Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hard Light

It really is all about the light. Way back in the late 70's I fell in love with realistic hard light. I loved the way sunlight broke through the trees and bounced off the sidewalk. I began experimenting with a bare Calumet strobe tube. Back then it was tough. Most of my shots were on 8X10" film and with the head maybe 6 feet from the subject I had to pop the strobe 6 or 8 times to get the right exposure. Polaroid helped but I never really knew what I had until I saw the first test sheet of film. 
Back then commercial lighting was all about soft shadows made with light banks. A product sitting on plexiglass back lit by a light bank was all the rage way back then. Nobody was experimenting with hard light back in 1980.
I was fortunate to have some younger art directors at some of the larger ad agencies who were willing to give me a chance. You see above an ad I did for Weight Watchers, one for ABC TV's North & South mini-series, a Gold Toe sock brochure and a Black Book self promotion piece. 
Each one was lit using the bare strobe tube.
In 1989 I joined Nabisco as a photographer and made them buy me optical spots. By 1994 we were digital and the combination of optical spot strobes (which replaced the bare tubes), and digital's instant imaging so I could tweek the lighting on the fly, made this light perfect. I would say that today, I shoot 80% of my work in this same hard light way. Most of my clients hire me for just that reason. The chicken parmesan is one I did recently.  I guess the lesson here might be that if you stay with what you like, eventually it just might be popular.   

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fun with friends... I mean clients!

Another great day. Life is so much better when working with friendly people. Aren't they more fun than jerks? This day was a job at Split Image Studios in Fairfield NJ. The guy in the hat is Dwight, art director for B&G Foods and the gal in the apron is Marie Haycox: awesome food stylist. We did a lot of shots that day, salads with trail mix sprinkled on top, salads with croutons on top and then three trail mix bars. Still because everyone is an expert in their field, we ended at a very reasonable hour. Making money with a camera and playing with friends is a great way to make a living.