Monday, August 25, 2008

The best $50 you can spend

A note to any photo editors that may read this: It's hard to find a good photo assistant for $200. I know that you are on a budget, and that it's company policy, but there is a huge difference between a $200 assistant and a $250 one. The latter brings a skills and experience to the shoot that almost always result in a more focused photographer, and ultimately a better shot -- it's probably the best $50 you can spend.

Modeling for Yourself -- the Answer

Email to the photo editor on aforementioned job:

Well, my first shoot with you has been an interesting one. On my way to the game on Friday night I stopped at Best Buy, Circuit City and Sears to shoot pictures of rows of televisions as a second option, just in case the Jumbotron shot wasn't working. I managed to get kicked out of all three stores for shooting there -- the lady at Sears was in an electric wheelchair and called security. I felt like I was back in junior high.

Saturday morning I went to our local sex shop to pick up some props. The selection at there is pretty amazing, and the sales staff helped me pick out a really cool handcuff / blindfold / paddle / moustache set, along with a leather and rubber ball gag just like the one the gimp used in pulp fiction.

My wife and I actually staged some sex pics of ourselves on Saturday night, which was really weird, and for a second I actually thought that it was going to work. But all it took was seeing the tiny little digital image on my camera to make me realize that the photos I shot should never be seen by anyone, ever. It just didn't feel right to either of us.

So, I'm sorry I didn't deliver an original sex shot. I learned a bit too late that I'm just not the guy for this.



Friday, August 22, 2008

Modeling for yourself?

So I am working on this job right now for a magazine from New York. They want a picture of a couple having sex being shown on a jumbotron at a major sporting event.

I'm having a difficult time finding an attractive couple that is up for this for a meager editorial budget. My friends have no interest. Using models or a casting agent is not an option. Craigslist is delivering nothing. Which makes me wonder if I should just do it myself.

My wife is up for it, but I feel like it's crossing a few lines. There won't be any nudity, but there will be lots of skin. The shot needs to be done on Monday, so something has to happen pretty soon.

Is modeling in your own shots a sign of being a hack, or is it just a product of a singular vision that other people just can't deliver?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Future is Here @ 120 Frames per Second

Take a good look at this camera. You're going to see it again.

Landscapes via Radiohead

Went to Leadville two days before the race to scout some locations. No luck finding an indoor space to shoot in, and it rained + snowed there on race day, so shooting lit portraits outside wasn't going to work. It will have to wait until next year.

Ended up heading to Independence Pass to shoot landscapes instead. I once heard an interview with the guys in Radiohead, talking about how they began work on a new album. Each of them was supposed to go find sounds that they had never heard before. So I put on my headphones and listened to Kid A while I shot these images, trying to make pictures that I hadn't seen before.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Heading into the Mountains

Heading to Leadville to shoot some pics at the Leadville 100 trail run. A guy named Anton Krupicka won it last year. Here is a video of him running 100 miles in 16 hours. Why people do this totally eludes me.

It is raining and cold in Boulder. Probably snowing up there right now. Also going to look for landscapes for Scapegoat on Independence Pass.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pounding the Pavement is FUN

Spent yesterday meeting with Art Buyers, which can be really fun if they aren't too busy and have some time to hang. Some of them know a lot, and truly have their fingers on the pulse of the photo world, so talking with them can be really interesting and helpful.

After yesterday, I am even more worried about the future of photography.

Short term things I worry about: recession, shrinking budgets, microstock, all resulting in timid clients unwilling to try new things.

Long term things I worry about: the power of 3D rendering, retouchers that have studios, the death of paper magazines, motion images replacing still ones, microstock, stagnant editorial rates, and shrinking budgets

When I express these concerns to my art buyer friends, they assure me that as long as people need pictures I'll continue to have a job. Which I think is true -- but the question is:

What is that job going to involve?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fast Food Nature: Hiking in China

Needless to say, this day was absolutely terrifying. I have no idea what is holding these sidewalks to the rock, other than cement. All I knew was that they were made in China and they were the only thing separating me from a 500 foot abyss.

I can appreciate the fact that whoever designed this trail wanted to create a truly surreal, exposed, exotic, experience of the natural world -- places that most of us never see.

But there is something really sad about steamrolling a trail across a cliff using drills, steel, and cement. These are places that are supposed to be difficult to access, unless you are a world class climber, or a bird. The inaccessibility is what makes wild places like these so beautiful.

I suppose it is a good analogy for the way the world is going -- experience is becoming more a factor of convenience and quantity, than of dedication and quality.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Put on another thinking cap

From a recent
APE interview with Simon Barnett of Newsweek: "....publishable pictures can now be taken by almost anyone with a 200 dollar point and shoot, so hunting for the people who have a point of view, and can express their unique vision in photographs is more important than ever. It’s now less about how to technically get the image recorded and so much more about the mind behind it."

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It's scary, and exciting. Photographers are becoming less important for their technical skills, and more valuable for their conceptual and artistic abilities. The playing field has been leveled in new ways.

Hopefully the people that have spent most of their lives thinking about composition, understanding light, and visual communication will have a head start on the $200 crew.

This just reinforces that it's all about the idea. Now more so than ever. Time to think even harder before picking up the camera, because just picking up the camera isn't enough anymore.