Henri Cartier-Bresson L'amour tout court Part1-5

by JamesNYCJune 2. 2011 07:00


Tyen - Behind the scenes of the beauty of Tyen session for Vogue

by JamesNYCMay 31. 2011 07:00


TYEN au Palais de Tokyo

by JamesNYCMay 29. 2011 07:00


Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Brian Lanker, 1947-2011

by JamesNYCApril 15. 2011 08:19

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Brian Lanker passed away yesterday in Eugene Or. after a battle with pancreatic Cancer.

I had the privilege of working with Brian Lanker many years ago as a young photo assistant in Boston.
He had come to Boston to photograph former White House butler Eugene Allen  who served for 34 years under 8 Presidents, from Truman to Reagan. At the time Brian's regular first assistant was Ray Ng.
Though I only worked with Brian and Ray on this one shoot it was one of those experiences that turns out to be a great personal and professional learning experience; and one of the many reasons why I have in my writings and workshops encouraged photo assistants to diversify and work with as many different types of photographers as they possibly can.

Brian was the first photographer I'd worked with that actually did any research about his subjects.
Previously photographers I'd worked with just showed up to a location or met their subject at a studio took their photographs with little to no conversation or interaction with the subject and walked away with "So-So" images..
I was to learn that Brian had read Mr. Allen's entire memoir during his travel time during the previous 36 hours.
This preparation allowed Brian the opportunity to relate to and interact with his subject, and discuss Mr. Allen's book and have him discuss some of his first hand experiences a great many of which never made it into Mr. Allen's book. (The only other time I would see this level of personal preparation would be a few years later when I worked with Mark Seliger.)
This behind the scenes information, the conversations, and life experience are what really made those early days of photo assisting great.
Working with Brian also taught me about Lighting.
It was this first time I'd worked with someone that didn't setup a dozen soft boxes and then wrestle with trying to control the light that would inevitably be bouncing all over the place. It is my recollection that Brian worked in a 'Subtractive process' rather than an additive process. Too often photographers will just add another light.

Brian on this shoot used Dynalites with grid sets and Cine foil. This made more work for the assistants because we were constantly adjusting the lights to hit the moving subject as Brian wanted; but it also gave Brian the ultimate control over his lighting and how the lighting would interact with his subject.
For those of you not familiar with Brians work consider doing a Google Images search or checking our his book: I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America

Credit - NPPA
Brian Lanker won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Photography for "Moment Of Life," a small black-and-white photography essay that captured Lynda [then Coburn] giving birth via the Lamaze method, which was a newsworthy development in the early 1970s. The photographer was 25 years old. Lynda was 29 and giving birth to her second child, Jacki. When the Coburns divorced, Lynda and Brian married on December 31, 1974.
View a short interview with Brian Lanker heree.





JamesNYC recalls working on Sports Illustrated 1996

by JamesNYCFebruary 15. 2011 21:25

Since the new Sports Illustrated is now on news stands I thought I'd reminisce about my own S.I. experience.

I had the great fortune to be on a Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot several years ago, with a photographer I'd been following since my photo school days back in Chicago.
These YouTube Videos are from our leg of the shoot in South Africa.
We shot in Cape Town, The Kalahari desert, Cape of Good Hope, Johannesburg - Sun City, and the wine country known as Franschhoek
This was back in the "Olden days" of film and Polaroid, 35mm manual focus cameras and the best/most reliable portable flash unit of the day was a portable 600W Hensel.

In fact I personally loved South Africa so much I seriously considered moving there; and the video production company was even willing to sponsor my Visa. Little did I know that I would become a father 10 months later.

Long before reality TV I was foolish enough to attempt industry specific comedy on camera at 7:30 in the morning, before having my morning pot of coffee, on an airport tarmac which at that hour of the day was already 105 degrees. Thankfully the forth generation audio on this 1st video is bad enough that I just sound like an inarticulate exhausted photo assistant; and I can live with that.

For me this was the final travel job of 6 that included traveling to 4 countries, and working 120 days straight with 1 day off while we were in shooting in Milan. It was during this trip that Marco and his business partners and boarding school friends Federico Pignatelli and Gianni Versace (the silent partner very few knew of) were putting the finishing touches on the new Pier 59 Studios in NYC.

Other fun stuff about this trip:
Rebecca Romijn (pre Stamos) gave here engagement ring to someone during the shoot to hold while we were shooting in the red sand dunes. Later that day we spent a large portion of that afternoon sifting through 2 acres sand aided by the local goat herders to find it. The sand in these red dunes is so fine that in order to get an idea of how deep we should be digging we dropped a quarter in the sand from from an elevation of 4 feet. The quarter had gone down 16 inches when we found it.

Travel time direct to South Africa from JFK NYC is 28 hours with 1 stop to refuel off the west coast of Africa (Cape Verde I think). When you know your going to be sitting on a plane for 28 hours straight I highly recommend flying business class. And while South African Airlines appears to have crappy user ratings now, they took really good care of us on that shoot.

When shooting at the Cape of Good Hope the surf spray was so harsh that even when shooting 150 yards from the breaking surf the salt mist was coating the camera and lens and getting into the the focus ring. That particular 200 mm lens which was new at the beginning of the shoot was cleaned and put up for sale at a local camera shop when we got back to NYC.

In order to escape the heat of the intense midday sun our call times were often 4:30 am, so that we could shoot by sun up at around 5:45. We would load the 3 passenger vans and start driving through the dessert to the locations I had scouted the day before. That's a 40 minute drive in pitch black. So to break the silence and to wake up Angie Everhart and I would sing Van Halen songs at the top of our lungs in the van. Actually not the worst duet you've ever heard.

OK, so it was still the 90's. Pretty much every night everyone on the shoot consumed a bottle of wine each at dinner; some more... while we were in the Kalahari the local producers set us up a barbecue of fresh lamb chops (butchered that morning) flown in to us along with fresh veggies and 6 cases of wine from the vineyard we had shot at the week before. While we were eating, drinking, exhausted and sunburned a couple of Bat eared fox strolled through our camp looking for their share of the BBQ.

Night time in the Kalahari is the Blackest black and the quietest quiet I have ever experienced. Very NOT like NYC.

For our 30 day shoot we brought 300 rolls of 35mm Ektachrome 100, 100 packs of Fuji fp100c, all crammed into my flight case. Total baggage of the photo crew (3) including equipment and personal bags was 9. Sports Illustrated/Time Warner had 50 body bags of swimsuits and accessories.

7:00 in the morning is the wrong time to realize that a single Cessna Turboprop aircraft is too small for a group of 8 and all of the equipment and baggage. So we loaded a van and our S.F. producers boy friend drove 16 hours to our next location.

When the video crew on your shoot asks if you want to go on safari with them while the rest of the crew sleeps through the afternoons high sun TAKE IT!! You'll probably never get a second chance to get out of the truck and photograph 3 Lionesses in the dessert sitting under a lone tree watching you.
Wild Animal PHOTO TIP: Keep 1 foot in the truck at all times; cause you really ain't that fast!

I think an interesting video now would be a "Where are they now" of the people from that shoot.
More in that book I keep saying I'm gonna write.



The truth about working for free.

by JamesNYCJanuary 12. 2011 15:43

Should I work for free?—a flowchart

This is a great little item that is getting passed along in just about every photo forum and photo related web site and it's well worth passing along here too with credit to it's author Jessica Hische  http://jessicahische.com/spendstoomuchtimeinternetting/

Click the image to view it larger.




Thanks for the great feed back on the new site

by JamesNYCNovember 24. 2010 10:14

Always great to hear from everyone about the new sites photo production database.

As some of you have seen I'm still working out a few kinks since the migration from our test bed server to the actuall 1ProPhoto.Com servers.

I'm seeing that the confirmatiom emails are taking a few minutes to make there way to most of you; in some cases up to 4 minutes. Not sure why but I'm looking into that too. Most likly a GoDaddy thing.

After 6 weekes of extensive testing I'm very secure in knowing that the site works on all browser platforms and on all OS's...however..!

Should you encounter any issues while useing the new site please email me with a description of the problem, OS & browser your are using.

Take care




The New 1ProCrew.Com Database is LIVE

by JamesNYCNovember 21. 2010 13:04
The new http://www.1procrew.com photo industry database system is now LIVE.

Register as a new member or update your old information by creating a new member listing on the NEW and improved www.1ProCrew.Com photo industry database and be part of the longest running FREE photo community.

Our new site features:

- "Who can signup for the new database?"  Everyone!
Photographers, Photo Assistants, Digital Techs. Lighting Techs, Rental Studios, Equipment rental, Stylists, Makeup artists Hair stylists; if you work in the commercial photo industry there is s listing for you. (If you dont see on email us and we will create it).

 - www.1ProCrew.Com  - default page will randomly feature site members listings every time the page reloads.
        This way everyone gets an opportunity to be on the front page.

 - Completely redesigned site user interface.

 - Expanded member listings now include member listings for all job positions and company types in the commercial photo industry.

 - New improved sign up page with expanded category listings, and email confirmation sent to new users to help prevent spammers

 - Improved Resume and user Profile image upload and display.

 - New user profile system that allows you to display as much or as little information about yourself or your business.

 - All user email addresses are completely hidden to prevent spammers or system misuse or abuse.
 - NEW Phone number privacy feature. allows users to control who and how others can view their phone numbers.
 - NEW social networking links allows visitors to connect to follow you on your social networking sites.

 - ALL Photo Production crew, Photo retailers, and Photo Rental companies can now upload their own promotional materials in PDF format, and also have their own online image portfolio.

 - FREE Professional online Photo Portfolio that allows you to display up to 200 images in 10 unique categories that you create.

 - Display up to 20 YouTube or Vimeo hosted HD videos in your profile listing FREE.

 - My Crew network - add those great people you have worked with and work well with to your Crew Network.
    You also have the option to accept or deny any of those network connections.

 - My recommendations - Now all of those great photo industry people that you have worked with have the opportunity
    to voice why you are so great and provide you with their "completely unbiased" recommendation.
    You then have the option to accept or deny any of those recommendations.

 - NEW and still FREE Community forums.



End of a really good week.

by JamesNYCSeptember 17. 2010 16:05
Did 3 days of editorial beauty out of state, and today did lighting for a video shoot here in NYC for Sharper Image.
We shot with the Canon 7D and the Canon 5DMKII.
Nothing better than being hired for good jobs were the photographer lets you do what he hired you for.
Video footage of the behind the scenes stuff after the AD approves it.



New Blog, new hosting and, "A week from hell"

by JamesNYCSeptember 4. 2010 15:02

After this past week which was over run with web hosting server issues and really badly written BLOG scripts,
I am thoroughly convinced that there is a very special place in HELL awaiting those that write bad code and offer no support and continue to produce crap as a finished product.



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