Monday, July 12, 2010

The 5 Dollar Studio

 “Wow!  That camera of yours takes great pictures!” said Howard, after seeing the professional-quality portrait I had just taken of him using only one flash and 5 dollars worth of white cloth.  Of course he was kidding; he was making a reference to something I had said in Day 1 of the seminar, saying that if you ever want to get punched out by a photographer, just say to them “Wow, those are great pictures!  What kind of camera do you have?”

This was at the end of Day 2 of the Orlando seminar, just after everyone had gone home, and I had agreed to use the MacGyver-esque wireless flash technique I had demonstrated on Day 1 to take a high-quality portrait of a very special seminar attendee, Howard Herman, the guy who taught me to play Jazz piano in my youth, and still one of the best piano players in Florida.  Howard, of course, was the kind of person who always felt much more comfortable behind a keyboard than in front of a camera, and so the assignment had become a double challenge: Get the light right AND get the subject comfortable, relaxed and natural.  

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hong Kong and Shenzhen - Part 2

The heat wave continues.  It’s hot and humid in Shenzhen, the mainland China province which manufacturers no end of consumer electronics goods.  How hot is it?  Here's a picture I took just five minutes after my camera emerged from the air-conditioned hotel room:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hong Kong and Shenzhen - Part 1

I love China.  Some of you might remember the China Blog I kept when I was teaching English there in 2003.  Well, now I’m back; this time in Hong Kong on my way to the Shenzhen province, where most of the consumer electronic goods in the world are manufactured.

I’ve always been fascinated with the old part of China.  Maybe that’s why I try to balance my shots between the shiny new buildings - copied from the West and symbolize economic success and modernism – and the old, dirty parts that are its heritage.  I especially eschew Soviet era relics.  I shoot these things knowing that in about 70 years or so they will be mostly gone. Plus, I see it as providing a kind of balance to what you typically see in the press regarding modern China. (Click on any picture to make it bigger.)