It’s awards season in the photography world, when we all congratulate each other on our fine work and resent those who won awards that should have been ours. Reminds me of a (not very funny) joke:
Q: How many photographers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Five. One to screw it in. Four to stand around and say, “I could have done that.”
I’m proud to say that some of last year’s work has won awards:
American Photography 29: Three images (here, here and here) — including two from my Night Cars series — were chosen to be part of the permanent American Photography archive online. Out of 9,000 images submitted, only 185 received this honor.
2013 Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards: My Lost Boat image (see the website and blog) is a winner in the self-promotion category. Appearing soon in the May/June 2013 Photography & Illustration Awards issue.
2012 One Eyeland Photography Awards: The Lost Boat image won a silver medal in the self-promotion category. Plus you get this snazzy certificate:
It’s finally on my website – the complete Lost Boat shoot I’ve had in my head for years. The location scouting destroyed my little 35/2 lens, the pre-production drove me slightly insane, the props and rowboat filled my driveway, and then … it came together beautifully. The actors brought their characters to life, the crew made it a smooth day and the boat held five people without collapsing.
(You’ll also find it smack in the middle of the latest print edition of Workbook, and earlier this week Workbook picked it up on its blog.)
A few highlights:
Found this location in the final hour of the final day of scouting. Then my lens fell apart.
Don’t mess with Victorian women.
The beard is real. He shaved it off the next day.
Not the man you want guiding your boat.
Even the lowly oarsman gets his portrait taken.
The always-brilliant Milo Cawthorne.
Sailors just want to have fun.
For a behind-the-scenes view, see my earlier blog post. For all your talent and hard work, again, my deepest gratitude to the talent, crew and retoucher Rebecca Bausher/Pixel Chick Studios.
Posted in conceptual, portraits
Tagged byron kavanagh, conceptual, eddie guzelian, mariners, milo cawthorne, rose mciver, sailors, victorian, vintage, wayne lewis
Got to shoot the amazing David and Travis Wear recently. They’re the UCLA basketball stars who, as twins, take every class together and spend an average of only 30 minutes apart every day. Get them to dribble, and the balls will end up in unison. Stand them next to each other, and they each lean toward the other at identical angles. Ask them a question, and they’ll finish each other’s sentences.
They do wear different shoes. Size 16.
Suzanne Evans with the previously unruly family she decided to whip into shape by applying Machiavelli’s principles of leadership. Then she wrote a book about it. Smart woman.
Shot for The Wall Street Journal, then quickly picked up by London’s Sunday Times and Italy’s Myself magazine. They love them some Machiavelli, the Europeans.
Well, hello there.
Recently shot Joan Behnke, interior decorator to very wealthy people, for Forbes in the 40,000-square-foot home of one of her clients. What does it mean to shoot in a home that size? It means scouting takes an hour, and you end up not sure if you should shoot in the massage parlor, the beauty salon/barber shop, the poker room or the movie theater. It means safety comes second, because not knocking over vases and sculptures comes first. It means very little time passes between walking on a carpet and that carpet being vacuumed. The housekeeper kept vacuuming our staging area.
And when you eventually decide to shoot in the giant living room, it means using every light you’ve got, even though you recently bought more lights.
Isn’t she just a doll? Loved working with her.
For some reason I’ve had this image in my head for a few years now. It involves Victorian mariners lost on a boat, stranded perhaps, not going to say where since this is just a teaser. I had to get it out of my head and on to film (so to speak), so I gathered props and wardrobe and brilliant actors and my favorite crew from around the city, and I finally shot the thing. Took five days of scouting just to find the location. My little 35mm f/2 lens literally fell apart after I found the location near dark on the fifth day.
It’s probably my favorite shoot ever. Look for it in the spring 2013 Workbook, out in less than a month. In the meantime, there’s a fragment of it on my website, and I offer you these fine behind-the-scenes shots from my friend, the great photographer Max Gerber:
Even sailors need a little touch-up now and then.
I swear I’m not posing. Didn’t even know Max was shooting.
Wayne “Animal” Lewis. We had to tie him to the boat.
Not sure what YOHA means.
Because every shoot needs a starlet: Rose McIver, the not-dead sister from “The Lovely Bones.”
Milo Cawthorne, another great New Zealand actor and the source of my best jokes.
That one’s perfect. Let’s shoot 140 more.
The talent and crew went way beyond my dreams for this one. My heartfelt thanks to all of you:
Captain: Byron Kavanagh
Navigator #1: Milo Cawthorne
Navigator #2: Wayne Lewis
Oarsman: Eddie Guzelian
Lady of the Sea: Rose McIver
First Assistant: Paul Bennett
Behind-the-scenes photography: Max Gerber
Stylist: Georgie Perrins, puppethorse.com
Hair and Makeup: Veronica Sinclair, veronicasinclair.com
Studio: Helms Daylight Studio
Posted in behind the scenes, celebrity, conceptual, lifestyle, personal, portraits
Tagged actors, lost boat, milo cawthorne, portfolio, rose mciver, test, testing
If you can’t make it to the gallery show by March 16, here’s a complete overview of the images — all an exploration of Los Angeles. Feel free to email me for a catalog with prices.
Giant prints, around 32″ x 40″. Photographed entirely at night (not dusk, not the magic hour, but night), by streetlight, on 4″ x 5″ film. Exposures range from 4 minutes to an hour. An ongoing series.
Prints are 20″ x 20″. Like the trees, photographed entirely by streetlight at night (not sunset or twilight, but night). Exposures range from two to 40 minutes, all on medium-format film. An ongoing series.
Big 40″ x 32″ print. A Metro-rail overpass, photographed on expired Polaroid film with an ancient Polaroid 110A Land Camera. Part of my Night Polaroids series.
Prints are 16″ x 16″ (with a panoramic at 32″ x 16″). Photographed by helicopter on September 29, 2012, during the 405-freeway closure of Carmageddon II. All on medium-format and panoramic film.
Prints are 17″ x 22″. An extremely eco-friendly home in the Hollywood hills, designed by architect Beth Holden and photographed originally for Angeleno Interiors magazine.
About 150 people turned out to see my Urban Archaeology exhibition last Saturday. It was a crazy evening topping off a crazy week, and I didn’t shoot a single photo of the opening. Got some crappy iPhone photos from my awesome brother, who had the presence of mind to think that someone should document this. That’s me, in the grey shirt in the middle, probably talking about the perils of shooting long exposures in residential neighborhoods at night (security guards, police, dog poo, rain).
Get out those credit cards, people.
Note for future shows: Place the cocktail bar inside the gallery rather than out back; it’s where everyone hangs out.
Thanks to the brilliant people at New Theme gallery for making it a success. Complete image catalog in the next blog post.
Posted in behind the scenes, fine art, honors and recognition, landscape, personal
Tagged aerials, exhibition, fine art, gallery, los angeles, New Theme, night cars, night polaroids, night trees
It ain’t baseball, but it is the major leagues. Like probably every photographer out there, I shoot personal work and figure that, someday, when art historians are poring over my images and deciphering their meanings, there will be some kind of gallery retrospective showing a career’s worth of brilliant art produced silently and invisibly for years.
Well, brilliant or not, it’s time to stop being invisible. I’m having a major solo show, Urban Archaeology, at the New Theme gallery next Saturday, February 2.
The show is indeed a compilation of several years of work, all documenting various facets of Los Angeles, including Night Trees (all on 4×5 film) …
Night Cars (all on medium-format film) …
Night City (all on Polaroid) …
And my imagery of the work of New Theme Architecture, which is bringing new forms to Los Angeles architecture:
OK — time to get back to scanning and dust-spotting. It’s glamorous, the life of a photographer.
Just stumbled across this website: Exxon Mobil Retiree Club of Joliet
Sometimes you find things online that you could never quite duplicate, no matter how hard you tried. I’d love to meet the club’s members. I bet they are a hoot. (This is not some kind of sarcastic political statement about Exxon; I’d truly love to hang out with them. We could talk about graphic design.)
The American Society of Media Photographers recently released their new book, The ASMP Guide to New Markets in Photography, and I’m proud to say that I’m profiled in Part III, “Case Studies for the New Economy.” This final section of the book features selected photographers and what they’ve done to adapt to a changing photographic world.
There’s a lovely three-page feature on changes I’ve made — increasing the production value in my testing and my editorial shoots (to create advertising-level portfolio images), creating unique personal projects to separate myself from the crowd, focusing on relationships with clients and potential clients, and using my imagination and concepts to distinguish my work (lots of people can light a portrait well; not everyone has ideas and imagination and an offbeat point of view).
I know, I know … it’s been so long. And I feel guilty, blog, for neglecting you. It’s not that there’s been nothing to say. It’s that there’s been too much. This year ended up extremely busy, and the ride is finally coming to a stop for the the holidays. So let’s start catching up.
First up, one of my favorite shoots of the last few months:
The boss will see you now.
This is Carter Fortunato, in an outtake from a shoot for The Wall Street Journal. He is as dry-witted and intelligent as he looks. Once in a while you get a gift when you shoot editorial, and this was one of those times. So you step up to the plate and make it a much bigger production in terms of lighting, styling and set design. Thanks to the Fortunatos for allowing me to make their son the star.
This is what happens when you reprint your portfolio in a home with a cat who loves new surfaces.
Using up one of her nine lives.
I knew I had to do it sometime, and I was dreading it.
In this best-of-all-possible, wired/multimedia/rich-content world, photographers are being asked to shoot motion in addition to stills. What? But I shoot decisive moments and artfully crafted tableaux! Video is outside my comfortable bubble!
Then two friends of mine, a husband and wife who have written for television for years, asked me to be director of photography on their new project: a trailer for their screenplay. I read the script, a noir thriller with a bit of horror and a darkly comic edge. Not my bright, poppy commercial work, but the kind of thing I love to watch. I signed on. Forget getting your feet wet; this was total immersion in the deep end.
I began with research and testing. Then the lighting design from the ground up. Then the look and feel of the footage. Then came the immersion: 25 long days of filming, some of the best working days I’ve ever had. Distilled to the two minutes below, whose every second I lit and shot. I also worked as second-unit director on all the B&W segments of the trailer, creating the scenes and directing the actors in addition to handling the lighting and cinematography.
And I realized: You know why people make violent movies? Because, in part, they are a lot of fun to make. It’s pretty mind-blowing to capture a room being lit up by machine-gun fire or bodies being being buried by car light.
I’m omitting the film’s and actors’ names at the request of its creators, who are still editing it. It’s going to be great, and not for the squeamish.
I’m proud to have this large-format image in the APA’s “Off the Clock” exhibition, curated by the Getty Museum’s former photography curator, Gordon Baldwin.
The aftermath of my niece’s 6th birthday party. Shot on film with a big, bad 4×5 camera. Scanned with a 400-pound drum scanner.
The exhibition is currently hanging at TBWA/Chiat/Day in Los Angeles, then moving to Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Boulder in the fall.
If you want to see the exhibition, you can either get a job at one of those agencies, smooth-talk your way in, or become a courier or something.