This is the first blog post for Studio MadsMonsen and I thought it would be good to end the old year with a new year resolution. I got the inspiration from http://52on52.blogspot.com/ and the first book that I finished is well fitting for any photographer:
It was an interesting read, but you get more anecdotes from it than technical knowledge. This is not a book of Annie Leibovitz’s techniques, however, I found her thoughts on the switch from colour transparencies to colour negatives and then to digital interesting. Digital technology has come a long way, but a lot of the old, analogue techniques are getting lost.
I smiled when I read about the Polaroid pre-tests and when the pre-test was finally there, it was difficult to re-create that on film, especially when working with people. I agree, these days you do your pre-tests on your digital system and you still have a usable file to work with as opposed to a Polaroid that needs to be scanned. Don’t get me wrong, I do love polaroids, I am very happy for the revival project of Polaroid film (http://www.the-impossible-project.com/) but when you have a 31 million pixels RAW file or more versus a 6×7 Polaroid print, the RAW file will give you a better quality. Digressing. I found the book worthwhile reading and I admire Annie Leibovitz’s work. Full disclosure. So with that, Happy New Year and 51 more books awaiting, yay!
Congratulations on your first blog post! Just a few thousand more to go. Like photographs. You just keep making them.
I remember doing a shoot for American Airlines in LA that cost about $35,000 for just one shot in 1985. The image was of a man in a crossfire rainstorm with a windblown umbrella trying to hail a cab on a congested urban street. It was supposed to look like NYC and was in B&W to look appropriately journalistic and gritty.
To make this shot we had two fire department water trucks to spray water high into the sky and 40 real vehicles all with walkie talkies inside each one so that the director could communicate with the drivers. The LA police department had an entire street and corner blocked off for the shoot (and we paid for plenty of off duty cops to help us) and the only lane open was the bus lane, which ran a regular route.
To get the shot, we had to wait for a 20 minute time slot at about 3:30 in the afternoon where the sun would pass between two tall buildings and throw a shaft of light on our corner specifically, thus illuminating the water droplets from behind – and we wanted a bus in the shot, which came about every 5 minutes.
The first Polaroid was absolutely stellar and we spent the next hour, in and out of the optimum light, trying to duplicate it on film. We never did.
In the end I am probably the only person who knows that our little 4X5 Polaroid was vastly superior to the film that became the ad in the end. I still have that Polaroid somewhere
And I still miss those days. The element of chance gave each job a real silver lining, the chance to catch an accident that could become brilliance. Today we spend too much time trying to be perfect and forget that life is not that way and sometimes it’s best to live with that.
Happy New Decade Mads!