Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bleeding Arms or, Justin Meaders Makes Me Feel Lazy

When this assignment came in, I was immediately excited. There's something very compelling about shooting portraits of athletes; the opportunity to try and catch (or recreate) their bodies in motion, capturing the intensity in their eyes, as well as the intrinsic acceptability of making the lighting and angles punchier and more graphic than other types of portraiture.

The magazine wanted a clean portrait of Justin on white, and they wanted to feature his racing chair. Justin is paraplegic, resulting from a motorcycle racing accident. He now participates in all three events in numerous triathlons. When that season is over, he plays hockey. Not only is he the Wheelchair Racing Director for Dallas' White Rock Marathon, he has also won 3 events so far, and is an incredibly cool guy.

Below is the magazine's pick for their interview, which features one of the toughest pull quotes ever: "When I finish races, sometimes the inside of my arms will be bleeding."

My many thanks to Justin for being such a gracious and willing subject. I wish him all the best on his many athletic endeavors.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Perception Is Everything

I read this on and and was pleasantly surprised to hear it from someone on the other side. 

I'm posting it verbatim, but make sure you check out Rob's excellent blog for consistently insightful content.

"Perception Is Everything – For Photo Editors

One of the mistakes I made as a photo editor early on was copping a “can do” attitude when it came to finding photography or making assignments. I figured I would just work as hard as I could and the end result was what it was. The problem with this is nobody factors in the limitations of the job they handed you after you’re done. A Creative Director I worked for once said “we need to manage the expectations” which basically means we need to discuss the limitations before heading off to try and solve the problem. When making assignments this means knowing beforehand what the subject looks like; what the environment in which they will be shot looks like; how much time you will have to make a picture; will there be a budget for wardrobe, hair & makeup, props; is the subject even aware thry’re to be photographed. There is nothing worse than discovering upon arrival of the shoot in the office that what was pitched doesn’t not match what exists.

When it comes to stock, a little investigation into whether there is good coverage of a subject matter is always a good strategy before a meeting. That way you can tell them “stock doesn’t exist so we need to shoot a picture and I’ve not turned up any photographers I like in the area so we need to fly someone in.”

The sooner you have these conversations in the editorial process the better it is for everyone. That way if the stock is crap and there’s no time/budget for a shoot making the decision to still run a story means they don’t care if the magazine looks horrible. At least they know they’re the one’s making that decision."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Glory At Sea

There are an infinite number of ways to bring attention to a tragedy: memorials, activism, legislation, riots, denial, apathy... the list goes on. 

My favorite - and (in my opinion) one of the most honorable reactions - is creativity.

Glory At Sea is many things, but at it's core it is a film about people who never give up hope, even when hope seems like a fantasy.... (It should also be said that this is a poetic narrative about those who lost love ones at the hands of Hurricane Katrina.)

This film made its festival run in '07, so I am extremely late in blogging about it. It is, however, an amazing film, and deserves as much attention as it can garner.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Boys Named Sue

I'm not going to lie to you... This was a tough one. The band had very little time before a three hour show, and I had a couple of versions I desperately wanted to try. It is worth noting, however, that the most challenging shoots are the ones that tend to produce the most unexpected (and often surprisingly good) results.

Boys Named Sue are a no-fuss, honky tonk/country-inspired band. I only include the hyphen because the genre they inhabit (rather tongue-in-cheekily) is a genre that I really respect. These Boys don't disrespect country, by any means, but they ain't exactly penitent for their version of it, either. But I digress...

After listening to some of their songs, I decided it might make a nice portrait to shoot these Boys at a poker table, drinking PBR and playing some bastardization of the game. Having wasted much precious time trying to unload the table and props, my assistant suggested I shoot the Boys hanging out while he prepped the set. Great advice... Funny how that works.

I'll post a version of the poker scenario out-take for good measure:

I like the poker shot. But I'm glad I broke away to shoot the Boys with their guard down. I can definitely see why the magazine picked one from that session instead. 

Here's to heeding good advice...