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Mar 20

In Seminars & Workshops, Tips & Tricks at 8:24am


One of the reasons I teach is that I learn constantly. I learn from my class participants, who are routinely terrific. I learn from the whole workshop environment, especially one such as here in Santa Fe. Reid Callanan and Renie Haiduk have created a wonderful oasis of photographic enthusiasm and energy out here, and just bouncing off of it for periods of time puts juice back in my own work.

And I completely enjoy, and learn from a group of folks who are routinely taken for granted–the workshop models. These folks come out, for very little money, and help out the classes by posing for them.

I have known Donald now for about 5 years. He consistently gets assigned to my classes, and we are always the better for it. We talk a bit, and he is a font of wisdom, wry humor, and he has that wise “seen it before” twinkle in his eye. He also at this point knows a hell of a lot about lighting. I once saw him eyeball a light a participant was putting up, and quietly say, “I think you’re going to want that light lower.” He was right, and the photog in question made a nice picture.

Donald got sick a while back, and we were all concerned, but typical of him, he just beat it back, and kept coming to pose for the Workshops. I asked back then how he was doing and he replied, “Joe, the day they lay me down, all the music in the world’s gonna stop.” I believe he’s right.

I have always told Donald I would make a picture of him–just take a couple minutes away from the class and do his portrait. Never got the chance until this week. It was an honor to have in front of my lens.

Some folks have asked for lighting grids and sketches about the last couple of pix I posted. Those are coming…just gotta go to Dunkin Donuts and get the napkins to sketch on:-)

Mark K. says:

on March 20, 2008 at 10:05 am

It’s as if, out of the shadows, this strong looking man in the hat pulled low was born. From darkness to light to character. Quiet, solemn, wisen. That’s that this portrait says to me.

And I take mine light ‘n sweet, thanks very much.

ben jamieson says:

on March 20, 2008 at 10:40 am

Wonderful photo. And another great post. Now, when do you think you may decide to do a workshop here in The Bahamas? *grin*

Seriously, though, as an utter amateur who got hooked on taking photos of his 3 yr old, I do so wish there were workshops like yours (and those of David Kelly, Don Giannatti, etc) here. Sadly, the ‘professionals’, schools and colleges offer nothing for a budding photographer to get to grips with the amazing artform, so we’re left with reading, re-reading and absorbing every word you guys write and all the while clicking, clicking clicking and trying to make better pictures.

Speaking of reading, I’ve just finished your book – absolutely wonderful and one I’ll be going back to again and again. I was most touched by your memories of balancing (or not) being a father with being a photographer – you could easily have chosen not to share those personal moments/feelings, but I’m glad you did!

Anyway, enough rambling, just wanted to plant a seed about a workshop in the Bahamas!

Joe Holmes says:

on March 20, 2008 at 10:54 am

Joe — What a great tribute to someone that many people would take for granted. There’s a local guy here in NYC named Philip I’ve used for a couple years as a model for my NYU photography classes. Your entry today inspires me do the same for him — give him a real portrait to keep. Thanks for the reminder.

KenL says:

on March 20, 2008 at 10:54 am


I like the shot of Donald……

I got this thing Joe, I went out and bought 4 SB800’s. Ouch! But I gotta blame somebody, cause the wife is yelling…even though I did my good deed last night.

She is sick, OK no problem. I said to her, “honey, I will hold you up as you do the laundry……..What’s a guy gotta do this to keep in the good graces of his wife…I was really tired that night holding her up….

Oh, back the the light thing. You gotta help dim witted Ken in Kentucky. I listen to Kelby, you, and the strobist, and I gotta tell ya, one says buy skyport, one says radio poppers, and one says pocket wizard…..

Well Joe, I just want it simple (my wife says I can complicate a straight pin) . It use to be I all I wanted for Christmas was my two front teeth, but Joe, “Help me”

I just want to take my D300, put one these gizmo’s on my D300, and control the power output on each one from my D300.

Ok, I am a mindreader, yes, you are right, “this guy ought to buy a thowaway instamatic” and get a life…. But Joe, you gotta know what photography does to a guy. I mean Joe, I wan’t potty trained right by my mommy, so I find approval somewhere, a sort of performanced base acceptance thing…

So, Please do a YouTube thing and help a guy out,,,,,and yes, if you make a DVD like the last one you did for Nikon and my now uses for a dinner plate to help me lose weight, I will buy that too

Affectionally Nikon


Syl Arena says:

on March 20, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Random thought #1 — Master photographers like Joe can always get their models to let their hair down — unlike the pix his students make.

Random thought #2 — It’s obvious that models at workshops don’t get paid much as Donald hasn’t been able to afford a haircut in over a year.

Wally says:

on March 20, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Double A+ my man. Good stuff.

Vance Strickland says:

on March 20, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Great shot! I got a chance to meet, shoot, and talk with Donald last summer at the workshops in Tony Corbell’s class. You’re right, he really has a great attitude towards life.

He’s also perfect for the Wild West persona, it’s amazing how he’s got “the look”, even though he’s not from Texas or any of the traditional “Wild West” states, and that’s comin’ from a Texan! :-)

Isabel Cutler says:

on March 21, 2008 at 8:05 am

Referring to today’s blog – Not only are you a fabulous photographer and communicator, but you are also a great judge of donuts. Long live Dunkin’ Donuts!
(The Moment it Clicks has a permanent place next to the throne in my “library” – for inspiration when I need it.)

Geoff Scott says:

on March 21, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Hi Joe–

Donald is a great model. Last year in Greg Gorman’s Santa Fe class, Donald helped me get my best photo to date. He had just come back from being sick. His attitude was wonderful. The first model that I’ve ever met that knew how to light himself.

His portrait will soon be on the walls of the Photoshop floor of Adobe.

Models are the unsung heroes of portrait and figure photography. Thanks for reminding us.

Have fun,

Jim Donahue says:

on March 24, 2008 at 10:20 pm

On page two of your book you speak and define a double truck, I and I think a lot of other people would be interested as to just what is paid for a double truck.

Just curious

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