Marketing photo for "Immortal Longings", the last produced play of Terrence McNally.
One of the things that disappoints me about working in this time of having to be conscious about being safe is losing some of the social niceties of photographing people. While we try to be efficient when making "headshots" against a seamless background when time permits I like to take a bit of time to get people into the set, spend some time chatting or having a cup of tea (coffee!) and letting the subject comfortably immerse themself in the environment in which we'll work.
The current protocol calls for spending less, not more, time engaging with each other. Under this regimen it seems most practical to spend as much time as possible setting up all the lights I'll use for a session and relentlessly testing them with a stand-in (usually me, via self-timer) so that we can maximize our results in a prompt fashion when the talent arrives.
We're doing a shoot in about thirty minutes and I've gotten the shooting space as well set as I can. I've swept out the space, done the custom white balance, carefully checked exposure and even gotten down on my hands and knees to scrub the shiny, white boards that I use under people's feet when we're shooting against white and dropping out the background. When today's CEO and her creative director walk in we should be able to bow to each other, give a few instructions and then position her on the background and start shooting.
It wasn't always this way. In the absence of face masking and fear of contagion we would have had the CEO's make-up done here. I would have had time for a coffee with the C.D. and we would have gone over all the things he'd like to get from the shoot once again. He'd add in any new information that might help.
The talent would spend 15 or 20 minutes being ministered to by a personable and charming make-up professional and I would come by and have a conversation aimed at winnowing out her past experiences as well as the things she likes and dislikes about photo sessions.
We'd have craft service which, for a morning shoot would consist of muffins, coffee, tea, water, fruit, and little cubes of cheese for people who needed some protein but forgot to eat breakfast at home. Today, not so much. We have bottled water because it can be dispensed with an eye to safety.
Ah well. This too shall pass. I'm looking forward to our session this morning. It's nice to glide back into a routine that I know well and like even more.
As so our recent comment-fest: Sorry to unload on you with two different posts but sometimes a bit of negativity goes a long way. I feel like all of us would love to get back to real life but suggesting we substitute one activity with another can be annoying. I may have given someone the impression that I was desperately looking for advice about how to fill my free time but, looking back at recent posts, I sure don't think that was the case.
Like any of us I despise discrimination in most forms; especially when it is aimed at me. The not so subtle age-ism of the one post was a lively trigger. The implication seemed clear: I'm too old to be taken seriously as a photographer. I had to answer that one or stop blogging altogether.
Yesterday's last post exhorted me to "get out more." I was stunned. I'm always working, always meeting (either outside for distanced coffee meetings or by the wicked screen meeting tools) and always shooting. The idea that I need to stop what I'm currently doing to go to a small town to photograph a Dairy Queen is laughable. Certainly not on my radar of fun or interesting things for me to photograph. I generally leave the glorification of the cliché and banal to people like Alec Soth.
The idea of substituting landscapes for portraits just because portrait shooting is less available than last year doesn't make sense to me at all. It's like telling me that since swimming pool time has become less readily available I should take up pole vaulting in earnest. Or, that instead of exercising I should take up a sedentary pastime like playing pool (snooker?). The one is no substitute for the other and trying to press against the emotional inertia and friction would probably cause one's head to combust.
I appreciate the support of the majority of readers as expressed through the comments. It helps me remember that I am not only writing for the socially impaired but for a larger audience of people who are similar to me. Thanks.
Now, client arrival imminent. I've got to grab a mask and be ready to greet them. Have a great day.