5.19.2011

Did they invent photography just so we could photograph our kids?

I already had a big octabank set up, along with a small softbox for a hair light.  I'd done a portrait earlier in the day of a new executive at one of the transportation agencies I work with.  At dinner Ben asked me if I had a recent photograph of him sitting around.  What is recent?  For me it's yesterday.  I don't know about anyone else.  I said, "no." But we could take care of that in minutes.  We walked out the front door of the house and marched the long ten steps into the front door of the intergalactic headquarters of The Visual Science Lab and proceeded to Mega Studio One.


Ben sat down on the pneumatic posing stool, turned to the camera and flashed his signature smile.  One click and we were done.  Seconds later I'd converted the file and sent it to his computer in the house.  He walked in and printed out what he needed.  It was part of an assignment for school.

I like working with Ben.  He's a pro.  He's produced about 60 video projects to date and has to direct people himself.  He now understands how important it is to get the right look in camera.  Before his last assignment for his cinema class at school he came into the studio for a quick discussion about best practices with microphone placement.  We popped open a Pelican case and he chose a mic for his project. He selected the Rode Stereo Mic.  Then he grabbed a Canon 60D with an 18-55 lens on the front, the "fishing pole" for the microphone and some cabling.  As an afterthought he also popped an LED light into his Domke bag  (yes, the kid has his own brown Domke bag....).

I was about to tell him which parameters to change in the menu but he gave me one of those looks that says,  "Thanks Dad but I had this memorized the first time I used it."

I wanted Ben to be interested in photography but he's not playing along.  His focus is film and video.  He's a freshman this year but his PSA about diabetes and peer pressure won third place overall in his school and they handed him $250 in prize money.  The judges said the production values looked like film.  The thing that made me proud is that he turned around and split the money with his crew.  When I finally grow up I want to be just like Ben.

11 comments:

Jan Klier said...

Nice story!

Jen said...

Anything that allows us to really look at our kids sounds cool in my book.

atmtx said...

Looks like Ben has some excellent parents. I am have a son a couple of years younger than Ben. Nothing like the feeling when you see them develop successfully into young adults.

Jim said...

Definitely a kid to be proud of.

Daniel said...

Good Kid. I pray that mine will be as level headed..

Martin G said...

Fantastic!

Lachlan L said...

Hi Kirk,
I enjoy your blog immensely and wanted to compliment you on a job well done. Sounds like a great young man you have.
I'm a community news photog/reporter and I have to say my enthusiasm for shooting these days has diminished for, well, many reasons - most industry related. But this is countered by my almost two-year-old son. Family outings such as long hikes in the mountains, or simple visits to a municipal playground, can yield many opportunities.
I guess these are snaps, but for my wife and I they're little treasures. And they keep me interested in photography. Who is to say snaps can't be creative?
The challenges I face are, one: learning how to best utilize my recently acquired E-PL1 to capture a seldom static toddler, and two, remembering to put the camera down and be part of the picture.
Thanks kindly,
Lachlan L.

Bold Photography said...

My first thought was -- wait - you lit him from camera right! You NEVER light from camera right...

And yes, of course, digital photography, in particular, was invented so *I* could take photos of my kid... :-)

Bold Photography said...

(I actually think that photography was invented to take photos of pretty girls, but until they could get fast enough lenses and something 'film'ish, only dead people and landscapes laid there long and still enough, so there was a big fad of 'death mask' photos. But, after that, the biggest boon came from taking pictures of women, particularly in the boudoir style)

kirk tuck said...

Bold Photography!!!! You are so observant. I hate lighting from the right but I had a client with bangs that hung down on the left and created unacceptable shadows. I kept the lights there for Ben's shot out of laziness.

A++ for accurately calling out why photography was really invented.

Jeff's Photo Blog said...

I keep thinking I want to be Kirk Tuck when I grow up. You personally know Elliott Erwitt and he is one of my photo heroes. Playing with Zeiss lenses doesn't hurt either.

Seriously, nothing is more rewarding than taking photos of you kids and I have 5 great kids so I am truly blest.