Results from Friday’s grueling two and a half hour shoot. There was zero chemistry between myself and the model. No adherence to the sessions theme or goals. Just one angry looking model.
This Saturday I had a chance to take care of some unfinished business. Back in June of 2009 I had the chance to work with a beautiful woman named Zoia. She had contacted me recently to tell me she had been keeping up on my work and was impressed with my growth. I took that compliment as my chance to finally take care of unfinished business.
At the time of our prior session I was doing pretty good work but I was still in this phase where the real confidence wasn’t there. The shoot started off badly when I made a rookie mistake of forgetting the camera battery. I had charged it that afternoon but when she came to pick me up for a short drive to the Monroe Center I completely for got to take it out of the charger. We were half way there when I realized and had to turn back. Once we did manage to get started everything was fine but I was killing myself for that mistake. “She must think I’m complete nob.” We got some nice shots at the Monroe Center and headed back here to finish up with some studio work. Again, the work was good but somewhat rushed. She never said anything but I felt as if I left a bad impression with my amateurish mistake. Fast forward almost two year and I’m ready. “Battery? Check. Lights? Check. CF Card? Check. Model? Check.” I fire my first shot and nothing. My Photo Wizard II is not communicating with my Genesis lights. No Flash, whatsoever. In the past when something went wrong I would panic and lose it. But I’ve learned that, as corny as it may sound, every problem has a solution. I tried everything. Everything was working but for some reason they weren’t communicating. Time was ticking and I’m thinking “I’m cursed” “Nothing is working and I’m going to have to send this woman home.” Finally, I ran to the bedroom and got my backup camera. Connected the flash and fired a test shot. Alas, I heard a pop and saw the light. “I can live.” “I have been spared the certain shame, humility and doom that would surely follow my failure.” Once we got started it was magic. I finally got to tend to that unfinished business. Zoia and I did great work together.
The red head from the former Soviet Union is now a Brunette and in those two years is even more beautiful. Later on I found out that is wasn’t the cameras hot shoe as i had briefly suspected. It was the setting. I had used it at a concert a week ago and disabled the flash. Just forgot to reset it. So yes, I’m still kind of a dork. I’m a little clumsy and forgettable. I’ve got a heavy case of ADHD but I’ve come a long way in that when I’m given a problem or hit a road block. I’m able to see it through. Find a solution or a way around it.
My shoot with Tara had all the makings of disaster and even confrontation. Scheduled for 4:00 p.m., the shoot and her make up artist didn’t arrive until 5:00. But that was just the beginning . Every other model I’ve ever worked with has done their own hair and makeup so I really have no experience dealing with a MUA. Having no experience with one, I gathered it would take five, maybe ten minutes tops. (Not even close.) Time passed and five minutes turned into a half an hour and then into a full hour. I tried to keep my cool but I was steaming. That and the fact that there was makeup everywhere. I was done. Ready to throw them the hell out.
6:00 p.m. came and they were finally done. I was going to do a very quick shoot and get them out of my place. As i started shooting I noticed the makeup artist shadowing me with her pocket camera. It was as close as it could possibly come to me completely losing it. “You can’t do that!” I barked. This is my work. She barked back “This is my work too.” The stage was set for a complete blow up. However, calmer heads prevailed and I explained “This may be your work. But this is my studio and my rules.” “I’m sure I’m a better photographer. If you want pictures, I’ll be taking them.” I don’t know what happened. Everything switched. Within second Tiffany (The MUA) and I were gelling. We were BFF and working together. She contributed by making suggestions on wardrobe from time to time. We were communicating. Tara was a pro throughout. She was quiet and very sweet. Things ended so much better than they started and everyone went home happy.
Later that night I told my wife Kayuri and smiled. Knowing full well my history with my temper and sometimes confrontational nature. (Going as far back as working at Sears Portrait. I had told customers who pushed me to the edge off on occasion.) She said “I’m very proud of you.” I’ve grown a lot in recent years. It’s important to grow as a photographer. I’ve seen a tremendous amount in the last two years. But growing as a man. Learning to be a problem solver and be a better communicator feels really good. Seeing that growth makes me proud. Maybe I’m finally growing up.
I’ve been a member of SOHO Photo Gallery since 2006 and have really appreciated the opportunity to share my work with the gallery members and the people from around the world that visit. However, I’ve always been torn about it.
Whenever joining a photo club or as is the case being a member of a COOP , my goal is to share and learn from the members. To create, inspire and be inspired. And of course to expose my work to new viewers. Having been a member of several such clubs Hob’art, The Palisades Camera Club and SOHO Photo I’ve gotten to do that. Yet, the experience has always left me wanting more. Coming to SOHO Photo was a big step for me. Having to work on submitting a portfolio for acceptance was paramount to my growth. Yet since joining I’ve been left with the feeling that I’ve joined a sewing circle at a retirement home. Each year when it’s time to pay my dues and renew I think long and hard about it. In 2010 I decided to renew with the ambition of shooting there from time to time on the galleries off days. I gingerly brought this up to various members I had hosted with. None of which seemed to show any concern. For me personally, that alone made it worth while. So I decided to take advantage. Recently, while shooting I was confronted by a member(One I had never met prior) . He was pissed off and said he’d be telling the elders. I jokingly said “Hey, point taken. Don’t be a rat and drop the dime.” He saw no humor in it.
Time went by and I got no feedback. no scolding came my way. Yet I still delayed my renewal. Maybe this was it. This was my sign. I got an email stating that I was “overdue” and ignored it. Still thinking. Then I got an official letter with the galleries letterhead and everything. I let it sit. Sunday morning Kayuri saw it on the coffee table and said. “Just renew. It’s not a lot. It might be worth it.” I wavered. “You know, why not.” That was until this morning when I got the email. That Rat dropped the dime on me and it upset some people. I can assure you and them it was never done out of disrespect or in a manner that would suggest I was sneaking around. Having discussed it openly in the past. I replied with just that and haven’t heard back since. But it made me think. I’ve never been much for groups and it’s been quite difficult relating to so many of the members in the past due to the vast generation gap. I’m deciding to follow my instinct and end my association. I can’t complain at all.
Life is what you make of it. You get exactly what you put into it. I never liked sitting in meetings. The openings rarely brought in new faces. It was always a mutual admiration society as far as I could see. There were times when members work totally blew my mind. Inspired me and made me yearn to be better. That’s a good thing. I’d definitely say my experience was a good one. It’s just time to try something new.
I’m going through this mornings session with Tanu Suri and have come across so many that just take my breath away. It’s going to take a while to go through and pick the best of the best but I wanted to share something. Though this was a studio shoot we went up to the roof and also took a few shots on the stairs. I thought this particular one was interesting.
I was the last car that had turned from Kennedy Blvd. onto the ramp that leads to 495. Looking dead ahead at the congestion caused by the onset of rush hour and the construction being done. I suddenly felt my skull rattle from what turned out to be the car that hit me at full force from behind. The force of the crash had sent me into the car in front of me. As I sat there partly in shock. the drivers of the vehicles that I was sandwiched between jumped out to inspect whatever damage had occurred and seemingly place blame. The older gentlemen in front of me (He looked as if he had just come off the set of a Grey Poupon commercial.) pointed to the non damage to his bumper. “Look at this!!!” he proclaimed. All while the man who plowed in to me raced to see if I was alright. I was shook up pretty bad. My skull and jaw felt as if they were vibrating out of my skull and for the moment I was barely reacting. As they exchanged information I slowly stepped out of the car. It was my first accident. They both looked at me and said “Maybe you should sit down. You don’t look so good.” I wasn’t bleeding but I was clearly rattled. It wasn’t like I had imagined it. No tow trucks or police cars magically appeared. Though I may have seen a few Geckos they were all imagined figures brought on by tons of steel deciding to act like Rams. We exchanged information and the one man explained what had happen and soon enough they drove off. I thought to myself “What the hell am I going to do?” “Wait here until a cop comes to berate me a write me a moving violation for something I didn’t do?” So I slowly pulled back into the lane and tepidly drove back home. What was first thought to be a slight concussion turned out to just be an. As I write this a few days later I still have some pain in my back, shoulders and leg, but I’m in one piece and it could have been a lot worse. It really makes me think of how careless we are with the things we should be focusing our attention on. People driving while talking on a hand held device. Ladies putting on their make up or better yet, texting. The average car weighs around 4,000 pounds. If you can’t be responsible and pay attention to driving. You should take the wheels off your damn vehicle and turn it into the office, movie theatre or beauty parlor you seem to think it is.
Disclaimer: None of the beautiful cars pictured were harmed in making this post.