Sharing :: David E. Jackson :: The Thought Process

September 21, 2010 | • Philosophy • Resources

Friend and colleague, David E Jackson, has recently published this video on his blog about his thought process behind a recent conceptual shoot.

As you are starting on your photographic journey many of your questions will be dealing with cameras and lenses and their settings. What lights were used and with what modifiers. What photoshop actions were used. Etc. Then the day will come when cameras, lenses, lights and all of their settings don’t mean a damn thing to you any more. What you want to know from other photographers is what was the thought process behind a certain photo or series of photos. Dave does a good job breaking that down. Watch the video to hear how he thinks… not which aperture he used.

I’ve been saying for a long time that Dave is “one to watch” and this recent shoot of his only confirms that. Check out his blog for photos and more BTS action for this shoot. Great jorb homestar!

Cheers, Zack




Discussion

  • Yossi said on September 21, 2010

    Hey Zack,
    I know, its not related to this great post -
    Would you be so kind giving us a short tutorial on how you make those “Usedfilm” embedding on all of your great shoots ?
    I’ve tried to, but it looks so bad, you some how bending it on the photos ( some times like Tatoo’s, other times like advertisement on a wall )

    anyway, I will keep admire you (always) even if you’re totally ignore this comment :)

    Thanks, Yossi.

  • zack said on September 21, 2010

    @Yossi – I can do that at some point. It’s pretty easy.

  • William Beem said on September 21, 2010

    Very interesting. While it was starting, I wondered where he got all the cool circus stuff. Ah, that’s it. They made it.

    It’s cool to see how he had a vision and figured out how to make it work.

    One of the things I haven’t figured out is how to get space for a project like this. I don’t have a studio or the money to rent one, but I also don’t want that to be an excuse to stop me. It’s just one of those things where you gotta figure it out.

  • zack said on September 21, 2010

    @William – You’d be surprised how big of a space you can get for a weekend if you slip $50 to a parking manager at a parking deck. Seriously. If this is the kind of work you want to do you can find ways to make it work.

    Cheers,
    Zack

  • Rick Wenner said on September 21, 2010

    I’ve been following Dave’s work since your critique. It’s been great to watch him grow as an artist and develop his style over that time. This new series and behind the scenes info/video, I think, is probably his best work because of what you mentioned here…not asking about apertures, shutter speeds, lenses, etc. and really concentrating on concepts, thought process, and important details of a shoot like this. Congrats to Dave!

    Rick.

  • Neal said on September 21, 2010

    Both this video and the theccie one are very cool. It was great to hear the story from concept to end, thanx!

  • dan said on September 21, 2010

    The parking deck is a great idea. I’m going to try that, I’ll let you know how it goes over.

  • Erin said on September 21, 2010

    Jeooooorb!

  • Eric said on September 21, 2010

    Another (untried) idea for temporary studio space could be storage units. Some are large enough to park an RV in but might be a little narrow.

  • Chris Bergstrom said on September 21, 2010

    Thanks for the link Zack! I hadn’t heard of him until your posting… Nice information contained here!

    Chris

  • Craig said on September 21, 2010

    @Eric – that storage unit idea is excellent. im gonna look into that today!

  • Ryan Scott said on September 21, 2010

    Totally on board with lenses, gear and settings not meaning a damn thing. I get a lot more from just listening to photographers I admire talk about every aspect of photography other than MPs and f/stops. Thanks for posting.

  • Lech said on September 21, 2010

    Great Video – thanks for posting. Dark is right… I what he does with BW’s especially to this degree.

  • pixtiva said on September 21, 2010

    Suggestion: Get involved in theater. Not as an actor or as “talent.”

    As a set person.

    If you have a handheld jigsaw and a table saw, and a big bag full of spraybomb paint, you can make ANYTHING…

    It doesn’t have to be sturdy. It doesn’t have to last. It just has to make it for the shot.

  • Scott Scully said on September 22, 2010

    Brilliant, very very interesting Zack, thanks to you and David for sharing.

  • Daf said on September 22, 2010

    Oh! randomly came across a different video of the same shoot via the Strobist blog.
    (About to watch this one)

    Love the end scene
    http://www.davidejackson.com/blog/2010/09/19/shear-chaos-salon-circus-shoot-part-one-the-artsy-sht/

    Sod expensive gear and creativity – I need to get me a BEARD!

  • Dan Baker said on September 22, 2010

    Very inspiring to see what can be accomplished on a smaller budget. Great work and thanks for sharing. BG music was a tad distracting but thats just me..

  • rock said on September 22, 2010

    Zack, you should totally shave your head like David.

  • joe dupont said on September 22, 2010

    Brilliant photography. Great video.

  • Daf said on September 24, 2010

    On the topic of…err…. beards, have you seen the latest FakeChuck blog ?

    http://fakechuckwestfall.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/to-canon-inc-size-doesnt-matter/
    ;)

  • JerseyStyle Photography said on September 24, 2010

    First, Zack, uh, no you shouldn’t shave your head. Totally.

    Great vid. Very much enjoyed it. Next time, though, maybe tone down the background music. Murder by Death is cool, as is the song, but it’s taking away from the good David J knowledge.

    Thanks to both of you for posting this.

  • Opinion said on September 26, 2010

    This is an example of what I was trying to say in the post before. I am about to tell you something nobody tell you before to all of you to you the new inspire photographers.

    FOCUS ONLY ON YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY, AND WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SAY WITH IT.

    SO FAR YOU SHOULD NO WASTE YOUR TIME IN TRICKS TECHNIQUES, CAMERA BRANDS,

    YOU CAN MAKE PHOTOS WITH A SIMPLE CAMERA AND A CANDLE. DO NOT SUFEER BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE THIS OR THAT, NO EXCUSES. WHAT IS WHAT YOU WANT TO SHOW TO THE WORLD??? GO AHEAD!!
    NO MORE VIDEOS, EDUCATE YOUR VISION!!!!

    BUT IF YOU WANT TO IMITATE OTHERS PEOPLE’S WORKS, IF YOU WANT TO DO WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE AND WANT TO FULL YOUR HEAD WITH ACCESSORIES YOU WILL NEVER USE, GO AHEAD I PROVABLY WONT HEAR ABOUT YOU EVER AGAIN.

    **********DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO AND WHAT YOU NEED TO SAY, THEN YOU SHOULD FIND THE TECHNIQUES AND THE WAY TO TRANSLATE THAT IDEA CREATIVELY INTO A PHOTOGRAPH.***********

    BE YOURSELF , ARTIST ARE NOT CROWDS, THEY ARE INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIFIC NEEDS . IF YOU LOOK TO TODAY S COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY EVERYONE IS DOING JUST THE SAME, THE SAME POSES THE SAME ILLUMINATIONS. AND I CAN TELL YOU WITHOUT ANY MISTAKE, ALL WE SEEN TODAY, 90 % WONT SURVIVE THE TIME!!!!!!!!!

  • Broderick said on October 2, 2010

    Thanks for so much sharing, I love hearding the behind the scenes stuff. David’s pretty incredible, I love the family portraits he did for y’all

  • Jared said on October 10, 2010

    Am i the only person that noticed a gentleman in a one light shirt. The one that was painting the wheel. Just saying. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY! Awsome vid as always zack!

  • Vizcara said on October 28, 2010

    Opinion Man above yes I agree with you a great deal “Although its hard to say when your SHOUTING” in caps.

    Save your voice unlock the cap key..

    I agree with you especially the typical newbie question “What lens did you use” “What lights did you use” Yaaaawn…. On that note you were dead on Opinion man.

    But to David I say..
    Overall nothing against you but I was not to impressed with the shoot considering all the time and help you had.. I think you could have done better.. Your heads in the right place and your on the right path but David I think you could have done better.. This kind of shoot with the amount of time you put into it you could have made it more “Vintage” more “Antiqued” with some more tiny details in the items on the set.. A better stylist or “Creative mind” to help make that set look more rustic and “Real” looking. It was not cheesy but it was not really authentic enough either. Close but not as close as you could have made it.. Your whites in the set could have been “Knocked” down a bit more and made a bit dirty or not so “Stark”. You said you wanted to get it right in the camera right? Then make those whites not white on the set.. Yellow them up a bit make them antiqued “Tea” or “Stale” coffee is a great way for this. Works great on fabric as well as washing latex paint on the spin wheel. Add some “Brass” to the set.. A ring of fire what circus doesnt have a ring of fire. Strong man needs a set of dumbbells or barbells.. You needed to make a “Painted” “Banner” for the background too. As I said you were on the right path but you could have done better with that amount of time involved.

  • Luke said on November 17, 2010

    Dave is a great shooter.
    Wisco represent!!!
    Thanks for posting this and bringing so light to a great talent from the Midwest!

  • adam said on February 5, 2014

    How does one find a salon or convince one to do staff portraits of this scale?

  • Zack said on February 6, 2014

    Have a nice smile and a good portfolio… or be friends with the folks who work there. :)

    Cheers,
    Zack




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