There are weeks when I bite off more than I can chew. This was one of those weeks and I’m still reeling from the effects. In addition to normal client work, writing 14,000+ words for Old Man Talking, covering Milan and Paris fashion weeks for PATTERN, and a photoshoot that had been scheduled between shows on Friday, I decided to be social and attend Focus On Studio’s Open Hours Networking Event because going to one thing a month apparently doesn’t make me social enough. Go figure. Anyway, it’s been over a year-and-a-half since I’ve been to one of these things and I promised both Kat and my friend Keith that I would go this month.
What the hell was I thinking? Maybe I was expecting some kind of quantum shift in the time/space continuum that would provide me with 36-hour days this week. Perhaps my mind was momentarily consumed with some kind of Superman Complex. I definitely didn’t want to let anyone down and I’d already told a couple of people I’d be there. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t my most intelligent moment.
I have nothing against networking events like this. Focus On Studio’s owner, Matt Corsaro, is very gracious in allowing any number of photographers and models to take over his space for several hours. Chatting with other photographers is mostly a good thing. Meeting new models is never a bad thing. To some extent, it’s a chance to give models a test, or at least watch how they work, before considering whether or not to book them. All positive things.
The problem is that I can’t go and not shoot and if I shoot I have to process images quickly. I can’t put them into our normal que and get to them in about a month or so. I have to deal with them now. That means adding processing time for 7-15 images per model. Knowing that even with simple images I hem and haw and fuss with color for at least an hour per image, one doesn’t have to be a math genius to figure out that if I shoot more than two models, I’m screwed. There’s just not enough time.
Partial solution: only shoot models in groups of four or more. That can be a challenge if there are more photographers than there are models. Fortunately, I was able to snag eight models in two groups and worked with them along a general concept of varying depths and rotating positions. Oh, and did I mention that to keep things fair for everyone, we have a loose 30-minute time limit with each set? So getting too detailed with the posing isn’t going to happen.
Two sets, enjoyed the time and met seven models I didn’t know before that night (Alexis had already been subjected to a conversation at one of the most greasy diners in town), got to chat with some colleagues I’d not seen in a while. Not a bad evening.
Tuesday morning, I looked at the Paris schedule, looked at the number of photos to process, looked at the kids’ schedules, and decided my options were to process everything in black and white, for which I have a fairly precise and consistent method, or jump out a window.
Good thing I’m on the ground floor.
We ended up processing 28 images, which gives each model five pictures including a headshot. The models are (in no particular order): Alexis Lochard, Hannah Stinson, Chelsea Murrel, Cassandra Shea, Celeste Anela, Chandra Harley, Cheyanne Castle, and Starla Landis. [Cassandra and Cheyanne are represented by Models Life Management.] We used two different light setups which yielded slightly different tones between Set A and Set B, but the contrast is interesting. There is a delightful amount of variety between the models, especially regarding height and levels and types of experience. Tossing them all together gave them a more level ground to demonstrate what they can do. I wouldn’t turn any of them down if they were to request to shoot individually but separate from the group setting we would approach each of them quite differently.
One piece of advice as your viewing the photos below. There is a tendency to think in terms of “which one is your favorite?” Don’t do that. That approach creates an inferior/superior mindset that puts noncompetitive images into an inappropriately competitive environment. Instead, I would challenge one think in terms of what they like about each photo, or what makes a specific photo interesting.
All that being said, click on any of the thumbnails below to view the gallery fullscreen. A HUGE thanks to the models for putting up with my crankiness and again to Matt for providing the opportunity. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got to get back to Paris. Balenciaga is about to walk.
No, it never ends.