Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Who You'd Like to Assist Game

I'm at a juncture in my photography work where I'm feeling the need for some support encouragement and guidance from a great photographer to "take it to the next level." We all feel this at some point. Perhaps, it's a feeling of inadequacy, combined with the need to succeed and seek approval, or maybe it's just an evolutionary thing where I'm afraid my photography will eventually die if it doesn't keep moving forward like a shark. But I sometimes play a game, where I imagine which famous photographer I would like to assist.

The list of photographers whose work I like is long. As I start to list photographers I might like to assist, who I'd actually pick for my list gets weird and interesting.

For example, what if you didn't tell me the name or anything like that and just described three photgraphers basically by what they actually do (their "process", if you will) and said I could choose one of the following photographers:

1) A man known for showing celebrities, politicians, and other famous persons in stark uber-true detail; a master of lighting who works with multiple assistants on meticulous, elaborate lighting setups -- conducting long explorations of the self, talking to the sitter to bring out everything he can on the surface of the subjects face and body and bring it into exacting focus and clarity.

2) A master of strobe lighting who does instruction and fashion work using elaborate small light setups and flash groupings -- even walls of strobes; one of the most emulated, quoted, and googled lighting gurus who can show you how to do virtually any kind of location lighting with small ttl strobes.

3) Some crazy, slightly hunched ethnic-New-Yorker-accent d00d with an outdated film rangefinder camera who likes to jump in front of people, paparazzi-style, waving a cheap, Tethered Vivitar manual flash snapping one wide angle photo; his whole portrait session is done as 1-2 second snapshot.

Based on the Job description, it's no brainer: it's "1-2-3" respectively.

1 is Martin Schoeller. 2 is Joe Mcnally. 3 is Bruce Gilden.

While I'd feel privileged to have a chance to work with any of these amazing photographers, it's Bruce Gilden that I'd want as my mentor. No contest.

Check him out working at the Texan's Ball election event for Magnum:

Not that such a collaboration would necessarily work. Bruce Gilden seems way to quick and light to benefit from a photo assistant.


Blogger Peaceswirl said...

And I would love to be able to work under you. I just watched "Bruce has a Ball". Loved it! I would love to see more great photographers in action.

July 31, 2009 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger Randall Douglas said...

"I would love to see more great photographers in action."

Check out some more of the Magnum photo essays. Most don't show the photog working (that's why I like this), but they are all great.

I have a bunch of favs and stuff like this that I will post here as I go along, so maybe check back every know and again.

"And I would love to be able to work under you."

What a compliment! Enough schmoozing already.... I wouldn't mind seeing you do some of your folk art as well. Paint intrigues me, but I haven't made the time for it beyond fingerpainting.

August 8, 2009 at 12:05 PM  
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