Friday, November 7, 2008

Take the Money and Run

Day 38 - Photo 38. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not shoot this photo today. But I wanted to expand on the idea of Day 35 - Photo 35, the photo illustration and besides...I am the boss of me. And this is my blog!

The photo illustration is one of the photo assignments I enjoy the most, because of its challenges. Yet, it tends to be a source of frustration as well. Stay with me, I'll get to that. When photo illustrations are conceptualized, they are usually done so in a room full of people, i.e., a couple of editors, a reporter, a designer, a photo editor and photographer. In this case the photographer and photo editor are one in the same. But, that didn't help me on this day. I learned a long time ago that you simply have to do your best with the assignment and then, let the photo go. Such was the case with this photo.

This photo was shot, intended to be used for the cover of a special section, a financial survival guide. A couple themes came into play, money, a piggy bank, and someone dressed in business attire. When we conceive these ideas and require a model, we go searching the newsroom. The idea started out with someone holding a piggy bank, a la, "he's got the whole world in his hands." Or, "you're in good hands with..." And again as is the case, it becomes a collaborative effort. When we handed the piggy bank to the reporter, he had no idea what we'd been discussing. He grabbed the piggy bank and thought, pigskin, football and struck a Heisman pose. We ran with it. Thus, the birth of a photo illustration.

The nuts and bolts of the photo are, a needle and thread and another photographer out of camera shot to make the tie appear as if it's blowing in the wind. It took an editor and a wad of bills throwing them at the subject. It was shot with a giant softbox behind me, a black background and a grided light behind and to the right of the subject. I mention all the details because I found myself carried away with the idea of creating something cool. That's cool as in neat...not cool as other side of the pillow.

The one thing that was missing and the source of frustration...communication. My fault on this and note to self. It's great to get all these people involved, working together to conceive, plan and execute the image. However, unless you plan for the end result, as in, how is the photo ultimately going to be used...the best photo in the world will simply not work. In the end, this photo was used in a tab (the same paper size and format as the National Enquire) instead of the broadsheet or the same style as your daily newspaper. My bad. The photo required some cropping to make it work. The reader will never know the difference and the photo still communicated the idea.

Hitting the street with your camera, talking to people and making photos is a relationship between you and your subject. I need to remind myself that when we create photo illustrations our relationships become a village. Kind of a good lesson for my everyday life.

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