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Beijing to Alcatraz

Sep 20

In Seminars & Workshops at 6:38pm

When my friend D calls me up and says things like, “Hey, I just shaved my head, you wanna shoot me?” I just generally say yes. She had a part as a POW in an indie film, so during a recent stint in Santa Fe, I shot her at, well, I guess you’d have to say, my favorite penitentiary, in New Mexico. (It’s such a weird life, being a photog.)

But, I’ve never had a chance to visit Alcatraz. So, at the behest of Nikon West Coast, I’m heading there next week to do a lighting workshop. Nikon’s Jeff Mitchell, out in California, proposed it a while back, and I jumped at the idea. We’ll be out there at night, which is very cool.

That’s on Tuesday, Sept. 27th. On Wednesday, I linger in San Francisco, and give a couple informal lectures and demos in a small, 40 person studio setting. Call (650) 327-8996 for details….more tk….

Jason says:

on September 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

“You wanna shoot me?”

Doug Kaye says:

on September 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm

And I’ll be there as part of your Alcatraz workshop, Joe. Looking forward to it!

Steve Graafmans says:

on September 21, 2011 at 7:10 am

Absolutely spewing, I was at Alctraz in June (travelled from Australia). Why were’nt you there then Joe? Would be awesome to be in your class Joe.

Rick Bern says:

on September 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

Love it Joe. Would be interested to see how you lit the room/subject. Any shots of you shooting?

Matthew Williams says:

on September 21, 2011 at 8:29 am

Hey Joe, cool shot! Just wondering if you have any kind of an update with the PW Flextt5’s?? I know with the update they just came out with it fixed quite a few issues, I got my hands on a pair of them this weekend for a wedding and loved the results, just wondering if you had any updated thoughts on them yet?

Scott says:

on September 21, 2011 at 8:40 am

You will LOVE Alcatraz. We did a night tour a year ago. At night, it’s downright eerie.

Paco says:

on September 21, 2011 at 8:53 am

Oh man!, D photographs good even shaved and POVd!… wish I could be in SF. :)

Eric Politzer says:

on September 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm

and if you want plenty of men and women in uniform, not to mention chains and shackles and collars and hoods, oh my!!!, then just stroll over to Folsom Street on Sunday for the annual homage to leather, rubber, latex, and all things to make a kinkophile content!

Richard Davis says:

on September 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I’m struck by the cropping on this shot. The angling of the body makes the shot so much more powerful. A regular upright view would have been, in my opinion, just another documentary shot and indistinguishable from tens of thousands of others and, therefore, un-memorable.

By tilting the frame, the subject’s head is now moved into the upper right quadrant of the frame and, coupled with the lighting on the subject, immediately draws the viewer to the expression (or lack of) on the subject’s face and keeps bringing the eye back to rest there.

Which leads to my question of whether the angle was captured in camera or cropped in post? Would love to know!

Either way, a powerful image.

Ken Toney says:

on September 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Joe, man I forgot to ask you to shoot me at the PSW Safari. I have some hair now and needed to upgrade. I guess i’ll wait till next year in Vegas! I had a great time at the Bonnie Ranch!

Walk Hall says:

on September 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

Hi Joe this is Walk Hall, the photographer translator of the first 2 books of yours. So much wanted to see you in person, and I just missed you in the Tim’s Bar BQ by only 2 or 3 minutes when you left tonight.

I do have some thoughts to share with you but I’m not sure how I can contact you while you’re on the move, so I’m leaving this message here as well as an email to, hope you’d check it before you go see the publisher tomorrow morning!

Cindy Snyder says:

on September 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Can’t wait to see the photos from Alcatraz. It’s creepy during the day (and depressing when you think about being locked up in that place). Can only imagine what it’s like at night.

Frederick says:

on September 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm


I was thinking ‘awesome, a chance to sit in on a McNally gig when I am in San Francisco for work next week.’ But, the folks who answered said the lectures have been moved to Palo Alto. Can you confirm and maybe update the post.

Thanks in advance

Life with Kaishon says:

on September 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

She is beautiful. I wish I would be able to go to your classes. Have a fun trip!

stephen says:

on September 24, 2011 at 1:42 pm

what’s w/ the phone number? Wasn’t really sure who i was talking to…

Alberto says:

on September 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Joe, I’ll be in NYC for 2 weeks in October…anything going on (as far as seminars) there?

Kajsa says:

on September 26, 2011 at 6:29 am

Wow…. yep, now that I’ve met D, I would jump at the chance too. She looks cool.
And the Penetentiary is open to shooting again then? Must go back 😉

George says:

on September 27, 2011 at 10:57 am

Awesome. Really wish I was in the states so I could attend one of your workshops one day. Come to the UK for one! pls! 😀

willem says:

on October 20, 2011 at 7:37 am

Great image Joe, cant help feeling it would be stronger if she was backlit with a flash tough. Regrds Will

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