You Can Shoot Here, Or You Can Shoot There…

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I know how much some of you like seeing the behind-the-scenes stuff on my shoots, so as my tour of the Nation’s boardrooms and office spaces progresses, I offer to you my recent session with Gordon Fowler, the President and Chief Investment Officer of Glenmede. What follows is part lighting tutorial, part manipulating reality, but mostly it shows what can be done when you only have ten minutes to photograph a high profile subject and still come away with unexpected, arresting images.

On the location scout I did a couple of days before the shoot I was presented with two things. First, Gordon was extremely busy and wasn’t going to be able to devote a lot of time to a photo session, and second, there were really only two areas that would work as possible locations…

The ‘Art Wall’…

…and the ‘Wood Wall’…

The two spots were literally side-by-side, so by setting up both shots beforehand it would make it easier on Gordon’s time limitations…

We began with the portrait in front of the ‘Art Wall’…

It’s pretty obvious that I changed the overall look and feel by adding some moody blue drama to the scene, but the shot was actually pretty easy to light. Gordon was lit by a fresnel spot (with a full CTO gel) that was almost directly overhead and a second light with a 7″-40 degree grid skimming the wall behind him. The final light was a ringlight (with a full CTB gel) filling in the overall scene. After five minutes of Gordon in the chair, we went around the corner to the wood-paneled wall…

For this shot I wanted to keep things simple and just focus on his expressions, so I kept the lighting pretty open with a gridded beauty dish up high above his face, a couple of skim lights on either side of him and another ringlight adding not only fill, but a nice reflection highlight on the wood that separated him from the background. But the real beauty of the shot was the unexpected caught moment of him just enjoying his coffee and having a laugh before we actually got under way. I finished things off with that tight portrait at the top of the page, but the magazine went straight to Gordon and his coffee cup…

Two setups…ten minutes total shoot time…done!

Song of the Day (Two Times)

Nothin’ But A Driver

DOWNLOAD: Nothin’ But A Driver

Hard Times

DOWNLOAD: Hard Times

The Bottle Rockets proudly call themselves ‘The Best Band On The Planet!’…..OK…obvious hyperbole…but I was in the mood for a bit of rockabilly grunginess and it just so happened that Bloodshot Records is giving away ‘Nothin’ But A Driver’ on one of their famous sampler albums on Amazon and y’all know I’m willing to listen to anything for free! The Bottle Rockets have been kickin’ it since 1992 and were one of the reasons the term ‘alt-country’ got a Wiki page! They even had a major label deal with Atlantic Records until the whole record business went into the shitter…since then they’ve been doin’ what all indie bands do…touring and releasing great music that few people ever get to hear! Along the way they put out ten albums…the most recent being Lean Forward, where ‘Nothin’ But A Driver’ originally appeared. And since I haven’t exactly been spittin’ out the tunes on a regular basis, I’ve included a second track, ‘Hard Times’, that I found on the Bloodshot website.

You should head on over to Amazon and download the entire Bloodshot Sampler, then check out the boys at their website

I Got ‘Behanced’…

Last week I found about a new “…platform for creative professionals that covers all industries…” called the Behance Network and I figured I would take it for a spin. In the time it takes to brew a cup of coffee, I signed up for a portfolio, uploaded a selection of my work and sat back to see what might happen. Well…this morning I wake up to a boatload of emails from all over the World from people who had suddenly viewed my behance page…because the editors at behance had chosen to feature my work on the homepage of ‘Featured Projects’…! Now this has me thinking that just maybe I should have spent more than five minutes tossing those images up there!

You can sign up for your own Behance account at

Song of the Day

Love Is A Breakable Thing

DOWNLOAD: Love Is A Breakable Thing

It’s Tuesday and in the music biz that means it’s New Release Day and Johanna & the Dusty Floor are dropping a little five-song jewel with The Forest EP, her latest collection of heartfelt, beautifully crafted stories set to the sparest piano, shuffling percussion and subtle electronic beats. Backed by the beautiful harmonies of Dani Elliott and Anthea White, Johanna’s dark vocal on ‘Love Is A Breakable Thing’ creates a foreboding mood that sent a chill up my spine the first time I heard it and haunts me still. And tonight Johanna and the band are having an EP release party at Rockwood Music Hall, one of the best places to see and hear live music in the city. The show is at 7:00PM and I strongly urge any true Friends of The List to get your asses downtown for a bit of live music! If you can’t make it, let’s show some love and head on over to iTunes and pick up the EP…it’s only five bucks! You can follow Johanna and the Dusty Floor on their MySpace and Facebook pages.

Am I Becoming A Rude Twitterhead?!!

After being called out at dinner last night for being too wired into my ‘Social Network’ via iPhone and not paying enough attention to my actual friends around the table, this just seems like a perfect way to say I’m sorry and I’ll try not to let it happen again…

Song of the Day

Under the Gun

DOWNLOAD: Under the Gun

It has been pointed out to me that recently there has been a lot less testosterone on The List than in the past. That’s probably due to the fact that in my real life off The List I’ve been hanging out with a lotta female singer/songwriters like Nadia Ackerman and Kate Tucker and Johanna Cranitch and Chiara Angelicola and Dani Elliott and Anthea White….it’s a Hell of a problem to have, but I’m trying to make the best of it. So to keep you guys happy, I’m gonna make a concerted effort to push out a few more guy-driven tunes over the next few weeks. And just like that, a new leak from Ross Flournoy’s new band Apex Manor fell outta the sky! Ross was the driving force behind The Broken West, the L.A.-based power pop outfit that broke up late last year. Joining him are former Broken West bass player Brian Whelan along with Adam Vine and Andy Creighton. “Under the Gun” is one of the more than 25 songs Flournoy cranked out after getting over a bad a case of writer’s block and will be on their debut album, The Year of Magical Drinking, due out in January, and if the rest of the songs have such great lines as “…I apologize, my life’s become an island, and now I’m feeling under the gun…” I predict this one will be on my must-buy list next year! You can check out more of Apex Manor on their brand new MySpace page or over on their website.

Mola Likes Damn Ugly Photography

The guys over at Mola were paying attention a few months ago when I was interviewed by The Strobist and I mentioned that very often my light modifier of choice is one of their reflectors. They were so impressed, they featured me on their blog along with a few of the many shots I’ve done using the various Mola dish reflectors…

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Steven Spielberg with the BIG (43.5″) Mola Mantti

Edie Falco using the 28″ Mola Setti

Follow the link to the rest of the story on the Mola Softlights Blog HERE

I Drive A Minivan…

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I’ve always been a gearhead…I just love cool cars…I’m glued every week to Top Gear wishing it was me powering along those windy roads behind the wheel of the Supercar of the Week, so it’s just bloody sad that my main method of conveyance is a 2003 Dodge Caravan! Of course, I’ve got nobody to blame but myself…and I suppose it does make much more sense to load my 600 pounds of lighting gear into that functional but ugly-ass Mom-mobile than it would trying to cram it into the backseat of a ’69 Camaro, but it’s still a drag. So when I got to hang out for a day with gazzilionaire investor Jim Glickenhaus in the Top-Secret warehouse that houses part of his World-renowned car collection, I was over the Moon!

Jim’s day job as head of the investment firm Glickenhaus & Co. allows him to pursue a hobby that unless you are the head of such a company, you couldn’t afford the entry fees! Jim collects exotic cars. The BEST exotic cars! He is particularly well-known as a Ferrari aficionado, with a stable that includes a 1947 Ferrari 166 Spyder Corsa, a trio of ’67s…the Dino Competizione, a P3/4 and a 412 P…and then there is the Ferrari he is most famous for…the 2006 Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina.

The P4/5 is a one-off that Glickenhaus envisioned as a modern version of the Ferrari P-series. But how do you redesign what many consider to be the finest sports car of all time? Glickenhaus went to Pininfarina, the car designers & coachbuilders long associated with Ferrari, and laid out his design concept…he purchased the last Ferrari ‘Enzo’ in existence and told them to redesign the Enzo in a style similar to his 1967 Ferrari 330 P 3/4. Now the Enzo cost him close to $2 million dollars…but the final project…with more than 200 components designed especially for the P4/5…would add an additional $4 million, not that Glickenhaus thinks it’s a bad investment, as he said, “…it would not amaze me if, in 50 years, the P4/5 goes for $100 million…”

Some of the other cars in Jim’s collection include a Duesenberg J446, a Stutz DV-32, the Ford GT40 Mark IV J6, a Lola T70 Sl 71-32 and the 2009 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, but ohhhh those Ferrari’s…..

Song of the Day

I Love You More

DOWNLOAD: I Love You More

Here’s a last-minute, what-am-I-gonna-do-tonight suggestion for all you NYC folks who are just sitting around looking for an excuse to get off the couch…Nadia Ackerman has an EP release show tonight at the Rose Music Hall in Williamsburg. I’m gonna be there…wanna join me?!! And as further enticement to get you interested, as today’s Song of the Day I’m offering up ‘I Love You More’, one of the six little love letters she wrote in a week, recorded at the piano in her apartment and is releasing as ‘A Little Moment, Vol. 1’. Check out Nadia on her facebook page

Song of the Day

Pink Champagne

DOWNLOAD:Pink Champagne

I gotta thank Kate for todays song…Kate’s a BIG fan (!) of Lovedrug, a little outfit from her Canton, Ohio roots. She wanted to make sure I was paying attention, ‘cuz they’re in Nashville right now working out songs for an upcoming album and would just be tickled if y’all would give ‘Pink Champagne’ a listen. Then you can head over to either their website or MySpace page and make friends. And as a bonus, here’s an acoustic version of the song…

Why Would David Dorn Wanna Look Like Me?!!

I’ve known David Dorn, the SVP for Digital Strategy at Rhino Entertainment for a lotta years, but aside a few snapshots I did at his wedding, I’ve never shot him before…until this week. He had a last-minute trip to New York and an odd request…he saw the recent rather moody portrait of me and wondered if I could do the same for him! So I fired up the studio and the above portrait was the result…but the question now is, who looks creepier…Me or Dave?!!

Getting In Close With Marty Whitman

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I’ve photographed Marty Whitman…the Founder, Co-Chief Investment Officer, and Portfolio Manager of the Third Avenue Value Fund…twice before, so when Adrian called me a couple of weeks ago to go back to the well for the third time I knew I wanted to do something completely different from what I had already done. Marty is a very cool guy…he always did whatever I came up with, whether it was to play tennis in the halls of his office, or pose under a fish that he caught on a company retreat…but this time I really just wanted to focus on Marty and do a study of just him without all the props and surroundings…..

While I was looking around the office for a place to shoot, I noticed kind of a quirky scene where they had pushed a bunch of chairs in front of some file cabinets so they could install a ping pong table in their cafeteria…

It made for another cool shot that bears a striking resemblance to a photo I did a few months ago of Neil Barofsky, the head of the TARP Fund. Maybe my next long-term photo project should be file cabinets across America……?!!

What Your Choice of Camera Says About You…

I very rarely simply re-post stuff I find on other blogs, but there’s no way around this one. The Shutterfinger blog has the most astute…and accurately funny…dissection of the kind of person who buys a particular brand of camera. For those of you more affected by Attention Defisit Disorder, the Cliff’s Notes version has Canon owners switching to Nikon, Nikon owners switching to Canon, Sony owners believe in the Easter Bunny, Pentax owners are cheap, Olympus owners have no friends and Leica owners are, of course, poseurs with Hasselblad envy! But those are just the broad strokes and I implore you all to head over to Shutterfinger for the complete read!