I worked with ThinkTAP Learn this past year to put together what is probably the most complete video overview of an assignment I’ve ever participated in. They were there, recording, when I talked to the subjects on the phone, when I thought out the job, and when I was struggling to finish in the field on a day when I had been up all night throwing up. (There are no sick days for a freelancer.)
They recorded the setups, the lighting, the interaction with the subject, the crestfallen look up at the sky when freezing rain attended an outdoor shoot with a clown, and the shrug I had when the bed of nails a performer was supposed to lay down on turned out to not be a bed, but more like a 2’x3′ piece of board. They were there for the studio days, and the field days. They recorded jobs when I used the new Nikon SB-5000 radio TTL Speedlights, and when I switched off to Profoto B-1’s. And they also did a small stint at the end with Jon Cospito, as he retouched the final images. Soup to nuts, as they say.
We dreamed up this job to shoot performance artists in the Washington DC area, that hotbed of suits and ties and bureaucracy. The hook was that these folks, in the midst of a metro area dominated by the government, with all the attending attitudes and connotations that might have, had found a different way to make a living. Free spirits, in a couple of words. Colorful and unabashed. Different.
All these disparate folks–a stripper, a clown, a stilt-walking mime, a belly dancer, a fire eater–required a different approach, a changeup in the lighting and the thought process. Photographically speaking, each had possibilities to take advantage of, and each had problems that needed solving. In some instances, I had to work fast. Others required me to completely negate the location space and create a studio. I used big flash and small flash, long lens and wide, emphasized environment or squashed it, and used flash, hot lights and any goddam light that was available, as they say.
It will be rolled out in installments, and the first one’s out, and, like the rest of the pre-holiday world, it is on sale now. Hit this link for the info and the pricing. This one is fun! (How can shooting a belly dancer backlit with hot lights, gyrating with veils, with bicycle lights attached to her hips not be fun?) It is the first of this series of location adventures that end up being a pretty complete overview of field work. It shows, as Bill Douthitt, my good friend and editor at Nat Geo used to say, “concept to completion.”