Saturday, September 1, 2012

Move Completed, New Month-Era Begun

Yesterday - finished up the final clean-out of former studio of the past 19 years, dropping off keys & hauling the final load of accumulated life's work to the new image factory just before sundown. 'Twas a monumental task of going thru boxes & boxes of old chromes, transparencies, equipment and equipment bits- amassed and stored in the dark recesses of the old studio loft. Things that had piled up... kept because someday I just might need this. So far, someday hasn't turned up and I now hold no illusions that it will, so off to the dump with much of it. We are scaled down now... mean & lean. 

Still unable to part with the two Sinar 4x5 cameras, the two Hassies and fortunately, there is a huge box of film left. 120 Chrome, B&W, several boxes of Fujichrome & TriX 4x5 sheets, 35mm. chrome, B&W, Infrared, several boxes of Polaroid 59, a few coveted sheets of 55, lots of medium format Polaroid 669. These WILL be put to use & soon as the missus says there's no room in the fridge to store them. 

The previous week or two has been filled with tasks of organization of the old space, cleaning and repainting the former darkroom and all the little details required before the handing over of the keys....

And now it is done.

There has also been a flurry of assignment work to attend to... 

A trip to the Hospital & OR to capture promotional images for local crack cardiovascular surgical team really highlighted the collaborative nature of portrait sessions of any sort. When surgeons usurped their PR handler, suggesting that we delay the group shots until a real OR was available a couple of hours later, I believed (and rightly so as things turned out) that if this team felt they were involved in the decision making in regards to their photographs, things could only work out for the best because they would really be on-board with getting good images. Two hours later, I found myself "suiting-up" in blue scrubs outside the Heart, Brain & Vascular Center wing only to find that lighting gear had to be removed from cases, cleaned and prepped before entre' into the surgical arena was allowed. This complicated things just a bit as we were very limited in time for this shot. The prepping of the gear would be time consuming. 

And this is were the use of digital photo technology far exceeds working with film... 

Once I was clothed in scrubs, I entered the OR to scout for exactly what I would need in terms of lighting. In the end, I opted to wing it, dispense with lights altogether. Cranking up the camera's ISO to almost max, aiming the overhead operating lights so that they bounced off a white sheeted gurney and placing subjects around said gurney yielded excellent results and a really beautiful, wrap-around light. Had I been shooting film, such a shot would have been nearly impossible with mixed lighting of florescent & incandescent requiring complex & multiple filtration and long-long exposures where subjects were sure to blur.

There were also meetings with the powers-that-be controlling sugar production in the state. I have been negotiating with them for several months now to gain access to pre-dawn flaming fields of sugar cane, personnel & access to photograph inside the mill... access that is, I'm told, routinely denied. Final word came down last week. Access & full cooperation granted.

The there was a full day of food, interior and lifestyle images for the north shore's preeminent tiki-themed eatery and a trip to Superstar Chef Allan Wong's newest island venue for an editorial shoot for Northern California's Via Magazine. 

Odd for me, there was even a wedding thrown into the recent assignment mix with a lovely couple, husband-to-be a talented graphic designer, referred to me by another colleague. I was hesitant, though the income produced would certainly aid in defraying the ongoing & mounting studio construction costs. Reluctantly, I accepted due to their insistence that they in no way wanted anything looking like anything they had seen on the websites of our many island wedding photographers... which is a good thing due to my cluelessness about how to even approach shooting a wedding.

All went well in the end with the happy couple turning up at the new studio a few days later, bearing bottles of lovely wine to toast, view & approve the results from their happy day.

Wyndham Resorts empire continues to expand throughout the islands. Last year they kept us busy traveling around the state and it suddenly appears that they will do the same this year with 8 new properties on four island's now waiting for photography. 

And there's more zip-lining to shoot in coming weeks with another course to cover for previous clients along with a new operator's course to photograph for the visitor pubs. 

The move and multiple assignments have left me knackered. Fortunately, we have a three-day weekend as we celebrate the official close of summer months. Art-Buyer vacations will soon be over and it's time to organize and distribute a new email promo-spam which I plan to begin in the next couple of days.

Happy Labor Day to all! 

I leave you with one of the videos from a six part series called Capture, produced by the always brilliant Mark Seliger of Rolling Stone Magazine fame. Conversations with notables... revealing, inspiring & humbling; this episode with photography icon Albert Watson. Other episodes include portrait master Platon, photographer, director & actor Dylan McDermott & other legends of the industry.


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