Hollywood on the Brazos. Elle Magazine Assignment.

Subject:  Richard Linklater, movie director.  Camera:  Pentax 67.  Lens: 150mm 2.8.  fstop 8.  shutter speed 1/60th.  Film:  Fuji Velvia. (ISO 50).  Assignment:  Elle Magazine Profile.

Richard Linklater had just become famous in film circles for "Slacker" which both changed the face of independent film making and introduced a new and highly descriptive word to our lexicon.  He was about to embark on his second big project, "Dazed and Confused" and the editors at Elle were doing a profile piece on him.  They called and asked if I could provide photos.

I looked him up in the phone book, called and set up a shoot time.  We did some images here on his front porch,  some in front of an old theater with a wonderful mural, and even some reclining in a trash heap.  We had no make up artist, no publicist, no art director and no shot list.  We used no lights.  We never contemplated the inverse square law or any of its new derivatives.  We just went out and shot stuff and had fun with it.  My assistant carried one of my two camera bags and kept one of the two Pentax 67 cameras we were shooting with loaded.  The Pentax shot 10 frames on a 120mm rolls so we didn't do a lot of "machine gunning."  I did have along a third body that was permanently fitted with a Polaroid back so we took one Polaroid at each location just to make sure we believed the meter.

The Polaroid back was made by NPC and used fiber optics bundles to get the image from the film plane to the Polaroid film.  At a buck a pop we tended not to chimp much Polaroid.  We could pretty much see the effect we were getting with our one old piece of foamcore, used as a fill card......

We shot about 10 rolls (120 shots) and then retired to Quackenbushes Intergalactic Bakery and Coffee Bar for some coffee and some giant cinnamon rolls.  Elle magazine liked the photos and ran them a month and a half later.  Then they sent me a check.

I liked the Pentax cameras and, if you locked the mirror up before each shot they made very sharp and contrasty images.  But the loading was finicky and I never liked the 6x7cm aspect ratio so I sold them to someone else and continued on with the square format cameras.

I find that there's a tendency to complicate shoots now.  Back when we shot this we were just doing our work.


Craig Yuill said...

I loved Linklater's "Dazed and Confused". If you see it you'll notice a lot of actors who are now big Hollywood stars.

I like it when you mention techniques you use to get the most out of equipment, like locking up the mirror before taking a shot. Ever since your post on leaving unnecessary filters off of lenses I have done just that. My photos are technically better because of tips like these. Keep 'em coming.

Dave Jenkins said...

Used a Pentax 6x7 for almost 20 years. Great camera. From the late 80s through the early years of this century, the RB67 was my main studio camera and the Pentax was my main location camera. I quit using it when I switched to digital, and finally sold it. Wish I had kept it. I think I probably had a higher percentage of keepers with that camera than any other I've ever used.