Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I've been working on a new portfolio recently as I haven't had one if 5 years, and the agents have been bugging! Spending the time and money to do it right while it's winter....anyway, working with my retoucher Bianca on a lot of images, and we had a fun little back and forth conversation about retouching, womens self image, the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all. I've posted these before and after images of a model I shot a couple of years ago for Mens Fitness for a story about sex. This image is the one that got us to talking. We had a good laugh about the fashion mag business and the mens mag business and how they want different things from the same image. The fashion books (think vogue and glamour) really want the skin to look flawless and the women look skinny. While the lad mags like mens fitness and maxim just want bigger boobs and ass! I'm not a big retoucher as I think the picture really starts to lose its soul if you do too much, but at the same time if done right it makes the soul of the picture alot better. I asked Bianca to do my normal "clean up" on the image while leaving it raw enough to keep its soul. This is alot of retouching for me, but hardly any for a fashion mag. If you look closely at the 2 images, you can see the skin gets a better glow and less ruddyness and generally a crisper feel. But Bianca also evened the boobs out. If you look at the boob on the right (and i'm sure you will, both men and women cause lets be honest, women are harsher and more judgmental on other women than men are. Men are pretty simple: "big boobs. good." women are more like "her boobs are ok but look like they're starting to sag. I'm glad i dont have boobs like that." am i right or am i right? you let me know. I personally think my boobs are perfect), you can see the unevenness of the cleavage, so she built cleavage on the right to match the boob on the left. You can also see around her arm pits that Bianca sculpted a bit to remove the little bulge and make it a sleeker image overall. The genie really is out of the bottle when it comes to retouching. Its amazing and scary what can be done to an image these days. It's pretty much impossible to have a good self image if you're a 16 year old girl trying to grow up. Conversely, it's pretty hard for a 16 year old boy to find a girl who's as perfect as the girls he sees in magazines. Anyway, thought you might find this interesting, I think I will do it more often with other images as well as it's pretty interesting. Click the images and they will open bigger in a new window so you can really see the difference. So, if you had the chance to blow bubbles with one of these girls, who'd you rather...
Posted by nathaniel at 10:27 AM
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
It's always a good week when I have a magazine cover on the newstands. But It's a great week when it's ESPN magazine. Every Year ESPN does their fan issue, which is about fans, for fans, athletes as fans, etc.. This year I got to photograph Minnesota twin Joe Mauer, the hottest bat in the american league. He was voted American league MVP last year for his hitting and all around baseball skills. He wasnt chosen for the cover because of that though, he was chosen for the cover because the writers and editors at ESPN decided he was the most fan friendly player in baseball. He's the kind of player that sticks around until the last person has their autograph, and amazingly he reads and answers fan mail himself. Usually magazines have a concept for a cover, and when Catriona called, she told me they had a few. One was a boy holding a dog, and joe about to sign the dog. That one was to convey that Joe is so fan friendly, he'll sign just about anything. The other one was joe signing his name in the air, and we would add his signature (which we photographed separately on a big piece of poster board) in post. The last one was a line of fans waiting for a signature. Catriona wanted me to think about it for the night and call her back next day to discuss, and add any of my ideas into the mix as well. I really loved the dog idea, but deep down I was thinking that that picture was breaking the 2 biggest rules of phototgraphy: dont work with children or animals because you can't control either!! And this was BOTH! But, I love a challenge so said let's go for it, and I have pretty good kid-and-animal-on-a-shoot karma so i wasnt worried. The signing in the air idea was pretty straight forward so I knew we could get that one pretty easy. And the real wildcard to me was the fans in line shot. I was thinking about it that night and I really had this vision of a Norman Rockwell-esque scene, a bit over the top, classic americana, with a bit of humor but not ironic. I thought let's put a fireman in line, and an old lady, and a little kid, and a construction worker, and a fisherman, and they can all be holding something big to have signed. Catriona loved it, but the hard part was now casting and producing it and of course we only had a day and a half. But we got to work, I got on a plane, Catriona and St. Patricia got on the phone to get it rolling. I read the tattoo on my wrist and new everything would be allright. Had a great time on this one, there were lots of pieces and stuff to worry about, but I learned a long time ago that it always gets done, just sometimes you gotta will it and push pull drag coax beg plead borrow steal plead to get it done and looking great. And if it still is being stubborn, I just channel my inner Yoda and use the force......"Do or do not, there is no try."
Posted by nathaniel at 4:04 PM
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Computer builder and photography collector Michael Dell bought the press print archive of Magnum photos. At first, I thought that he had bought the agency, lock, stock, and barrel. But after reading this story in the NYT, I realized that what he had bought, was the press prints archive of images that Magnum photogs had made over the years, all 180,000 of them. Essentially, the press prints are vintage prints that the agency would send out to magazines back in the day when a magazine was doing a story on particular subject. Lets say Time is doing a story on WWII, they would call photo agencies and have the agencies send over a box of prints of WWII images. Then, if Time were to use any of the images in the magazine, they would pay the agency a usage fee, and the photographer would get half of that. In the past, these press prints weren't really looked at as collectible the way an editioned print of the same image was from a gallery. But recently, there has been a trend of buying vintage prints with historical value, and frankly the art photography world has become so diluted and questionable with these images that collectors dont see them as having much value anymore. There's always a "new" edition, or a little different size, and now prints are essentially ink jet, not traditional darkroom prints like these. All of these prints in the magnum collection have notes and a rich history written on the backs of them and really are one of a kind, and alot of the times printed by the photographer himself. At first I thought "100,000,000 is way too much for a bunch of press prints". But after pulling out my calculator, it came to 555 per print, not a bad deal at all as magnum really owned photojournalism and had the best photographers last century..... Hopefully this money will help Magnum reinvent itself and recapture it's previous glory....
Posted by nathaniel at 8:25 AM
Monday, February 1, 2010
Finally figured out how to post vids on blogger!! In pre-production this week for a shoot coming up with the lovely and talented women tennis stars of the Womens Tennis Association....williams, sharapova, etc....I've been shooting the international "looking for a hero" campaign the past 2 years for them, and it has been a blast. Shot in location in Rome, NYC, and Palm Springs, during tournament week, we go where the girls are! Here's a couple of vids the WTA produced for their website, and were kind enough to pass along to me....enjoy, and notice how I got the phrase "charlies angels metaphor" in both vids, even though shot 1 year apart in Rome and Palm Springs. It's all about the catch phrase...
Posted by nathaniel at 2:06 PM