Worked the stairs again.
The available light shot. Meh.
I heart grids. ——– I’m not sure either. It’s something traditional I’m told.
David Burnett has no fear. He’ll cover major news events with Holgas and 4×5′s. Here he talks about how big his balls are for doing so.
Looking forward to the location class that starts today. I’ll have more to show tomorrow.
Late on my blog… Taught a studio lighting class today (yesterday). That reflective stuff on the floor is portable tile board that’s about to hit the market by our main man Peter Hurley. Stuff is awesome. I’ll let you know when he starts shipping it.
X-Pro1 works like a champ with a Pocket Wizard attached. I use a mini on it. A Plus II is as big as the camera. (almost)
This was sniped just using the modeling lights of the softbox as a student was shooting.
The set up…
It was a fun class. Again, that stuff Hurley is making is awesome. You can see it all bokeh’ed out there in the background.
If you’re sitting there thinking how lucky I am to be able to sit around a group of people like this every night this week you are 110% correct. I can not even begin to express how young and inexperienced I find myself to be when I hear the stories of these masters. I’m just a kid at the table still staring at the starting line. If you look up to me or if you think I’m “up there” in the industry, let me virtually put my arm around your shoulder and point to some of these guys and let you know how absolutely far of a journey you and I have still have to go.
Sitting there last night, completely sleep deprived, yet hanging on the words of those around me… I started thinking of the cult of personality in our industry. We place these young blog stars on a pedestal as the apex of success. I understand that I can be placed in that realm. I was thinking of this last night and realized what a sham it all is. THE masters of our craft that are still creating work in this world are names you probably haven’t heard of. They aren’t even on twitter or they have a fraction of followers some of us have. No one reads or comments on their blogs. They are so far up the damn mountain they don’t have a signal back to the rest of us. Their stories, their work, their experience, the philosophy transcends all of us.
This is in contrast to yet another revolution some photographer is trying to start. A number of you have DM’ed me the link to that video. OMG. You sit with guys like Heisler, Hobby, McNally, and Burnett and then watch this dumb ass “new revolution in photography” and realize what a farce that idea is.
I woke up this morning to the sad news that we lost Paula Lerner to breast cancer. Paula has done more for this industry then a whole panel of “blog stars” have. I had the pleasure of meeting her while I was still in school. She was one of the founding members of EP. On the subject of day rates and contracts she taught me the theory of “If you’re going to get screwed on a job AT LEAST KNOW you are getting screwed on that job.” She provided us a very strong set of shoulders that we now stand upon. RIP Paula.
You know why these folks are masters? Because they’ve put everything into it and kept their eyes on the goal even when in complete darkness in their life. They weren’t trying to start a revolution. They were, and are, chasing the light. The image. That one fleeting fraction of a second for that one image that brings them joy and brings them the next job.
You want to start a “revolution” in photography, yeah. Whatever. You’re not. None of us are. Shut up and go shoot pictures.
I’m still sleep deprived. I’m pointing my finger out to the horizon. The goal we all have is somewhere beyond that.
PS – All X-Pro1 shots.
Taught the OneLight workshop today. There are these stairs that I try to do something different with each year.
So I try different angles. Different view points.
My assistant for the week, Kinan, is an awesome guy who stood in more than once for a subject for the workshop.
I was asked how the Fuji X-Pro1 does with flash. So… here you go.
Photographer David Burnett had an opening of his Bob Marley work to kick off the GPP event. If you’re not familiar with him give yourself 10 lashings. You should know his work.
There was live music. It was an amazing evening.
Speaking of David, to get to sit at dinner each night and listen to him, Joe, Greg, and others swap stories is the best education I could wish for.
I’ve seen people bitching and moaning and complaining about the Fuji X-Pro1 on photography forums. They have no idea what they are talking about.
It’s 4am. I crashed last night after dinner without making this post. Woke up at 3am. Thought I had gotten over the jet lag hump. Nope. Off to teach a studio class today and then the X-Pro1 Middle East launch tonight.
Location scouting with Joe McNally.
Gregory Heisler fat boothing Joe.
Marble factory in Dubai. One of our locations for this week’s location class.
One of the workers at the marble factory.
Hopped on an Iranian boat.
You know… Like ya do.
One for my Dubai in Contrast series.
I love this town.
I love Dubai. The people are amazing. The food is amazing. The cars are ridiculous. I saw a yacht today that had two helicopters on it. This place is unreal. This is the fourth year that Gulf Photo Plus has brought me out to teach at this week long event. It is hands down one of the best photography events I’ve ever seen. I always have mixed emotions about teaching here because as I look at each year’s roster I really wish I was a student instead of one of the teachers.
This year I am doubly honored and excited because I am participating in the Fuji X-Pro1 launch here. I’ve had the camera in my hand for about a week and I am loving it more each day. I’ll have a full post about that soon enough. Since I’m speaking at the event I figured I better get out in the real world and take some photos with it.
I’ll be doing a post each day I’m here. I leave Dubai on the 12th and head to India for three days of adventure with the X-Pro1. Color me stoked.
CNN’s photos blog just picked up my #de_VICE series and ran it today. You can check it out here. It’s a good feeling to see a personal project see the light of day outside of my own feed. Big thanks to Jeremy Cowart for introducing my project to photo editor Elizabeth Johnson at CNN.
I started this project last year about people lost in their devices. It started on a trip to New York right after I bought the Fuji x100 camera. I was walking the streets shooting your garden variety street stuff and took a photo of a girl engrossed in her phone. She was wearing a white dress and standing by a black wall. I liked the composition so I snapped off a frame.
I turned from her to see another person lost in their phone and took a shot of them. I turned once more to see another person on their phone. In a movie the camera would pan out and I would be standing on a street corner surrounded by people staring into their phone screens.
I photographed a few more people for a few more blocks. Then a few more. I decided that I’d spend the day photographing people staring at their phone. Then I spent the next day doing it. Then it became a thing I was constantly looking for.
I have found that we get so focused on the screen in front of us we’re oblivious to the world going on around us. Instead of shooting this project with a 200mm lens from across the street, I like the 23mm lens on the Fuji because it forces me to be close to the subjects I’m photographing and 9 times out of 10 I can be a few feet from someone on their phone and they never knew I took their photo.
As I work this project I’m looking for layers of devices. It’s really not difficult to find which seems to be becoming a disturbing trend. They’re everywhere and we’re stuck to them and oblivious to everything around us.
This is one of my favorites of the series so far…
How have I gotten hold of the new Fuji X-Pro1?
[montypython]The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft the Fuji X-Pro1 from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Zack, was to test the new X. [/montypython]
That is exactly what happened. Well, not really. The X-Pro1 isn’t waterproof. I got an email asking if I’d be interested in using the new camera since I loved the x100 so much. Will this system have the same soul as the x100? I won’t reveal that yet but as I unboxed it I think I said OMG 26 times in a row. I’ve never been asked to test a pre-production camera before so this is going to be fun. I’m also allowed to say anything I want to about it. I can love it, hate it, or be indifferent.
I will be running the camera and it’s three new lenses through the paces on assignments and personal work over the next three weeks and will report my findings here. If you have specific questions about this camera please let me know in the comments. Many of you have already been asking questions on Twitter. Focus speed, manual focus, ISO performance, lens performance, overall image quality, is it worth the money, is it a DSLR killer, does it eat M9′s for breakfast, etc, etc. As always, I won’t be counting pixels or describing bayer patterns or burning villages because of menu layouts. I’ll let you know how it actually works in the real world instead of a testing facility with Macbeth color charts and thrift store knick knacks. Off to find some squirrels.
In the mean time, check out Quiet Hounds. They played their first show last night to a packed house and I have to say they are one of the best new bands I’ve heard in recent history. Meg has been going on and on about them and she’s right. (She’s always right) The show was amazing. Sign up on their email list and get their music for free.99. The image above was shot under extremely challenging lighting with the X-Pro1 and the 35mm f1.4. F1.4 @ 50th @ ISO 1000. Shot B&W jpg in camera, cropped in PS, slightly sharpened for downsizing for web. (.2 pixels @ 80% @ 0 threshold) Blah, blah, blah.
I was hired by Harvard Business Review to photograph Muhtar Kent who is the CEO of The Coca-Cola company . I thought I’d post about the process of an editorial shoot from start to finish instead of just showing the photos.
The art direction for the shoot was to photograph Mr. Kent at the headquarters building in Atlanta. The editor asked for two portraits. One was to show some architectural details of the building. “Maybe with a bank of windows or something in the background.” The other shot was to incorporate something with Coca-Cola branding. The name, the Coca-Cola red, a bottle, etc. After that I was free to grab anything else I had time to which, on a job like this, means anything I can grab with the extra thirty seconds I have to work with. An editorial shoot is usually a few hours of standing around and a few minutes of taking pictures. You’ll regularly spend more time emailing with the editor then you will clicking the shutter release of your camera. I was also instructed that while they wanted a mix of vertical and horizontal images, they used a lot of square crops as well so the images needed to work well 1:1. The full process after the jump.
Had another shoot for my faces and spaces project today. This is Jan and she’s adorable. She is a very talented artist working at her craft each and every day. She has more hustle then most artists I know who are still in their 20′s. That’s some of her work on the wall above. Her house is filled with art and she makes an amazing cup of green tea. Jan asked me several times to filter my lens to get rid of all her wrinkles but in my professional opinion she’s beautiful just the way she is. All of us could only hope we have so much grace as we move on through life as she does.
This is a personal portrait project focusing on subjects 70 and older. If you or someone you know lives in the Atlanta area and would like to be a subject for this project please email us at studio [@] zackarias [dot] com. Shoots typically take about thirty minutes and I’ll travel to you.
The reason I started this project is two fold. I was showing my portfolio last year in New York and some consistent feedback I received was I needed some more age diversity in my book. Most of my work for the past eight years has been working with musicians so the “age” of my book are subjects 30 and under. Second, two photography regrets I have is that I never got a great portrait of my grandfather nor my dad. If I close my eyes I can see the portraits I would shoot today if I could but unfortunately I’ll never have an opportunity to make those portraits. This project is sort of my way of giving families images of their elders that I wish I would have shot of my own family.
Lastly, some of y’all have asked how I shoot for this project. Here’s a quick shot of my set.
The set up here is an Einstein as the main light in a PCB 22″ white beauty dish. That’s hanging out on a 40″ C-Stand with an arm acting as a mini boom. That flys right over my camera and we put a 25lb sand bag on the stand just to make sure it doesn’t go over. The background is a large pop-up scrim/reflector that is A clamped to a stand. It’s lit with another Einstein with a PLM reflector on it. Both lights live in the 1/4 power range. The PLM reflector gives a nice wide coverage on the background without spilling onto the subject. That pops the background to white. For this project I wanted a consistent set up that had a small footprint. I can set this up in just a few square feet of space and it gives me a consistent look no matter what location I’m in. For the spaces shot above I took the dish and pointed it to the back of the room and ceiling. I typically shoot the spaces part with natural light but we just didn’t have enough here due to it being a very overcast day so this one had to be lit.
Walking through the door we have three cases. My ThinkTank Airport International bag with camera gear. A ThinkTank Logistics Manager with all the lights, cords, grip, and two small light stands. Finally the beauty dish has it’s own bag that also holds the pop-up reflector. The C-Stand is just on it’s own. It’s a beast.
You can see more of my Faces & Spaces images on my 500px portfolio. I use 500px as a holding area / dumping ground for images that either do not fit on my main site or for projects that aren’t completed enough to make it on my main portfolio page.
PS – The only thing stopping you for doing a personal project is … Oh yeah. There isn’t anything stopping you from doing a personal project.
Meg and I are hosting our first ever live critique night at our new studio in Decatur. A few years ago we started doing critiques online. You can see our 14 episodes on blip.tv.
Now that we are in the new space we are going to start doing these as a live event. We don’t want to make this a drab academic experience so here’s the deal. Bring a chair and the drink of your choice and show up at our studio this Saturday, February 18th at 7pm. Drop your beer in the cooler and drop your web site / flickr page / thumb drive / etc in the critique box. Meg and I will start randomly pulling sites or thumb drives out of the box and giving critique.
Our critique is not the stuffy, bokeh magnifying, type of critique. It’s as if you came over to our place, pulled up a chair, grabbed a beer, and we just honestly talked about your work. Oh wait, that is exactly what we are going to do.
Here are the rules ::
1. You can’t take it personally. Even if we laugh at your photos. We are here first and foremost to help and that means we aren’t going to just hand out pats on the back and pump up your self esteem. Honest critique is needed by all of us in order to grow. It is always my goal to point out strengths and weakness. I will always let you know my strengths and weakness as well as a critic of work. We all have to grow. None of us have this all figured out. Just remember that.
2. You can’t explain your work until after the critique. You could show a mediocre photograph and then tell us the saddest story in the world about the photograph and suddenly we want to like the photograph. A picture stands on it’s own or it doesn’t. Let your work speak for itself. We can have a discussion about your work after we’ve had our say first.
3. You aren’t guaranteed a critique. We have no idea how many folks are going to show up. That’s why it is a bring your own chair sort of event. If 10 people show up then we’ll get to all of you. If 100 people show up, well, you know that would be impossible. Sitting in on the critique is always a good learning experience though. You don’t have to put something in the box to attend. You can rubberneck if you want.
4. Bring a chair. Our floor is concrete so you might want to grab a folding chair from home.
How it will work ::
We’ll have a projection up for everyone to see the work and we’ll just start picking sites and going through them. I speak to the work as a working photographer. Meg speaks to the work as a member of the general public. She could not care any less about lenses, f-stops, softboxes, etc. She’ll tell you how she “feels” about your work. Whether she would want to hire you or not. If she laughs at your work (when one is not supposed to laugh at it) take note of that right away. Others are doing the same. We don’t filter ourselves here too much, if at all.
We will be recording this for the blog. Some have asked if we would do a live stream but dealing with this live is a pain and something I’d rather not deal with. We’ll screen capture the critiques and post it later.
Open call to Photo Editors, Art Directors, Creative Directors, and Art Buyers ::
This is going to be a regular event at our studio. If your job is that of looking at photography everyday we’d love to have you be a guest critic. Anytime we have a guest in for critique then my work goes in the box as well! If you dish it out you have to be able to take it as well.
We’re looking forward to this because instead of dropping critiques on people and then getting follow up via email that no one sees, you’ll have the chance to ask questions and have a conversation about the work in person. It’s also going to silence the haters who say that we’d never say the things we do to someone’s face. Oh yes. Yes we will. It’s going to be fun. We’ll all have some laughs and get to the heart of the matter of growing as photographers. It’s going to be good. I hope you can make it.
Any questions? Let me know in the comments.
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