Thursday, April 7, 2011

Drew: Artsy

My story with Drew begins the same way it began with Gregg, except I had encountered Drew at the street fair one year earlier than Gregg. We began discussing a shoot well over a year ago, but scheduling and some other issues kept stalling it. Then in February he contacted me to set up a date, and wanted me to shoot him for his new personal training business. I asked if we could also do some of my less straightforward shots as well, which we referred to as the "artsy" shots versus the "sporty" shots.

Two days before the shoot, Drew contacted me to potentially reschedule. Something had happened and he had developed a black eye. I said I thought I could both use that and work around it, but we set up a date the following week just in case. I fully expected to do both the artsy and the sporty shots, but when Drew arrived, he hadn't brought any of the costumes or props for the sporty stuff, so we spent the entire evening shooting artsy pictures. I loved it.

These photos were taken on March 8th, 2011.

Dave: Unusual

Shooting Dave was a lot of fun. He's been shot many times before, which had the potential to throw me off, but he brought such a different energy to the shoot that I had no choice but to surrender to it. His posing instincts were unlike anyone I've encountered, and his modeling experience had led him to think through every pose, down to finger positioning. He seemed to approach the experience without vanity, which is refreshing. Not that I mind making people look good, but I also like when people are willing to trust me to get a shot that isn't just about looking good.

These photos were taken on Mar 6th, 2011.

Billy: Struggle

I thought I was doing just fine, but Billy wasn't feeling it. I have probably had other models who struggled to get into an appropriate mood, but Billy was the first one to say so, and the first one to almost cut the shoot short as a result.

I convinced him to stay, and though he had planted a big seed of doubt in my head, I ended up loving the results, and he did too. It's very interesting to get feedback from the models. Some like facing the mirror, some don't. Some have trouble understanding what I'm after when I'm always asking them to look away from the camera. But so far, pretty much everyone has been happy with the results, and I'll just keep trying to learn from each experience.

These photos were taken March 5th, 2011.

Bryant: Expressive

I had a lot of fun shooting Bryant. Too much fun, in fact, that we spent a lot of the already-too-short time that we had, chatting. When the shoot was over, I thought, "well, for the first time, I don't think I got ANYTHING." And it took me over a week to even look at the images again, but once I did, I discovered that I'd done much better than I thought. Bryant has an incredibly expressive face -- he's an actor so I shouldn't be surprised -- so a lot of what I got was somewhat outside the norm of what I usually produce. I'm happy about that.

These photos were taken March 4th, 2011.

Shaul: Nervous

My first shoot after returning from San Francisco meant my first shoot in the studio in weeks, and I was nervous, strange, like I'd forgotten what I was doing. Shaul was nervous too; he'd never done something like this before. And in fact, I DID forget what I was doing: I had the setting wrong on the camera for the first fifteen minutes, and ended up with a big pile of unusable shots.

But once I fixed the settings, I relaxed, and maybe Shaul was still nervous, but it turns out that that doesn't really matter. Few of the guys I shoot are professional models, and many haven't really been shot a lot before, or at all, but yet, somehow it always works. I think the nervousness adds something intriguing. I don't know if I'd want to graduate to only shooting people who are unfazed by cameras.

These photos were taken on Mar 1st, 2010.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ben: Rushed

I met Ben during this most recent trip to San Francisco, a few days into my visit. He'd turn up at the coffeeshop in the morning and we'd have a smoke together. We spent my whole trip talking about the idea that I should shoot him, but it ended up happening about forty-five minutes before I left to go catch my flight. I had a really rushed shoot once before but I think this one wins the award for most rushed.

These photos were taken on Feb. 23rd, 2011.

Ross: Finally

Ross and I have been friends for years, the kind of friendship that's mostly conducted through chance run-ins, but in San Francisco those run-ins tend to happen frequently. What I'd forgotten until we started shooting was that I had originally approached him about photos when we'd first met however many years ago. At the time I was just playing around with shooting people, and I'm just as glad that we waited a few years to make it happen.

As with Robbie's shoot a few days earlier, we were quickly driven inside by the cold.

There's a plan to shoot again, possibly when he is in NY, and next time I've promised not to make him point his head upwards as much as I did this time.

These photos were taken Feb 20th, 2011.

Robbie: Cold

I was looking forward to my shoot with Robbie, and I was supposed to shoot him on the day that I ended up shooting Joe for the second time during my San Francisco trip, but he needed to postpone a few days.

Unfortunately, while that initial date would have been perfect, by the time we did shoot, the weather in SF had gotten a bit more typical for February. The morning of our shoot it was pouring rain and I thought we'd end up having to do the whole thing indoors. Well, the rain stopped and the sun came out but... it stayed cold. I rushed to get as many outdoor shots as I could before Robbie started visibily shivering.

Then we moved indoors, and I scrambled a bit to be creative in my friend Kurt's apartment, a space not really set up for this sort of shooting. The same space appears in Joe's photos, as well as a shoot I had a few days later, and some of my self portraits. I did what I could.

These photos were taken on Feb 16th, 2011.

Joe: Symbolic

I've already talked about the special place Joe holds for me, in respect to my photography, but I'll say it again in case you missed it last time. For years I only shot inanimate objects and self-portraits, and I'd convinced myself that shooting live people would be too difficult. Along the way I did shoot some people, but I never treated it very seriously. A few years ago I decided it was time to start trying to shoot people, to see if I could, and I emailed Joe -- who I barely knew at the time -- to see if he'd be interested. I thought it was a longshot, seeing as I had no portfolio to speak of, but he said yes, and after I shot him a word-of-mouth momentum immediately began building. So I feel a certain debt to Joe, and I was excited at the prospect of revisiting him as a model a few years later. It symbolized something to me: my progression as an artist and as a person. We shot together twice in February, revisiting some of the original locations and throwing in some new ones. Joe is a sweetheart and a friend and terribly photogenic.

These photos were taken on February 10th and 12th, 2010.