Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I wanted to stay away from the normal slick, over lit style portraits and go au natural. I think one benefit was going with minimal gear, just a camera, a few lenses, and a reflector. I also planned late in the day so the light would add a bit of mood. This allowed me to be more mobile and get photos that were spontaneous and energetic. There are so many times when the best shots come in between set up situations. In fact, I usually do the "say Cheese" photos anticipating that the usable shots will be captured after those are over when the subject lets their guard down.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Shot a corporate job all last week for the San Diego Sheriff's Department and their Recruitment division. It was an especially fun job because "recruitment", in this case, is kind of a buzzword for photos that need to attract a younger, late teen, early Twenties demographic. That means the imagery needed to show a lot of action with a combination of hard work and having a little fun while on the job. We spent 4 days flying in helicopters, staging mock-riots, hostile pull-overs, armed structure entries, repelling, K-9 patrols, shooting all kind of cool guns and photographing their patrol cars in sexy locations. I was in guy heaven.
One of the challenges of being a photojournalist and bringing it into the corporate world is trying to make staged situations appear real and natural, as opposed to set-up and "stock-like". In the Newspaper, magazine world, we go to a scene, find the action and record it without direction. In the corporate world, we go to a scene, set it up and then work to capture an image that looks and feels fluid and natural. My mantra, if that doesn't sound too pretentious, is to first keep it real and very low key, meaning very minimal lighting, assistants and general gear on-hand which can sometimes slow things down and give the photos too slick of a look. I really try and use available light and whatever other elements can add to the overall mood. The other method is to have the subject(s) do whatever it is that they normally do while I just record it(Fly on the Wall). In all the above photos, the deputies were doing training drills and exercising the way they do every day. I just told them to "do what you normally do" Sometimes I'll turn some folks around to be in the sun or pick a more visual scene but in general, I try to be as invisible as possible.
I'm finding more and more these days that clients want to show their workers and product in a more honest and natural light. The days of perfect, set-up looking stock photos are over as consumers have become more media savvy and distrust imagery that looks too fake.
Hire a Photojournalist!!
Thursday, July 17, 2014
It was a normal Monday night, put the kids to bed, was surfing the net a bit and checking my email when I saw a story online about protesters heading up to Oracle, AZ to try and prevent a busload of illegal immigrant children from entering a facility outside of Tucson. I came out to the living room and my wife immediately knew "the look". You know, the one where you want to ask permission to go somewhere but know it'll be an inconvenience but know that person would be a total pill and nervous wreck if he didn't just go, kinda look.
I said babe, it's a good story and it's Arizona. That state never disappoints when it comes to getting good visuals. It's still got that crazed, wild West, outlaw mentality. I'd photographed the protesters in Murrieta the week before but knew this one would be bigger and probably more angry and have its own unique character.
So I hopped in the car around 11 pm with a full tank of gas and no one to shoot for. I emailed Getty while on the road and a few hours get a ping back that I was on for the assignment (thanks guys!!).
I finally get to the site in Oracle around 6 am and protesters and gob-loads of media started to show up shortly there-after. Oracle by the way is a dusty little working class mountain town about 45 minutes north of Tucson. Lots of cactus, cows and white folks. It butts up against a really beautiful national park, too.
As the morning progressed, each side of the issue congregated at different locations a mile or two apart. Word floated around that the buses were on their way up. This rumor seemed to keep refreshing itself the entire day, just as in Murrieta. My feeling from the start was there was no way in Hell those buses were coming this way. The DHS might have planned to come through Oracle but I'm sure they quickly decided to go elsewhere after seeing the crowds on TV--like Tucson or Nogales, where the atmosphere was a bit more friendly. It didn't really matter, turned out there were quite a few incidents, some humorous, some a bit more serious that provided good photo ops. As you all might have heard, School buses came through and everyone got in their battle positions, including the media and a certain congressman (cough, cough Kwasman!). He claimed those illegals kids looked sad, before he discovered they were YMCA campers. Luckily I got some shots of him running his mouth which turned out to be big story. He basically made a quick appearance and then shuttled off to Phoenix where he could have a bigger microphone.
Then late morning came and the pro-immigration protesters marched from their camp through the anti-immigration camp. That's when the hate barbs started to fly like a flock of pigeons being let out of a coop. Both sides started screaming at each other and did a little pushing and shoving to get their points across. All in all it went pretty peacefully. I don't want to get too much into the politics as I hope these images will describe it. I will say say there is a lot of intense hate out there that I think is fueled by fear of change and watching too much damn TV. People need to get out and travel and see and meet different folks of all nationalities and persuasions. Everywhere I've ever been locally or globally there have been politicians, biased media outlets and religious organizations that brainwash people in order exploit them by creating a sense of fear and hatred. You can tell because whether it's in Oracle, Murrieta, Atlanta most likely with the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, or wherever, they all throw out the exact same buzzwords as if there is a microphone in their ears and someone is feeding them lines. My hope is that people can just start thinking for themselves.