda take what you get, right? I must be blessed, though. My “take what I can get” team was amazing.
Elmira Lilic – The Model: A successful model and international finance expert with Wells Fargo Bank. She and I had communicated via Facebook and finally met face to face to work out the shoot. Immediately I felt a good vibe, not only with her, but with her boyfriend Kelvin. Elmira had total buy in to the shoot, literally. She came armed with $3000 worth of clothes and accessories for the shoot (I hope she didn’t loose any receipts:)) which gave us a great deal of flexibility.
Kelvin – The boyfriend: Professor, jazz pianist and all around great guy. He came to the shoot and provided some wonderful live jazz piano (there is a piano in my studio) while we worked. He was also kind enough to get the team coffee and some cake.
Chet and Amy – The Assistants: Using the word “assistants” is a little insulting, insomuch as they are both great photogs in their own right and generous to a fault. I can tell you that the shoot would not have happened without them, their attitude and natural abilities.
Oskar Ly – professional makeup and hair: Seriously, some of you have been on shoots of mine with really unprofessioinal professionals. Oskar was the antithesis. Amazing work, great energy and personality and very generous with her time.
So the team was really really strong and the only weak link was the photog….I mean this with all sincerity and I’m not fishing for anything here. This type of photography is very difficult to do well, at least in the way I define success. I pretty much missed most of my goals for the shoot and became painfully aware of how I naturally work in these situations. I learned a great deal from it and have a greater appreciation of the folks who do it well. I’ll be taking a two day fashion photography workshop this February in Los Angeles. I now have a long list of questions for the instructor!!!!!
So on with the images. I hope you enjoy them. Remember you can click on any image to see a larger version.
I recently watched a talk on the concept of PLAY. I’ve had a discussion with many friends over the past couple of years about Play, how its lacking in life for most adults. It’s inspired to share some previously unshared images, images that in my mind were created in the process of PLAY. You’ll see these images over the course of the next couple of weeks.
What is PLAY? I like the definition used in the video (I’m paraphrasing here): If DOING the activity is more important than the OUTCOME, then its probably PLAY.
This image was made at Gooseberry Falls State Park, North Shore of Lake Superior, last summer. My mission was to explore the waterfalls, in difficult and somewhat treacherous areas, during a period when the water was fairly high. I brought one filer, the Singh Ray Vari ND filter, no tripod, no camera bag. Just the bare essentials. I was going to shoot all hand held and just go shooting for the sake of shooting. I spent some time crawling and climbing about the rocks, viewing this composition and that composition. Then I turned around to notice this young boy playing up above a pool, and just below the falls. He was hunting for something. Maybe crawdads, maybe agate, or maybe he was just investigating for the love of exploration.
I could easily imagine myself has him. I was. I did this as a little boy. Strip down to the bare essentials, start exploring the tiny pools between, the spaces underneath things and experience the exhilaration of falling water. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I decided HOW I wanted to shoot and by the time I was in a position to, he had wandered off. Fearing his mother would scold him for being out there (I wouldn’t blame her), I wondered if he would be back. Then it dawned on me…THERE WAS NO WAY HE WASN’T coming back. So I waited. And sure enough a short while later he returned. To Explore. To Experience. To be amazed by EVERYTHING in front of him.
He was ready play and so was I.