Up in the Air - with David Harry Stwart

by JamesNYCJune 22. 2012 05:52

Image Copyright 2012 David Harry Stewart. All rights reserved.

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David Harry Stewart shoots David Haselhoff

by JamesNYCMay 25. 2012 06:11

We recently did a campaign for Cumberland Farms, featuring the one and only HOFF. So what is the deal with him? Nice guy, super professional, and funny. I don't think I ever watched Baywatch, and Nightrider is ancient history, so although I have heard stories of YouTube escapades, I really had no background in Hoff-etics. In the entertainment biz, the way to stay sane is to be able to separate out the persona from who you really are. When those two things get confused bad stuff starts happening. David seems pretty sane to me. He is able to turn on and of the Hoff persona at will. He closes his eyes for second then out comes this cartoon version of himself. Its magnificent to watch.

Hoff loves to help out. Do you want me to Tweet this, I have a lot of followers (500,000). Would you like to see the inside of my trailer, its pretty fun. Check out those whales, we used to see them all the time during Bay Watch. Fun, right?

He is one of those guys who likes to collaborate. He wants to know what we need, and he works very hard shot after shot to hit the mark. So, to everyone out there who wants some lurid slanderous story about Mr Haselhoff, there is not much to tell. I wish all the celebs I have worked with were as cool as he was. Thanks Hoff for a very pleasant day.

I am going to wait until the the main ads break then I post the final Hoff shots.

Check out the full story on Davids site; as well as more images.

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Mike Tyson and Me - David Harry Stewart

by JamesNYCDecember 15. 2011 07:48

 

 

Mike Tyson

Everyone has an opinion about Mike, most are not good.

When I got the call from the NYTimes Magazine that they wanted me to photograph Mike Tyson, my first thoughts were of self preservation. It so happened that the call in when I was on set photographing David Blaine, also for the Times Magazine. Of course I said something to David, and it turned out that he and Mike were friends. Even weirder, that David Blaine, Mike Tyson and Michael Jackson were all friends. Go figure. Word was Mike was a total sweetheart, I had nothing to worry about, which is not something I took to heart, as Mike had just eaten a man’s ear on live television.

My assistant and I fly to Maui to meet Mike at his training camp. The first thing is that we have to attend a “media session”. This is when Mike’s PR people (can you imagine doing PR for Mike Tyson?) laid out the ground rules for what was cool and what was not. This was not really meant for us, but more for the 20 or so TV teams that were there. The short version was just keep it to boxing and stay out of Mike’s private life. Yea, right.

Our session was scheduled for the next day, after the TV interviews, which took place every 10 feet or so going around a large banquet room. Everything is fine, Mike going from station to station talking boxing until he gets to the FOX Sports station. They of course are the only ones with a female reporter. The first thing out of her mouth is ” Why do you hate women?”. It escalates from there and within a couple of minutes Mike is screaming, fist raised, quite seriously going to kill the woman. Only 2 very big very strong guys are saving her life. She had been sent there to bait Mike, so that FOX could get a circus moment on the evening news. Mike gave it to them in spades.

Knowing that I was in the very near future going to be inches away from one of the most dangerous men on planet, who was now mad as a hornet, was not a particularly comforting thought. Bad of me I know, but at that moment I was thinking it was a shame about those two big handlers being there to restrain Tyson.

Back to the hotel, we wait and practice what we will be setting up. The call may come at anytime. I was on the phone with Kathy at the Times letting her know the situation. For some reason, they had me pegged as the go to guy for the dangerous, the felonious and the transgressives. Some other lucky photographer was pegged as the movie star shooter, me, I get the toughies.

The call comes in at noon the next day. We were given directions to Mike’s secret training facility. The scene was disconcerting. From the fighting ring, which has been set up in a closed building, we hear loud rap music and the occasional thump of pain. The area outside is littered with huge bleeding men, sitting in stunned silence. I get a glimpse of the Mike boxing. He hits a one of these monsters in the gut with an uppercut and lifts him off the ground. We are talking a 300lb guy. Terrifying.

The writer comes out to say hi mentioning Mike is in a foul mode from the day before. To work it off, he was training particularly hard and had already thrown up once that day. This is not good, not good at all.

About 2 hours and half dozen bleeding monsters later, Mike comes out walking straight towards me followed by a phalanx of handlers. I go directly up to him, show him a polaroid of what we are doing, and tell him this is for the NY Times Magazine. First thing I notice is that Mike has a rather high pitched voice, the second is that he is quick to smile. My anxiety level is reduced from near death experience code red to something more like normal pre-shoot anxiety. But Mike doesn’t want to shoot the picture at the training camp. Because it is the Times, he wants to look sharp, get his hair cut and clean up. Off to Mike’s seaside condo to set up again, a new problem enters my mind. We need to be on an 8pm flight out that night to be in Paris for another job the following day.

We setup and the first thing Mike does is start running his ” I am a very bad man” rap on me. This was a test, but happening 3 feet away it was a very scary test. My adrenals surging, I reach out, slap Mike on the shoulder and say ” Come on Mike, you’re not so bad”. Suddenly the whole vibe changes, I passed the test, and Mike thinks I am ok. Slapping Mike Tyson when not knowing what will happen, is on a fear level with blind bungee jumping. Turns out, Mike is great, super nice and chatty guy. The man is fascinated with world politics. We talk about Mao, about Che, about Osama and Bush. I discover he is covered with political tattoos. Who knew? What strikes me as most unusual about Mike is that he really wants people to think he is worse than he is. Anyone else I have ever photographed, killers to movie stars to politicos, always want me to think they are better than they are. We do 2 setups, quickly, very quickly. At the very end I see Mike in his boxing trunks cradling his 6 month old daughter. A shockingly tender moment, a picture I knew would be worth a lot, and one that I knew he would let me take. But I passed. Somethings are better left alone, and after seeing the FOX baiting, Mike’s private moment with his kid seemed like one of those. The whole shoot took about 30 minutes, then STP, straight to plane.

The lesson I have learned from years of doing portraits is that the bad guys are never that bad and the good guys are never that good. Everyone is somewhere in that grey murky area in the center.

Posts from Blog: David Harry Stewart, Photographer/Director for 12/15/2011

Copyright (C) 2011 *David Harry Stewart|* All rights reserved. Used by permission

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Photographer David Harry Stewart - Hello new CYMK Portfolios

by JamesNYCSeptember 13. 2011 08:17

The following is from Photographer David Harry Stewart blog.

All images Copyright 2011 David Harry Stewart.   Posted by permission.

Goodbye loyal Epson 4800, its been fun, but time for you to go. Hello CYMK printed book.

This is something we have been working on her the last few months, a properly printed bound book. It is done using just in time printing technology with a big ole Canon 7600. The book is laid out in InDesign, which is a joy to use. The printer does the CYMK conversions. We send the ID package to our printer, it takes him a day to print it, and 2 days later we have the book. Amazing right? But it gets better. Each book costs about $65, and would be less except that mine is oversized. But $65 is nothing considering that a single 220ml ink cartridge for the Epson is about $100 and there are 8 of them. Then there is the paper, the month it takes to print, trim, punch and fold the pages. Not to mention the binders are going to cost in the $300 each range.

I can’t tell you how excited we are about the possibilities this technology will open for us. I mean, say I need more copies of the book. With an one email I can have as many copies as I want in my agents hands in 3 days. Or say I want to make a targeted portfolio, say only portraits. No problem, easy to do.

I will never again print an Epson portfolio. For far less than the price of 3 of those books, I can have 15 of these new ones, and I get them in 3 days! Awesome, right?

 

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On camera flash is punk rock

by JamesNYCJuly 14. 2011 06:41

Image Copyright David Harry Stewart 2011

1DSIII, 550 EZ, 24-70 zoom at 35mm, f10, 1/100th, ASA400

I had a conversation the other day with my buddy Sam Grawe, editor of Dwell, talking about doing new kinds of work. After about 5 minutes, Sam in his genius way, off handedly pronounces ” flash on camera is punk rock”. Sam is a genius, or at least the smartest giant I know. Sam is like 6-8″.

About 5 months ago I started working on using on camera flash. Before my expedition into the crass world of the Sunpack, it had been alll about seeing the light. Where is it, how can I fake it, how can I control it. The thing about on camera flash is that all that goes away. There is no existing light. The photo becomes about subject, form and context. As in who is the person and what are they doing. It was one of those styles that I truthfully did not have much respect for. So I gave it a try, and I have to say, it was really hard learning to see in this new way. It was like I had to shut off this other way of seeing and add in this new application. It took a good 2 months to get the camera+lens+flash rig figured out, and then get the look wired into my head.

It was the best thing I could have done. It freed up my ability to take pictures anytime anyplace with no crew, no lights, totally minimal gear, just me, camera and Mr Speedlight. It is all about the instant, the now, the fun of lets just go wild right now and I will shoot it. No setting lights, no looking for the afternoon sun, nope, lets just be wild and see what happens. Awesome!

If anyone ever saw the Ramones play, it was sort of like standing next to a top fuel dragster at the nationals, except in a very small dark crowded room. It was a full on assault, totally awesome, an hour straight through of no breaks. They had one speed, it was full on all the time. One of the most fun things ever. All the music world thought they were crap, I mean what did they know 3 cords, maybe 4? Where was the skill? But who cared, I sure didn’t. They were so much fun, and they got right to the heart of what it felt like to be a teenager.

All this makes me think I may have been in danger of turning into some sort of Jethro Tull. Nightmare.

Sometimes, actually most of the time, I find that the thing that I disparage, judge badly, think requires no skill, or is just plain stupid, is exactly the thing that I need to do to grow. Me no want to wake up one day an ugly short dude carrying flute. No way is that ever happening over here.

PLease vist Davids Harry Stewarts Site for more great stuff.

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David Harry Stewart - Dodgeball-4-Ever

by JamesNYCJune 28. 2011 06:38

ASA 800, 1/200 sec, f4, 60mm on a 24-70 zoom

What: Adult Dodgeball,

Where: Various neighborhood rec centers around the east side of LA

Why: I take photos for the fun of it, sometimes I get paid.

How: Flash on camera, combined with a key light coming from the back or side. My assistant is on the far side of the gym going side to side following the camera moves, holding a monopod with a flash head on it. Keep it simple.

Gear: Canon 1DS III, 24-70 zoom, 550EZ flash, Pocket Wizards, Quantum Q Flash w/turbo battery. The Qflash has 1/4 CTO on it.

Soundscape: Loud. Think bar juke box: ACDC, Stones, Bowie

The first round was done journalistically, but after taking a couple of direct hits to the camera from one of the 16 balls that are in play, I learned that some kind of control would be a good idea. The later photos are more setup, although they are still playing for real.

Here is the entire series.

Huge thanks to Erik and the other folks World Dodgeball Society who were great in helping me do this series. For those so inclined, check out playing in one of their leagues. Super nice, super fun, co-ed, you get to wear silly outfits and throw grade school rubber balls at each other, then go out for beers with the whole gang. What’s not to like?

 

Image & text copyright David Harry Stewart 2011

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Stuff people say

Any photographer who says he’s not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar. - Helmut Newton

 

"The Camera does not lie, Post Production and Publishers do". - James-ism 09/06/2013

 

Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work. - Booker T. Washington

 

"Papa, ... Music is your love, but Photography is your Religion." - Joya D. Hall-Sullivan | Age 10

 

"All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth." - Richard Avedon - 1984

 

 "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Alva Edison

 

"Any photographer who says he’s not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar." - Helmut Newton

 

"You don’t have to sort of enhance reality. There is nothing stranger than truth." - Annie Leibovitz

 

"When you find yourself beginning to feel a bond between yourself and the people you photograph, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and tears, you will know you are on the right track." - Weegee

 

" The camera is much more than a recording apparatus. It is a medium via which messages reach us from another world." - Orson Welles

 

"Some people's photography is an art. Not mine. Art is a dirty word in photography. All this fine art crap is killing it already." - Helmut Newton

 

"Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more. " - Nikola Tesla

 

"I think all art is about control - the encounter between control and the uncontrollable." - Richard Avedon

 

"The first 10 000 shots are the worst." - Helmut Newton

 

“If I have any ‘message’ worth giving to a beginner it is that there are no short cuts in photography.” – Edward Weston

 

"Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning." - Mahatma Gandhi

 

"Ultimately success or failure in photographing people depends on the photographer's ability to understand his fellow man." - Edward Weston

 

"If you want reality take the bus." - David LaChapelle

 

"You don't take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams

 

"When I have sex with someone I forget who I am. For a minute I even forget I’m human. It’s the same thing when I’m behind a camera. I forget I exist." - Robert Mapplethorpe

 

" Great photography is always on the edge of failure." - Garry Winogrand

 

"I don’t think photography has anything remotely to do with the brain. It has to do with eye appeal." - Horst P. Horst

 

"Be yourself. I much prefer seeing something, even it is clumsy, that doesn't look like somebody else's work." - William Klein

 

"Avedon claims to have been the best photographer in the '60s - bullshit - Bob Richardson was - despite or because of being insane and strung out on drugs, I managed to do photographs that are considered iconic - being known as the 'photographer's photographer' means I lead and they follow - I'm broke and they are rich." - Bob Richardson

 

"If you're absent during my struggle, don't expect to be present during my success" - Will Smith

 

"Either take the lead or follow behind, just stay the fuck out of my way." - James Sullivan

 
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