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The Producer

Aug 4

In Jobs at 6:25am

The blog went missing last week. It was as if an industrial cleaning team had come through the studio, and somebody waved the business end of a high powered wet dry vac too near the calendar and it just sucked the week off the wall. There was that brief hissing noise as that particular collection of days put up a feeble resistance, and then, bloop! they were gone. Through the pipe and out into some sort of interior land fill in the barely conscious back of my brain known as what the hell just happened?

The pace of production here at the studio is partly to blame of course, apart from my ongoing, relentless inefficiency. We knocked out two major shoots in July, back to back, and face two more in August. Welcome news, to be sure, but when the ever patient, long suffering Lynn, our studio manager, producer and Mother of Dragons goes on a production bender such as she currently is, our little shop is literally all in. In the commercial world, it is astonishing the details and difficulties that need to be resolved before one actually gets a camera to one’s eye. Permits, insurance, releases, vehicles, rentals, models, styling, clothing without logos, make-up, hair….the list is lengthy, and the roadblocks and work arounds are many. When I climbed the antenna atop the Prudential Building in Boston last year for Epson, the web of ownership entities amongst the building, the tenants, and the bits and pieces of antenna were endless and complex. It was all cordial, but highly detailed. Given Lynn’s expertise and calm, it worked. A couple hundred emails later, along with an eight million dollar insurance policy, and I was hanging off that tower.

When the details are done, and the day of the shoot has arrived, Lynn is only too ready to pass the mantle of pressure over to me. She has great faith that everything is ready for the clicking of the shutter to commence, and likewise has great faith that pictures will result from all the effort. I also readily accept her wry smile and pat on the back prior to the job. “It’s on you now, big fella,” is the kind of the sensibility we have developed over 21 years of working together. I believe if this were back in Spartan times, she would say something like, “Come back with your shield or on it.”

She has gotten me an elephant in the desert, and a 40 ton crane truck on a dry lake bed, for the shot below.

She has negotiated with the National Park Service to get a 175′ boom crane truck up 220 switchbacks and into position to shoot a singular view of the Large Binocular Telescope atop Mt. Graham in Arizona.

She stitched together the resources for me to put together four sets at Fifth and Sunset Studios in LA to shoot a series of cover images of Tony Bennett.

The above shoot was done on a Sunday, as I recall, and Lynn was not in the studio. (A day off! Can you imagine?)

I asked Tony if he would leave her a message she could come in and pick up on Monday morning. Tony, ever the gracious gentleman, obliged, calling her I believe, “the best producer ever.”

He was right. More tk….

Lewisw says:

on August 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

Beauty, Joe. Have a great week.

JerseyStyle Photography says:

on August 4, 2014 at 9:30 am

Oh yes she is!! :-) ~ Mark

Craig Lee McAllester says:

on August 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

Nice opening shot Joe, but I see you still have a tight grip on the lanyard. I spent 10 years in mountain rescue, out in Phoenix, and ‘holding on’ is a habit that is a little hard to break; even for pro’s. Thanks for sharing all your work.

Gary Jackson says:

on August 4, 2014 at 10:52 am


Any ransom notes from the blog nappers?


Tom McKean says:

on August 4, 2014 at 11:43 am

We’ll Joe. I have seen a number of other shoots Lynn orchestrated, and I’d say she IS the best I have seen anywhere! Congrats to your staff to get things ready for you to shoot :))

Walter Rowand says:

on August 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Joe, Miss Ya Knuckle Head.

Alan says:

on August 4, 2014 at 11:39 pm

It’s really great to hear about the people that work to make it possible for you (and other photographers) to go out and get that shot. Nice peek behind the curtain.

Chiara says:

on August 5, 2014 at 11:07 am

Lynn’s been in my life since I was the tender age of 16. You’re a good man for recognizing her. Congrats Lynn!

Peter Tsai says:

on August 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Lynn truly is a gem! She was so helpful on our visit to Joe’s old Studio space for some workshops and everything at the event was very memorable for being so top notch!

Simon says:

on August 7, 2014 at 5:26 am

I would love to see Lynn do a Kelby style training series on her side of the process. I’m sure the knowledge she could impart would be outstanding – not to mention some of the stories she may let slip in the process…

mark says:

on August 18, 2014 at 7:07 pm

the logistics you detail are mind numbing. You’re lucky to have her. On a somewhat side note, have you considered getting a drone, either a quadcopter or octocopter which would probably negate the need to drag boom trucks, etc up switchbacks? I owned one (until I crashed it) and they are truly amazing. I think hiring helicopters for many shoots will be a thing of the past and save a ton of money in production.

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