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
Tags: David Harry Stewart, Mike Tyson, Canon, Sekonic, Manfrotto, Avenger, Boxing, Magazine, Hawaii, Maui, Paris, Fox, Sports
Log on August 30 at 1:00pm (EDT) for a free one-hour live seminar, hosted by noted photographer and educator Joe Brady. You'll have a front-row seat from the comfort of your home or office as you participate in our interactive streaming-video seminar broadcast in real time. This session focuses on how photographing portraits in the studio can provide you the ultimate in control with light. All decisions regarding mood, shape and drama are yours to make. Learn how to effectively control light so that your creativity is fully expressed.
If you're interested in studio portraiture as a way to express creativity and bring more value to your photographic talents, join us during this live and interactive presentation. We'll take questions live in the studio and all learn together – it will be time well spent! Learn more and watch here!
Upcoming Seminars: Part 4 – Creating Great Landscape Photographs – Wednesday, September 21st
Tags: Sekonic, X-Rite, Mamiya, MacGroup, Phase One
Free Webinar Two sessions are available: Tuesday, August 23rd
Session One - 11 AM Eastern Time (10 AM Central, 9 AM Mountain, 8 AM Pacific) Learn More and Register Here
Session Two - 1 PM Eastern Time (12 PM Central, 11 AM Mountain, 10 AM Pacific) Learn More and Register Here
You are invited to a FREE Webinar to see for yourself how to easily have your printed images match your display – every time! For more detailed information please click on one of the registration links listed above.
Topics Covered Monitor to print matching (calibration and profiling) Obtaining consistent color in camera One click accurate color edits Benefits of creating and using custom printer profiles Soft-proofing in Adobe® Photoshop® Applying printer profiles in Photoshop® Digital projector profiling
Tags: X-Rite, Mamiya, Sekonic, Tenba, induro, Mac Group
For more detailed information please click on one of the registration links listed above.
Topics Covered Creating and Using Camera Profiles Custom White Balance with the Passport Once click accurate color edits Matching color response of two or more cameras Matching color response under different lighting conditions Color editing in Adobe® Lightroom® Color editing in Adobe® Photoshop®
Who should watch this webinar? Professional photographers Photographic enthusiasts Anyone passionate about accurate color
Tags: x-rite, sekonic, leica, nikon
Tags: Phase One, Sekonic
Here is a behind the scenes look at a video that I worked on for Sharper Image. This footage never ran in the U.S. but some of the final 2 - 3 seconds that was actually used in the final AD can be found on the internet
Tags: Canon, ARRI, HDMI, HMI, Premiere pro CS6, Sekonic
Tags: X-Rite, Color checker passport, RAW, DSLR, MacGroup, Sekonic
46-megapixel DSLR creates new market for medium-format photographers
Ronkonkoma, NY, May 20, 2011 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world's most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, is pleased to announce that its flagship DSLR, the Sigma SD1, will be available for purchase for the MSRP of $9,700 in early June.
This 46-megapixel DSLR is delivered in a splash-proof, easy-to-handle build that is similar to that of a classic 35mm camera. Professional and high-end enthusiast photographers will utilize the SD1’s exclusive Foveon 23.5x15.7mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor to capture exceptionally rich and detailed images that have a film-like quality. Users will also benefit from Sigma’s wide selection of interchangeable lenses that are compatible with the SD1.
“The SD1 will carve out a new category in the marketplace by providing high-end photographers with an alternative to very expensive medium-format cameras and digital backs, while offering unrivaled image quality,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “By embracing the SD1, serious photographers will also be able to take advantage of Sigma’s extensive lineup of affordable lenses, which are compatible with this new camera. The selections of lenses for medium-format cameras on the market are somewhat limited, so this will be a huge advantage for SD1 users. This is undoubtedly a very special camera, and we’re thrilled to share it with the photo community.”
In addition to the 23.5x15.7mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor, the Sigma SD1 features dual “Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine (TRUE) II” image processing engines, which improves processing speed, provides high resolution power and produces high-definition images with richly graduated tones. It also allows simultaneous RAW and JPEG recording, which is a first for Sigma cameras. Additionally, the photographer has the option to select full-size, half-size or quarter-size RAW files making it a more versatile camera for a wide range of photographers. The Foveon sensor uses three silicon-embedded layers of photo detectors, stacked vertically to take advantage of silicon’s ability to absorb red, green and blue light at different respective depths. This technology efficiently reproduces color more accurately and offers sharper resolution, pixel for pixel, than any conventional image sensor. Since color moiré is not generated, the use of a low-pass filter is not required.
The optical format of the Foveon sensor has been upgraded from that which was used in previous SD cameras, and has increased from 1.7x focal length to the 1.5x focal length multiplier. The SD1 also benefits from improved image processing and noise reduction algorithms, with an ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 6400. This is two full stops more sensitivity than the SD15, which has a maximum 1600 ISO. An intuitive user interface and an impressive lightweight, yet solid magnesium alloy body and O-ring sealing connections that make the camera durable and splash proof are also key feature upgrades of the flagship SD1.
The SD1 adopts the TYPE 1 Compact Flash Card, and is UDMA-compatible enabling fast processing of large amounts of data. The autofocus system features an 11-point shifted twin cross type sensor, which improves AF accuracy. The SD1 features a 3.0 inch TFT color monitor. This 460,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to check focusing and composition. The SD1 can be used with more than 40 Sigma SA mount lenses such as ultra-wide, ultra-telephoto, macro and fisheye.
Sigma’s image processing software, Photo Pro 5.0, comes bundled with the camera and its simple operation allows quick and easy capture of the desired imaged. Additional functions such as Loupe, Slideshow, Print, Convert to JPEG file and Batch White Balance settings are also incorporated into this software.
The Sigma SD1 will be available for the MSRP of $9,700 through select authorized Sigma dealers. For information about Sigma Corporation of America, visit www.sigmaphoto.com. For more information about the Sigma SD1 DSLR, visit http://www.sigmaphoto.com/shop/sd1-dslr-sigma or view the camera’s special page at www.sigma-sd.com/SD1.
Tags: Sigma, DSLR, photo assistant, prophoto, phase one, sekonic, x-rite, photo
Re-blogged with permission from Damn Ugly Photography
I got an email from my friend Brad Trent for his latest blog post and thought it was pretty cool. Please click though to his blog too.
Click on Any Image for Full-Size ______________________________
A few weeks ago, Mr. DeLucca asked if I would like to take a trip up to Herald Square to shoot Terry Lundgren, the President, Chairman of the Board, Director and CEO of Macy’s. “Yeah”, I said, “but only if I don’t hafta do some lame picture of him on the retail floor!”. Thus began our journey…
I went up to Macy’s for a quick location scout and was of course shown every square inch of the million square feet of retail space in the World’s Largest Department Store…none of which really interested me. What I really wanted to see was their display department…I had a kind of cool idea that required mannequins and such, but I got shot down on that one. I was then offered a look around their ‘Executive Offices’, which is normally the kiss of death, but in this case it proved damned inspiring. The floor dates back to the 1902 origin of the building and was stunning, but what really got me going was the Executive Dining Room. The walls were covered in frescos painted in the 1940′s that show views of the building as it looked back then…
But using the P/R guy as a stand in, I saw immediately that just dropping him in front of the wall was gonna be flat-footed and boring…..
I needed to raise him up and get him into the scene, and that was gonna take a lot of gear! (And since this was a Barron’s gig, I only had one assistant) So Kaz and I showed up early…we got to Macy’s three hours before the shoot…and proceeded to turn the dining room into a photo studio for real. Besides my usual two tons of lighting gear, we hauled in apple boxes, saw horses, a sheet of plywood and a 4 x 8 piece of white plexiglass and went about rigging a platform that would raise him up to the right height…
But we still had one final hurdle to get over…the P/R guy walked in while we were setting up and had concerns about our plastic saw horses….”Do you have any stronger sawhorses for the Chairman?!!”. I had to get up on the platform and dance a jig to convince him we were safe. And it was worth it…here’s the resulting page in Barron’s…
But I wasn’t done. My favorite image was actually like that set-up shot I sat in for. The much more dramatic, pulled-back view of Lundgren is now sitting at the front of my portfolio…
Tags: Adrian Delucca, Artificial Portraits, Barron's, Brad Trent, Damn Ugly Photography, Kaz Sakuma, lighting, Macy's, photography, prophoto, phase one, sekonic, x-rite, photo assistant
Leaf Capture 11.4.5 Now Available
Please be informed that Leaf Capture Version 11.4.5 is now available. Version Highlights Leaf Capture 11.4.5 features tethered and portable support for Leaf SensorFlex technology on Leaf Aptus-II 12, Leaf Aptus-II 12R and the Leaf Aptus-II 12 for AFi/HY6 digital backs. The release of this key feature means that when shooting tethered or to CF memory cards, Aptus-II 12, Aptus-II 12R and Aptus-II 12 for AFi/HY6 users will now be able to choose their cropping dimensions from a range of standard pre-set formats before the shooting even begins. Leaf SensorFlex enables photographers to choose the dimensions, capture speeds, burst lengths and file sizes that are most suited to their work. Leaf SensorFlex technology enables all Leaf Aptus-II 12 users a range of cropping sizes that includes: • Full size - 80MP (10320 x 7752 pixels) • 4:3 - 60MP (8952 x 6712 pixels) • 14:9 - 60MP (9856 x 6088 pixels) • 1:1 - 60MP (7752 x 7752 pixels) The new version also enables support for the Aptus-II 12 for AFi/HY6 digital backs. • Download Leaf Capture 11.4.5• Download Le af Capture 11.4.5 Release Notes
Tags: Leaf, Leaf Capture, Phase One, Mamiya, Sekonic, photo, photo crew, photographer, capture 1 pro, photo assistant