Shooting Under Stress & Who's The Boss?Thursday, August 29, 2013
I cannot really give you much more information as it is one of the rules, which if not written down, do make sense. A local publication has hired me to take five photographs for a fall arts preview. I have been doing this every year now for almost a decade. It escapes me why this publication would not search for younger photographers out there but instead they may have fallen into a quaint idea of how a routine, the same guy, every year, can seem pleasant.
For me it is pleasant because it means I will get paid to take photographs. In this 21st century it would seem to me that getting paid for photographs was an accident, become routine of the 20th century.
So I am indeed surprised but also working with an element of stress. Stress while working in a photographic job is something that I could never ever lose. I came to the conclusion, some years ago, that if I were not stressed it meant I was making the motions of being a photographer and that I was so sure of myself that I was due for one of those situations (there are many) like shooting an assignment without film in the camera. Being on edge keeps one on one’s toes.
I remember how some 30 years ago, Vancouver Magazine editor, Malcolm Parry looked at some pictures I had taken for his Vancouver Magazine and he threw a wide angle lens at me shouting, “Alex you are making the motions. Go back and take some decent pictures.” I did and I never ever lost that stress while working at a job. It was almost comforting to feel that distress.
This time around I have several reasons for stress. One is that I have not received a magazine assignment in many months. Two (and I have yet to reveal to those who have hired me) I am doing what is verboten in professional photography. This is to shoot an assignment with a piece of untried equipment. To be fair I have kept my usual equipment in the trunk of my car, just in case, but up to know I have been using my Fuji X-E1 for the job. I feel that with some portraits I have taken of my granddaughter Lauren in which I fired a studio flash with the Fuji that I am safe. To prove a point to myself I believe that these pictures taken with the Fuji camera look exactly like the ones where I use a medium format Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD.
And there is more. When I shoot film I am frugal. A typical portrait assignment will have me shooting one roll of 120 slide film. That represents 10 exposures.
So far, in shooting the first two portraits I have taken for one 5 exposures and for the other 8. I’ll be damned if I will let my digital wonder dictate to me how to shoot my assignments!