Dark Passenger... A journey that started back in the early fall of 2013. I had recently finished wrapping up my first editorial "Se-7en | En7y's Redemption" and made an announcement that I was ready to do more. So this young phenomenal talent by the name of Chris Diaz reaches out to me inquiring about my thoughts and visions. Over the course of a couple conversations and a trip to Heine Brothers coffee we come up with a game plan. We discussed looks, ideas and formed a team consisting of some the areas best talents. Our team would go on to include Raina Trimble, Isidro Valencia, Genna Yussman and my now partner in photographic crime Joey Goldsmith, together we created three unique looks. The initial look was for a conceptual portrait series that I'm in the process of building, This look "Dark Passenger" and then wrapping up with "Contraste". But enough about the intro to this journey, let's get into the climax of it.
So through the course of conversations with Chris and I we decided we wanted to do something dark, grungy and edgy... and this is what we created that night. Now the idea of the title "Dark Passenger" was inspired by the hit ShowtIme Series Dexter. With him, Dexter, his Dark Passenger was the entity that drove him to do what we all know he does... it is dark yet none the less he does it well. While initially heading into post I seen these beautiful RAW images but I didn't know what to really do with them. How do I make them strike my audience, how do I make that "Dark" energy come through? How do I do what I do best and take it further? I was contemplating the thought of failure, and even worse disappointing my team. Ugh!!! I could not allow that to happen, I had too much riding on what I've been Focused on. So after some traveling with this "Dark Passenger" I decided to do something I've not yet done before, compositing with textures. This is a technique used in photoshop where you composite layers to the background then achieve the look you vision by adjusting the blending modes and masking wanted or unwanted areas of the texture. I've seen this technique done several times, and I've been told by several of my peers that I need to start learning it, so what better time than now right? RIGHT! I spent a few hours really digging into the grit of this technique and you know what my initial thought after finishing was? It was "Really? That's all there is to it?" I was scared for nothing! So after deciding which textures to use I went to my digital dark room to create "Dark Passenger". After presenting it to my team my fear of failing them 180'd into acceptance and praise, it was big sigh of relief. Then even furthermore it went on to land a 5 page spread and the back cover in the February 2014 Issue of Imperial Magazine.
I've been told many times that if I don't set myself up to fail then I am not going to learn anything... I think this is a perfect example of that thought process. This has been a valuable experience that not only forged friendships, I believe it earned me a few more stripes among my peers but I'll let you be the judge. I am now very proud to present this series to you! Focused.
Photography | Gary J. Barragan
Model | Chris Diaz of Heyman Talent
Hair, Head & Makeup Piece | Raina Trimble
Makeup | Isidro Valencia
Styling & Wardrobe | Genna Yussman
Assistance | Joey Goldsmith
A sample of the RAW image SOOC (Straight out of camera).
The first texture I used, found by a mere Google search.
This is the second texture I used, a Hi Res cell phone pic of a frozen coal pile dusted with snow.
Last year, before I really began cutting my teeth on fashion photography, there was one show that really caught my attention... The Kentucky Museum of Arts and Craft fashion show, other wise known as KMAC Couture. What drew me in was intricate styles and abstract art that walked the run way. From that point on I was determined to somehow get my foot in the door and being involved with this the following year. Well as determination seems to always pay off, this year I was brought on board to assist with the promotional image being photographed by my friend Clay Cook. It was definitely an honor as always working with him and his new intern Alexandra Brumley. I am definitely looking forward to covering the runaway at this event coming up on April 11th 2014. Focused.
Photography | Clay Cook
Creative Direction & Corset | Maui Crane
Model | Jacey Calloway
Makeup |Daniel Farmer
Hair | Raina Trimble
Head Dress |Raina Trimble
Assistants | Gary Barragan, Alexandra Brumley
T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house, I was the only one stirring since I don't have a pet... not even a mouse, Drained of editing and writing, I was itching to get out... So I got a hold of my buddy Clay Cook and he invited me over for a few beers. During the midst of our conversations he mentioned he had an excellent opportunity for me. He offered me a position on his team as an assistant for an upcoming NFocus editorial. He explained to me what all it entailed and what all would be expected of me. Excited and nervous, I gladly accepted. With the acceptance of the job came a flood of questions... What do I exactly do besides being a voice operated light stand? What should I bring? How can I be productive when we have down time? What do I wear? Yes clothing is important... Being professional yet comfortable is essential, You see there is actually a lot. As a strong assistant, one needs to know several key things... The photographer's gear, their lighting style and their objective. Being that I've known Clay for a minute now, even attending his MasterClass Work Shop, I was well acquainted with his gear and lighting styling. Also talking in depth about his approach to this editorial I had a decent idea on how it would be executed.
Now comes the morning of Tuesday January 7th, Call time is 6:30 a.m., Everyone arrives at Clay's house then to head off to the Shakespear & Co. in Lexington for the photoshoot... in below freezing weather I might add. We get there, off load gear and jump right into unpacking... EVERYTHING! We do that so when he needs something it's right there and ready to go, no unpacking and searching. Between myself and his intern, Brandy Fulton, I believe we got it all going pretty darn quickly, around 30 minutes if I'm not mistaking. He explains where the first look will be, the gear and lighting he wants to use... Boom we are on it. This was the core process throughout the day. Once one set was done, it was on to the next... always giving us those two pieces of critical information (gear and lighting). At times we could hear Clay talking out loud to himself, trouble shooting then sometimes either myself or Brandy would suggest a fix. This is another key essential quality to being a strong assistant... having the ability to troubleshoot and suggest fixes. What's even better? Be a step ahead of the photographer and ensuring these issues are taken care of before he even gets to his camera. Albeit this isn't always possible, but if it is, jump on it! Also remember that staying busy and productive is very favorable. You don't want to kill yourself running around finding things to do and there will be down time with hair and make-up doing their work, but just make sure everything is set to roll once the models step on set. In my case during down time I was wondering around covering Behind the Scenes.
The two final elements about working as an assistant, taking direction and knowing your role over all. By taking direction I mean, when the photographer gives you a direction know what he means. For instance, when he/she tells you move up, knowing whether to hold it the light higher up or to move up closer to the camera is critical. If you know what he/she means they can say it once, you adjust and he gets the shot. A photographer not having to explain where he wants the light adjustment saves time in actual shooting which in returns helps gets the models off the set and back to hair and make-up for prep of the next look. The last element, but probably far from least is knowing your role over all. Know when to speak and when to not, know when and what to suggest. Remember you're there to help and assist, not take over creative directions. Be outgoing, have fun, contribute to the energy and make your presence known. It will stick in people's mind and they will remember you. Trust me on this.
I hope this detail of my experience will help someone along the way who is interested in assisting with photoshoots. There is so much to learn, and with every photographer it will be somewhat different, it's good to be versatile in that sense... just remember what your task at hand is and remain Focused.
A personal journal about any given day in my photography career where I will write about anything from portraits and headshots to sharing my educational experiences. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, it's my pleasure to share my stories with you!