Monday, March 27, 2006

Persistence of Vision

Hmm.. There is so much I want to say but time is short and I am pretty tired.

Paul is a very knowledgeable photographer. I find that he likes to keep his shoots simple. He will do whatever he needs to light the shoot but he never goes overboard on anything. This is a very fine line and takes a lot of discipline.

However, the main thing that seems to be sinking into my head is his persistence of vision. If he has something in his mind that he wants to produce, he will keep at it until he gets it. He makes very tiny adjustments and is willing to change a softbox to an umbrella to a reflector, just to get the exact lighting he needs. He shoots a lot of frames for any one subject. For one job, just to get one shot he will take approximately 200 shots of the subject. And we are not talking about many different scenarios. We are talking about a simple head shot with one type of background and lighting. He tells his subjects that the designer will need a range of expressions to choose from. Although this is true, I realize that Paul shoots a lot of small variations. I think that I will have to do more of this too.

Once Paul has a certain lighting ratio locked in for one person in a job, he continues with this lighting and spacing for the entire series. Jason, the assistant makes elaborate drawings and takes copious length and exposure notes so that he can recreate the shoot exactly. It is beginning to sink into me how important this is to maintain a consistent look in a series of photographs.

Full-time, Paul has Leasha as his producer, Audra as studio manager and administrator and Jason his assistant. They go to extraordinary lengths to make sure that Paul can concentrate as much as possible on creative aspects of the shoot and the shoot itself. A photographer working at a high level needs a team that can take away unnecessary things from clouding the process of photography.

There is one thing that I have been wanting to say for a long time and I will say it now. Working at a high level in anything, one encounters problems and issues. We have to be in a good and safe place to engage these problems. Internally we have to be at peace with ourselves. The whole photographic studio team needs to be professional. That is that they need to know what to do, and show initiative in getting their job done. There are one million and one things happening and every job is different. Everyone in the team needs to be able to keep up.

What I am trying to say is that the photographic team must all be working towards the same goal. The people on the team must have a positive attitude and support one another, not make it difficult for other people to work. And yes, the photographer is the leader. I don't have a desire to rule the world, but the studio is mine and how it runs is my call. The team has to keep in constant communication and back each other up like a military outfit, one person looking out for the back of another.

Trying to go where I want to go in photography, I will encounter lots of problems. I do not need anymore unnecessary problems or shit. I guess this is true for anyone in life. Lighten up, enjoy life when you can and let things be as much as you can. If you work at the highest levels, you will get your share of shit, why create more?

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