It inevitably happens that I fall behind, and don’t catch up to numerous questions we receive here on the blog. I’m able to get to some on an individual basis, but I often don’t get back. I have the best of intentions, but things do slide, given the road sked we have had this year. And those unanswered questions nag at me, cause I really do appreciate folks chiming in here on the blog, and often they are terrific notes and notions that could open up worthwhile discussion. Also, cause I was raised Irish Catholic, I feel guilty as hell about it, and probably sometime in the late spring of 2014, when get around to my next confession, the priest will slide the little trapdoor, urge me to confess my sins, and might be taken aback when I mention the whopper of “unanswered blog questions.”
My dear publisher, Peachpit, and the creative folks in their office came up with a bit of a solution. A photo Q&A that will acquaint me with unfamiliar traits….being timely, predictable, and organized. Hit this link, and while I still won’t get to all the questions, they will organize them for me, and I will ping it regularly, with encouragement from my editor Ted Waitt, who worked all this out last time we were out in San Francisco. That week in San Fran was great. Was at all these cool places, like Apple (the mother ship), Livebooks, Lexar, Google….while we were there, Drew had some correspondence with folks at Twitter, who asked about doing a lecture there next time out. Ted, ever the wordsmith editor type, saw a golden lining there. He said, “Wow, what an easy lecture. You have to keep it under 140 characters.”
One question we will answer here, though, on the home blog. We have been getting numerous queries about our work flow, and the intrepid Drew is gearing up a blog for next week where he will explain it in detail. He knows it better than I, because, as soon as the job is done, in the grand traditon of NY based prima donna asshole photogs, I immediately don black garments and retire with a gaggle of insufferably hip swells to some ultra-hip, downtown eatery to begin a round of partying that will reel into the wee hours. It is Drew’s current lot in life to roll up his sleeves, pound back several vodka laced double espressos and begin the grim task of saving my sorry ass yet again by making the hundreds of relatively incoherent frames I have just shot (alot of my takes kind of feel like I had a seizure while holding a D3 on consecutive high) and presenting some sort of reasonable visual document to the client.
It should be a good blog, as our work flow invariably involves high drama, passenger pidgeons, and a truly unique machine we refer to as the digital transmogrifier. You see, I’m still shooting Agfachrome (those rich earthy tones) but Drew is able to dump it all into this machine and it crunches everything down, embeds metadata and spits out files at the end that make it appear that I am shooting high end digital cameras. It’s a tough day at the studio when we kick in this machine for a big take, cause it sounds a bit like a wood chipper, but hey, deadlines call.
Drew will then wait for the red phone to ring, usually late at night. It will be my agency, run by the one we simply know as “The Corsican with the Scar.” Voice suffering from french inhaling too many Gauloises, he will rasp, “Do you have ze photos?” Drew acknowledges that we do, and then immediately gets onto the train for a late night trip to the city. There’s a bank of pay telephones at Grand Central, just by track 17, and if he hits it right, when he gets off the train, the 4th phone from the left will be ringing. There, an intermediary for the Corsican will give him instructions where to drop the files. The exchange point is usually the first garbage can (are they trying to tell me something?) on the right side of the pedestrian ramp to the Staten Island Ferry. Drew drops our bag o’ files there, and behind it is a paper sack filled with non-sequential, used dollar bills. Though, I must admit, with tough times lately, it had generally been a bag of loose change, most of it zlotys.
Lynn, bless her, has a hand in this process as well. She scours the rubble of one of my takes, desperately searching for a frame that could be loosely interpreted as “portfolio material.” She then will run it to the local CVS and have an 8×10 printed, which she then takes to the basement and runs off hundreds of copies on a hand crank mimeo machine. She will then take the copies and staple them to light poles all over the neighborhood. (Business isn’t up, but boy, complaints are, so someone is noticing.) The stuff off the mimeo machine is kinda monochromatic, lacks detail and is certainly out of focus, but we figure that’s the sweet spot of the marketplace right now. Just trying to catch up here with current trends…..:-)
A quick note of thanks to the folks at Shutterbug, who worked with the studio to produce the August cover….
And thanks to Barry Tannenbaum, who puts together Nikon World Magazine. He’s a good writer, and a knowledgeable photo guy, and we just collaborated with the Nikon gang to produce a wraparound cover for the new issue. Kinda cool for me, in a very personal sense. I grew up looking at this magazine, and other anthologies Nikon would produce, and my eyes would get pretty glazed over. I would think, maybe, someday, could I get a picture in there? Far fetched at that moment of course, cause I was ragtag photo student and this mag was replete with work from my heroes like Jay Maisel, Pete Turner, and Eric Meola. They were at the forefront of the wave of Kodachrome shooters who were taking color photography to places it had never gone. Many years later, made it. Another thing on the list of things to do before I die I can check off.
The cover subject is dance, and the dancer is Jenn Concepcion, one of the most truly gifted and physically expressive dancers I have ever worked with. Imagine how hard it is to do ballet. Then imagine keeping your line, your cool and your moves together on a nearly blacked out stage with multiple stroboscopic flashes going off in your eyes. Then you get your head around what Jenn did for me to get this picture. We shot this for Kelby Video Training, once again working with all the gifted folks at NAPP. More tk….