Photographer Herb Ritts has and probably always will be the biggest inspiration and influence in my work. I grew up in the 80′s when his photographs were on the covers of most major magazines and even album covers. He was mostly known for his distinct, graphic fashion images but he was also an amazing celebrity portrait photographer.
He photographed clean, pure lines and forms with a graphic simplicity and composition that drew you in. I marveled at how simple, yet powerful his photographs were. I’ll let the work speak for itself. Here’s a few of my favorite Herb Ritts photographs.
Walking into Hawleywood’s Barber Shop in Long Beach and Costa Mesa you’re instantly transported to a different era. An era where your dad’s traditional barber may have worked if your dad’s barber was tatted up and listened to punk rock. On Saturday’s all the barbers are suited up with black ties, trousers and buttoned vests. They literally look like they walked off a 1940′s movie set.
Friend and photographer Tom Gomez was there to shoot a calendar and recruited me as backup. Since I was in the back seat, I took advantage that I didn’t have to direct, coordinate models, put out fires, etc. and decided to shoot for myself. I still had to help Tom, so I didn’t get to take a lot of photos but I thought I’d share what I did manage to capture. (See the Slideshow)
With photography, especially beauty and fashion, I like to experiment to get different effects without the use of editing software. Making photographs this way gives your image a unique look that’s hard to replicate. It’s also part of my process to try and break away from over editing images in post and getting a more complete shot in Camera.
The photograph of model Kyuri, for this post was created using an inexpensive prismatic bracelet I found at Michaels. I picked up a variety of these for under $20. They had all sorts of shapes and colors and each one yields a completely different result. This particular piece (seen below) created nice diagonal refractions which I thought looked interesting. Like every tool though, knowing when to use it and using it in moderation is key. (Tips and details after the jump).
Trying to hold a camera steady while getting tossed like a can in the back of a moving pick up truck isn’t easy. Trying to photograph a gang of moving motorcycles while in the back of a moving truck, is even harder. This was how the images posted here for the Biltwell catalog were made.
I spend a lot of time bouncing from place to place shooting on location. I used to haul a giant FatMax upright wheeled-toolbox, several light stands, small strobes, large strobes… Every shoot reminded me packing and moving into a new home. My small car’s trunk and backseat packed solid with equipment seemed chug more than zip along the road.
I’ve started to go back to the days when all I used to pack was one flash, one light stand, small umbrella and camera. Even that seems like a lot sometimes. So there’s times when I challenge myself and pack nothing but my camera, one lens and flash. Nothing more.
Shooting available light is a great way to learn the ins and outs of your lighting. Using a window light as your main light source makes it easy to see where and how the light is affecting your subject. It’s free, always available and if you place white curtains or a white bed sheet in front of your window, you can get even more control and a softer light.
Best of all, you can shoot this with any camera… even your cell phone camera.
Practice by moving your subject further and closer to the window to see how shadow contrast is affected. You can also place your subject in different areas of the room, i.e next to the window, further and closer along the wall of the window, etc. You’ll notice that quickly that small movements can make a big difference.
I wanted these shots to reflect a little mystery so window light was perfect. Placing her closer to the window allowed enough light to reach her while giving me a smooth shadow transition. Since the window was the only source of light, it created great shadows.
You can’t go wrong with practicing like this. You can do it anywhere there’s window with almost any subject living or inanimate.
When I first started photography I was put off by all the numbers, dials, switches and conversions attached to the back of a flash. I had a flash but never worked up the courage to use it. Mostly because I was shooting film and was terrified I’d screw something up and end up with a roll of expensive, ruined negatives. I defaulted to using the sun
I recently purchased a Fuji Instax Mini 7s instant Camera. I’ve always liked the analog quality and instant gratification of Polaroids and this little gem hits the spot. The Print are size are a mere 1.81 x 2.40 inches. I like using it to capture some quick portraits. Here’s some shots of Patrick I snapped during our shoot. Non-instax shots to follow soon.
I photographed Naama years ago. At the time she was an aspiring and talented actress new to L.A. Since our last meeting, she’s purchased an electric piano, composed an entire (critically aclaimed) album titled, The Unexamined Life and is hard at work making the final touches on her second album, King For the Day.
“Youth never moves me. I seldom see anything very beautiful in a young face. I do, though – - in the downward curve of Maugham’s lips, in Isak Dinesen’s hands. So much has been written there, there is so much to be read, if one could only read. I feel most of the people in my book, Observations, are earthly saints. Because they are obsessed, obsessed with work of one sort or another. To dance, to be beautiful, tell stories, solve riddles, perform in the street. Zavattini’s mouth and Escudero’s eyes, the smile of Marie-Louise Bousquet: they are sermons on bravado.”—Richard Avedon – 1959