Two days before Memorial Day 2015 it rained so hard on the barren playa of Eureka Valley that we rushed out to climb the high desert back toward the dry Sierras! What stuck in the viewfinder was this solitary strip of lonely yellow lines, normally discreetly tucked into the desert road as obligatory, but nondescript. So very accustomed to the scorching sun at 120 degrees, the lines are basking in the rare, cool shower with an overflowing shimmer producing an ecstatic duet of overflowing light. The paint is merging with the lip gloss provided by a simple rain.
There wasn't a second to spare as Gino threw himself into his character, so strong that you had to check your internal model and verify that you were not watching someone connected. Was this an associate or boss, or crumb?
For his composite I wanted to turn the tables on the man. There is definitely a table. And there are three in this conversation? But what is he saying to himself? We don't know if Gino is burning, buying, or calling in to get something special done. There's maybe a third party off camera, but I don't think it's the commission. That is, unless our shylock is on the carpet because the fix for featherbedding drew some heat. The joint is tense and it may just be a plan for a knock over. One thing we know for sure, this is no rat. Definitely a friend of ours.
Vincent is a personality adventurer, complete with props for self casting. They could be chains, goggles or any number of image altering objects. Ok, they definitely include at least one great watch.
This is post #3 from the Joel Grimes Workshop in Phoenix. My composite for Vincent came from an unlikely place, a tiny ghost town just outside Death Valley in a forlorn place called Rhyolite. Rhyolite was a gold rush town of the early 1900s that rose to a population of 4 or 5 thousand. But Rhyolite declined almost as rapidly as it rose. After the richest ore was exhausted, production fell, and in 1916 the light and power were finally turned off in the town. The power that was Rhyolite is preserved though, in the magnificent remaining concrete, neo-classic remains of the Cook Bank Building. So I have combined those strong, powerful remains with Vincent's strength to create a modern Helenic tableaux.
Ok, she's going to make a statement. And that means even at a photography workshop where she is standing around most of the time waiting for her set to be created. And when it's done, she is ready to introduce her uninhibited self. I saw her standing there in that soft, teasing sweater-top with her black heels all going to waste. So I asked if she could kick them up. After she made sure she heard me right, she went right to town, right up to a sparkling smile.
This is post #2 from the Joel Grimes Workshop in Phoenix. As I said earlier, I had not come to composite, but my compositing mania wouldn't leave me alone so I decided to do one for each of the models. Jennifer turned out to be the vixen welcoming everyone to the Neptune pool, familiar to those who know it as the neo-classic outdoor pool of the Hearst Castle.
Let's all go for a swim.
Post Joel Grimes Workshop (Phoenix) this blog begins what has been a monumental series for me. This is post #1. I was put to the self-test of digital capture working in concert with 13 others, post processing, retouching as closest as possible to perfection, compositing and outputting to web and print.
Compositing wasn't a focus of the workshop, but I've recently been a compositing madman, inspired by Joel's very creative work. So on the very first night of the workshop I hastened back to my room after dinner and immediately searched my archive for Bryce's perfect background. Fort Point in San Francisco sits under the Golden Gate Bridge, and has a ethereal set of officers’ quarters that proved to be perfect. Two composites later I am left with both their otherworldly atmosphere and Bryce's haunting look.
I also became endlessly fascinated with Bryce's hands. It’s the simple classic elegance of the forms they make. David thinks it's the regal look of Nefertiti revisited. The interaction between the attendees and models is so fleeting it’s amazing good images come out of the endeavor. Bryce remarked that she had been told to work on her “symmetry.” I think she's done. My favorite pic is the one that cuts off right at her eyebrow and that is exactly how it was shot (not cropped). What stories are in these eyes?
Atlas features creative and inspiring photography from around the globe. The Atlas blog post includes a discussion with me about important developmental points in my photography life and was originally posted by Atlas in September 2015.
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