First off, many, many thanks to all the folks who have written to me about The Hot Shoe Diaries, and encouraged me along the way through the blog or email to finish it. I’m very grateful. As I mentioned a little bit, it was a bear to write. Talking about small flash means talking about light, which means talking about the whole shebang. The whole shebang requires a bit of thinking, a process I’m profoundly uncomfortable with. But it is out in the stores now, and I simply wanted to say all best to everyone. The book has prompted some queries, so thought I’d do a bit of a Q&A on the bloggarini.
Q: The “Hot Shoe Diaries” is a bit of a strange name for a photo book. Wazzup with that?
A: Yeah, you’re right. Hot Shoe obviously references the flashes, and it is in fact, a bit of a diary, or written a bit like one. It is an ongoing, mildly rambling account of flubs, miscues, gaffes, successes, failures, dropped flashes, blown exposures, rants, raves, and the (until now) interior ruminations of a 30 year photog. I’ve made lots more bad pictures than I’ve made good ones (every shooter has) and there has to be some value there in the scar tissue of a photographic career. So I kinda wrote like I shoot it–all over the place.
Q: Given the title, have there been any problems with folks confusing this particular photo book with books about something else? Do the bookstores put it in the wrong section ever?
A: Yeah, I guess a little bit. Couple folks found it in the adult book section, and one saw it up there with the bodice rippers. Some of the things that link to it on Amazon are pretty great, though, like there’s a link of the book to these…..
I tried buying ‘em for Annie, but I got the eyebrow, ya know? She was like, “I’m not wearing those. I can’t walk in those.” My response? “That’s okay!”
A few people might think it’s a bit of a crime novel, with the K-Man in there a couple of times. I thought about writing it a bit like a noir novel…..
Q: Speaking of the K-Man, who is he?
Mark and I go back a ways. We worked together on a couple of annual reports. He was the client, I was the shooter. He has always been interested in photography, even back when I used to give him grief about the disposable cameras he was shooting. He got me back though and recently blogged a pic he made of me, which shoulda been disposed with the camera that made it. Over numerous Jamesons and a few Johnny Walker Blues, we realized we both were fans of noir movies and crime novels and such. His blog and his photography often go in the direction of mystery, mood and selective light. It’s a fun blog, and there are more adventures awaiting the K-Man on the streets of Gotham, to be sure. Below is Mark’s, uh, disposable effort….
Sheesh…look at that, and the question that springs to mind is, of course, who’s the ass?
Q; The book has done pretty well so far, but let’s face it, Scott Kelby is still the man, is he not?
A: No question. Scott is, like, the number one selling author of our time or any time, and the reason for that is, he’s a damn good writer and a teacher whose humanity and humor shine through even when he’s talking about the frikkin’ liquify tool, ya know? But, one of the reasons Hot Shoes is doing well is because of my own little guerrilla marketing campaign. I target Scott’s books, ya see, cause I know people are gonna go right there to those shelves to buy ‘em. And then, I look around, and well….see for yourself……
Q: What’s with small flash? Why is it a topic of interest?
A: David Hobby.
Q: Now hold on, here. You mean to say one guy started this whole thing? This planet wide fervor over all things strobist?
A: Yep. David, from what I know, started teaching flash informally a few years back to get some friends and fellow shooters on track with it. He began blogging, called it Strobist, and the rest is history. He has built a worldwide community of learning, sharing and participation around the phenomenon of small, portable flashes. Pretty incredible.
Q: Why did you stick a flash in the chicken?
A: Didn’t have floor stand for it, and I found a dead chicken worked pretty well. Hmmm…..does that qualify as a field tip?
Q: Who’s in the gorilla suit?
A: It’s really a gorilla. The Nikon Creative Lighting System is so simple, even a monkey can do it! (Geez, I’m goin’ straight to hell for that one.) No, it’s just me. After years of chimping, well, that’s what happens. More tk…