Below are a few samples of work produced recently with prop stylist Deborah Williams. I have been in a strip-it-down-minimal mood lately. My direction for the shoot was just that – and that I wanted organic materials combined with clean surfaces. Deborah is a really intuitive stylist and read it well. These few in particular stood out for me.
For some time, I have been thinking about how to incorporate video as an extension of the work I do. I considered subject matter for some time because I wanted it to relate to my still photography work. I went ahead with this little “portrait of a house”.
The first thing that jumped out at me with video is the importance of a narrative arc. It’s sort of obvious, and I knew that, but I found myself thinking more carefully about the whole before I began to shoot the parts. Story line becomes essential. Editing is all of a sudden a really important skill. Editing stills is important, but things can be left open-ended because the images are often supported by text to assist the story flow. Video is a self-contained world. I thought about creating a story board, but quickly realized that would be too limiting and kill the joy of finding surprising images. And it’s not like this was a feature-length film. I decided instead to keep a visual outline in my head and carry that around with me when I shot.
Filmed and Edited by William Geddes
Music: Django Reinhardt & The Hot Club of France
Equipment: Canon 7D
This Old House Magazine delves into food in the September issue.
Paul Lowe whipped up the recipes and provided food styling.
This summer, The Maine Media Workshops has organized a weeks worth of events to honor the memory of photographer Arnold Newman, who taught at MMW for many years. One event is a group photography exhibit of former assistants and students of his who also happen to have affiliations with the workshops.
I had the pleasure – others would say pain! – of assisting ”Mr. Newman” (to you and me) while I was working one summer at MMW, and then during my very first weeks as an photographer’s assistant in New York. Arriving in New York back then, I was green. I could not plug in a Dyna-Light pack. Fortunately for me, neither could he! Mr. Newman was old school: tungsten hot lights and long, long exposures. And ties.
I arrived at his studio just off Lincoln Center early one September morning in 1990. I remember he did mention something about wearing a tie. I dressed for the day well enough, but really forgot about the whole tie thing. I mean, who the hell wears a tie anymore?
Well, he did. And he preferred his assistants to as well.
I was greeted by a slam of books on the table and “god dammed assistants, go get a tie.” Arnold’s dear wife, Augusta, kindly and calmly directed me to a vender in Lincoln Center.
And I still have that cheesy polyester tie in my closet.
In any event, I am proud to have been asked by Elizabeth Greenberg, the Director of Education at MMW, to participate in this show. The print I selected for the show (below) is from a project of mine in Scotland. I think it’s a proper homage to the portrait master. I am also pleased to have kept up my long association with the workshops over the years. After all, it’s really where it all started for me.
Recently, I had the opportunity to produce a project with the prop stylist Marcus Hay. It’s not everyday I do a test to this extent, but I wanted to connect my still life work to the more environmental imagery that I have in abundance – stills with a sense of environment. Lately, I have been thinking how contrasting elements in pictures – dark/light objects and colors, etc – work to create interesting visual tension in the frame. Along those lines, the thought came for a home design scheme using materials from different eras and/or time periods: vintage/modern. It is something many interior designers do, like Thomas O’Brien, for example. The theme got the ball rolling for this project. I figured Marcus would have a blast with the props. And he did an amazing job at selecting disparate elements from these time periods.
Here is a look:
Here are a few more from a series of photographs on the Island of Vieques, just off Puerto Rico. We have been traveling to the island for a few years now. They are sketches, really, made with the light-as-feather Leica. It’s my equivalent to carrying around a sketchbook and pencil. The camera slips around your neck and you hardly know its there.
The name “One Is A Crowd” came from a poetry recording by Puerto Rican native Pedro Pietri. I stumbled across it last year. The title seems so appropriate with some of the pictures – and with the restored calm that has returned to the island now that the United States Navy has stopped using it for military exercises. If you want more on that whole saga go here.
I may put a group of these together for a show sometime.
Last week I attended a book signing for interior designer Scott Sanders. His new book, Picture Perfect, was just released by Pointed Leaf Press. Included in the monograph are photographs I shot on assignment for HC&G on the eastern end of Long Island. Here is a look at the images selected from that shoot.
After spending so much time photographing interior spaces, I decided to develope a workshop around the subject. Particularly, the idea that the interior environments we create for ourselves are a mirror of us in many ways – subconscious statements not only about who we are but how we want to be perceived by others.
One thing I most look forward to during a workshop is sharing images of other photographers and artists. So here are a few that have incorporated interior environments in some way. I have left out many, for sure.
I would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments section some photographers or artists that have used domestic interiors in their work. It would be great to add to my list for the workshop.
“Exploring The Interior: Seeing Home In A New Light” is scheduled to run at The International Center of Photography (ICP) here in New York in May, and at the Maine Media Workshops (MMW) in late August.
Another Bruce Weber book arrived under the tree this year. It’s the second volume of nine (nine was just released, actually) in the All American series. This one is called Short Stories from 2002. I recommend you check them out here at Arcana books. They are hidden gems. At least I think they are relatively hidden. The are cloth-bound books, after all. Runs of only 4000! Imagine that.
I mentioned the series earlier in the year. Each journal loosely revolve around a particular theme, supported by a constellation of American artists, poets, writers, photographers, politicians – and courageous, every day people of all stripes. Throughout are selections of Weber’s own photographs and writings, musings. The books seem to celebrate the wonderful mess that is America.
In Short Stories he features a couple of American photographers, William Gedney George Daniell. I have never heard of either of these two, so it was a great find. The similarities in style and esthetic to Weber’s work is striking.
This little quote is from On Directing Film by David Mamet
I stumbled upon this book last year. I am editing some video now, and it’s come in handy once again.
“You always want to tell the story in cuts. Which is to say, through a juxtaposition of images that are basically uninflected. Mr Eisenstein (filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein 1898-1948) tells us that the best image is an uninflected image. A shot of a teacup. A shot of a spoon. A shot of a fork. A shot of a door. Let the cut tell the story. Because otherwise you have not got dramatic action, you have narration….It’s unimportant that the audience should guess why it’s important to the story. It’s important to simply tell the story. Let the audience be surprised.”
“If you listen to the way people tell stories, you will hear that they tell them cinematically. They jump from one thing to the next, and the story is moved along by a juxtaposition of images – which is to say, by the cut.”