I was digging through some old folders with the intention of deleting images and sessions that either have’t held up over the years or never served their original purpose. When I came upon this image, I paused and thinking the old me would’ve immediately deleted it, and how the current me was grateful that I didn’t. Though, in all likelihood, the blur and silhouette were caused by my studio lights not firing correctly. As I found myself revisiting this shoot, I was reminded how some of my mistakes, or hat of my gear, have turned out to be favorites.
Following up on last night’s post “When in Doubt…” I’m coming to the realization that my days as a studio photographer might be over. Being that I spent more than four hours going through old sessions and even considering reacquiring studio lights. I whole heartedly admit to missing experimenting with studio lights, settings, modes and above all, interpreting beauty. Looking back, the road was full of mistakes, anxiety, impatience and an overabundance of caffeine. Still, when I was clicking with a subject, it was magic. Going forward, mainly due to my issues with balance and speech, I will have to find peace and balance. In the end, I hope to learn more about landscape photography and long exposure. Enough so, that I can prove myself to me.
Back when I was giving my studio photography an overhaul. A mentor and close friend who was going over some of my old sessions. Adding, “What did a shadow ever do to you?” It was something I had heard at an International Center of Photography workshop but wasn’t sure how to correct it. However, once I learned, it was as if an entirely new world of depth and creativity opened up. Just aa I began adding what I learned to my studio photography, I found myself adding shadow to my landscape photos. To add definition to my landscapes and interiors, partly and considerately more to put shade and add anonymity to the people, often strangers in my photos. It’s helped me in a lot of ways, including sales.
It’s also made me think of myself growing increasingly introverted and wary of close contact with others. Below are a couple of images I took before exiting Gas Works Park this afternoon.
Though we lived just blocks away within the same neighborhood, I never did see or hear much from my grandma Sherry. Though it might seem strange to some, it never really phased me or made me feel incomplete in any way. My Dad’s mom and my grandmother were also close by, and the loving attention she gave me was more than anyone would ever need. What I did learn about my mother’s side of the family, most of whom I never met, came in small samplings over the years. Grandma Sherry, who I would get to know a little better in my mid-twenties, was an aspiring musician who recorded and toured with her country act the Melody Maids in the late thirties until the early forties. She also had a radio show in Milwaukee during that time. Though still alive at the ripe old age of ninety-five. She left me with what would best connect us, Her 1939 C-Series Martin Guitar, case, harmonica, and tuner. What amazed most was the pristine condition with which it was kept. In the years I possessed it, I was able to photograph it along with some of the models I worked with as well as have a few musician friends take it for a test drive. Special thanks to my friend Tory for teaching me how to keep it hydrated. Eventually, as planned, I sold the guitar to someone who would appreciate it as both a piece of work and a historical artifact.
After Sunday’s nude session I was both eager and anxious about sharing the results with my friend and mentor down the hall. He’s been a great teacher who has made it a habit to share his positive thoughts before sprinkling in any much appreciated criticism. I say “appreciated” because if it were not for those much feared critiques. I would have never grown or learned to improve on the things that have been holding me back. Imagine the combination of relief and glee I felt when he remarked how good the pictures from that session were and why. Going as far as saying that this was the best work I’ve done to date. Declaring that, as I move forward. This should be my portfolio. That school was out and I had graduated. The End.
I recently had the opportunity to work with three incredibly talented and gifted professionals (Two of which live on just down the hall of my condo.) With the help of model / actress Nicole M. Carroll Word Press, makeup artist Stephanie Perez Website and studio manager / technician Kevin Link Website . I (Or should I say, we.) captured some amazing shots. Having worked together with Nicole in 2016. Her amazing personality and stunning features helped me mark a turning point in my studio work. Inviting her back with fresh ideas and an amazing team was even more rewarding than our first meeting. I just thought it might be a good time to thank everyone involved while I share the fruits of our labor..
Less than midway through our first session. Angel leaned in and asked “Do you like working with me?” “Of course I do” I quickly replied. Truth be told. Working with her had been the most stress free session I had worked on in recent memory. Secretly, I was glowing inside. Knowing we had laid the foundation for future collaborations. So when the need to work on something new presented itself just months later. I knew I had an ace in my deck with Angel. It’s quite rare when I am so eager to work with someone again so quickly. However, the chemistry and the results of our first session created the desire to work on new ideas and themes together. We’ve already set up a third and final shoot that I’m hoping will give us something useful for both of our portfolios.
While many portfolio sessions require weeks of planning and idea sharing. Others can be brokered with minimal planning and just a few key exchanges. Such was the case with Lauren. New images to show off a new look and style that adds an artsy edge to an already fetching body of work. During the two hours we worked together. My goal of recreating a look that was based on my love of black and white Hollywood Film Noir. By moving the main light around I was able to create the shadow and depth that once went missing in my studio work. With little to no instruction, I followed Lauren’s movement and changes to capture a number of looks and moods. In the end, the results had me recalling what drew me to my earliest experiemnts with photography and black & white film. Below are a very small sampling of what we captured.
I was having this conversation with a potential client when my humble studio beginnings came up. I shared how I somehow managed to set up a makeshift home studio in my small Hoboken apartment. Not only was the space incredibly small, but those who dared venture in to the mile square for a session had to follow up their nightmarish search for parking with a three floor walk up to said apartment. Strangely enough, I made it work to moderate degrees of success.
Fast forward a couple of years and I’ve just about quadrupled my space in nearby Jersey City where parking is a breeze and elevators seem to be all the rage.
Still, with the sizable change. I often find myself trying to find space to set up a full function studio as well as finding closet space to store away equipment while I’m not using it. And while any mention of clutter or booby trapped studio equipment is strictly that of an over worked imagination. I’ve been ever vigilant to keep things, if not out of mind,. At least out of sight.
Needless to say, my new found focal length has given me the space between my subject while having my subject further enough from the background to avoid unwanted shadows and unexpected falloff.
Yes, I’m still clumsy, but I haven’t broken anything or caused any permanent damage since I got here. Hopefully, with a little coaxing and improved balance I’m beginning to feel more confident in myself snd my work. If that continues, doors are sure to open.
Below are a couple of favorites from my final studio session of 2016. My two hour shoot with Angel was without a doubt, my favorite of the year. While Angel may be somewhat new to modeling, her beauty, grace and ability to change gears effortlessly should go a long way to insure her success. A second shoot is already in the works. One that we are both eager to bring to fruition. Stay tuned.