Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Queen's Jubilee

I can remember, as a very small child, that we closed our street down and put tables in the road for the Queen's Coronation party.

We had huge banners across the street and hundreds of Union Jacks on sticks, mountains of cake, and I think this has to be my most vivid memory of early childhood.

I seems amazing that this was sixty years ago, and if you think that she is about to hand it off to Prince Charles, then think again.

I have had several opportunities of photographing Her Majesty. My first was in Bermuda, on the 16 to the 18th of February, 1975, when I worked in the Bermuda Police Photography department.  I was assigned to accompany her for the entire Royal visit.

As she boarded the plane at the end of the trip, I was thoroughly exhausted as she indeed has the most grueling schedule you can imagine.

 I often have wondered how she keeps up that pace.

The accompanying photographs of her with Prince Philip and the Commonwealth Ambassadors were taken during her visit to the United States in 1991.

You also might enjoy this clip from YouTube that shows some interesting behind-the-scenes moments:

I think that one of the main reasons I like the Queen is because she reminds me of my Mum! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Location with Michele and Jack Evans

I photographed DC City Councilman Jack Evans and his wife, Michele, in their Georgetown home for the cover of the Georgetowner Magazine.  I noticed the painting over the mantelpiece perfectly matched Michele's outfit, and Jack had been fitted out with a Hart Schaffner Marx suit from Joseph Abboud's store, "Streets of Georgetown."  There was natural light coming in from the window, but it wasn't enough.  So, I used one 72x36-inch white scrim, and a Photogenic electronic flash, which closely simulated the window light.  The exposure was taken at f8 at 1/15th of a second, the camera on a trip, with ISO of 100.  I particularly liked the softness of the light using this scrim, and it's a very simple setup with a very pleasing result.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tonality, Exposure and Skin Tone

This is a friend of mine, Basil Charles, who owns the famous Basil's Bar in Mustique.  I photographed him on several occasions, and he is a particularly difficult subject because of his very dark skin tone.  Patrick Lichfield said Basil "sucked up the light."  So, how do you photograph someone and still show tonal quality in the photograph?   The other difficulty here is that he is wearing a white outfit.  The key to this was to have him face the source of light so the visage of his face was evenly lit and the side of his face was in shadow, giving a dimensional quality to the image.  The effect worked on the white clothing, as well.  So instead of being completely blown out, you see subtle texture.  I also positioned his head so it was framed by a lighter background.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"A Photographer Fit for a Queen"

Twenty-one years ago this month, I had the wonderful opportunity of photographing the Royal family on their trip to the United States.  I photographed the Queen and her husband, and then-President George Bush and his wife in the library of the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

I remember being quite nervous, which was compounded by Prince Philip replying "no" to all of my posing suggestions.  I then also asked the Queen if she would like to put her handbag down, and she also said "no."  The Bushes were quite amused by the exchange, but I wished that the ground would open and swallow me up! 

I then said to the Queen, "I am so glad to see that your dress is nicely pressed, because I had a dream a few nights ago that I had to iron it."

They all seemed highly amused by this, and here is the resulting portrait: 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Edward Villella, Miami City Ballet

Edward Villela is arguably the most celebrated male American dancer.

My first session with him was when the company visited the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 1995, when they performed George Balanchine’s Jewels.

I photographed him alone and with several individual members of the corps.

I ran into him again that same year when I photographed him backstage at Wolftrap when the Miami City Ballet performed in honor of Kay Shouse’s birthday.

In January of 1996, I was in Washington, DC, and got a call from Victoria Vigorito, the Miami City Ballet's public relations person, who told me that the Miami City Ballet had a photo shoot scheduled for later that week in Miami and that their photographer had become indisposed!  Florida in January!  Photographing the Miami City Ballet! I made my schedule work.

They were fabulous to work with, there was such energy in the company, and they really admired Eddie.

In 1997, I went to the White House with Eddie and his family and photographed him receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton. This was the same year he was named as a Kennedy Center honoree.

In 1998, I did a profile portrait of him for the cover of his reissued book The Prodigal Son.  His wife, Linda, said the resulting portrait (above) had the map of Italy written all over his face.

He was always gracious and he took my daughter backstage at the Naples Philharmonic when the Miami City Ballet performed The Nutcracker.

I photographed him in Miami with his wife Linda several times, and this latest session was taken at the Kravitz Center in Palm Beach, Florida on March 10th, 2012, when the company was performing Giselle.