Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Riding Steady

I finally got a really good chance to take some portraits in the studio last week. I am not sure if it looks like it at first, but a lot of thought went into these images. Once again I shot Steady, a local rapper that is on a mission.

Me and Steady work good together, seeing as how we are both trying to make it in our respective areas.

The thought behind each of these photos,definitely centers around the background. In a photo you have to find ways to be verbal. I decided to take the more literal approach and have Steady just paint the background with lyrics, song titles and really anything he wanted to say.

At first I wanted him to wear a suit or something, but after running around to countless thrift stores and finding no suit, I decided that letting him choose the outfit would be good. After looking at the photos, I am pretty happy with what he wore. It is very hip hop and very Steady.

The paint brush in is hand is trying to signify that he is fresh. I want to make the connection that he just painted the background, which he did. This is a young man with a hole hell of a lot to say, and I hope that is conveyed.

The door is an obvious symbol that he is trying to break through. I originally wanted an old antique wingback chair, but that was also very hard to find. I came upon this door and just fell in love with the idea. It was a pain in the a** to drag it up to the fourth floor and it eventually fell apart once i got it into the studio, but I am liking this photo more and more.

In all the photos, I really wanted to portray Steady as a young rapper who is on the upside of things. He just came out with a mixtape and is constantly trying to push his name. I wanted to show that he is serious about what he is doing. By writing on the background and him having a very serious face, I wanted to show that he just isn't talking but is actually saying something.

This was one of the first big shoots I've done, where I have invested a good amount of money and time. It took us about two hours to set up and shoot, plus all the time it took to find the materials. I am still unsure if it was worth it yet, I guess I'll leave that up to you.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Help a brother out

The more clicks Harvey gets the better. Also check out his other videos to catch up on what's happening at San Jose State.

Friday, November 7, 2008


It's been a while since I have been blogging, school and work are catching up with me. But I had an interesting assignment not this week for the Spartan Daily. I was assigned to take portraits of two photographers, Valerie Mendoza and Kirkman Amyx. Mendoza is an instructor at SJSU, while Amyx is a graduate student.

I am not always sure what to expect when I am shooting a photo of a fellow photographer. Sometimes I expect them to be picky and kind of like a backseat photographer. But both of my subjects were nothing of the sort. Mendoza didn't really have time, as we had about five minutes to shoot and Amyx was a patient man as we tried to find some kind of shot.

For Mendoza I went in with one SB-24 and bounced it off the wall to the left. I figured since we were not going to have much time I needed to shoot in her office. I wanted soft lighting from the side. Couldn't get any simpler. She was a natural at posing, didn't really have to tell her to do much. The thing I love about her photo, is how she cocks her head slightly at a similar angle to the crow in the photo above her. The Daily ran a different photo than this one.

Amyx's photo, which is different than what ran in the Daily, came right at the end. We had originally planned to shoot in small studio that was displaying his work, but didn't have a way into it. So we went to Plan B, which was to figure out a Plan C. We took several shots in a really ugly room before I took an idea from Strobist Guru David Hobby. Amyx does a lot of his work digitally, inclding the piece behind him in which he compiled 10,000 rolls of dice. I pretty much just used one flash to light his print in the back and computer light to light his face and the light on my cell phone for the front of his computer.

This assignment was all about being resourceful, with limited amount of time.