Brad Smith, the former director of photography at Sports Illustrated, says, “Photo shoot is Latin for “‘problem.’” Problems are relative, of course, but there is something about a photo shoot that seems to generate more than its fair share of hurdles to clear. Overcoming those problems can be one of the most satisfying parts of creating photographs—especially when you’re working with more than 70 of the world’s best athletes at the MLB All-Star Game.
Every introduction of cutting-edge camera technology brings a set of new possibilities—some insanely valuable, some with questionable merit. What really matters to me is, “What will the technology allow me to do that I can’t already do?” If something is just marginally better than what I already have, I’ll likely stick with what I’ve got. But if it will allow me to make pictures that I couldn’t make any other way—or nearly as easily—then the line forms behind me to get my hands on it.
Whether on skis, at the gym, or in the studio, Lindsey Vonn is hard-wired to work at the highest level. She’s an Olympic gold medalist, the women’s record holder for World Cup victories, and she is one of the most naturally beautiful women I’ve ever photographed.
A few weeks ago I was introduced to a group of talented shooters whose work cries out to be more broadly seen and enjoyed. Every week, these photographers have the responsibility to capture subjects as varied as athletics, healthcare, corporate communications, and illustration. And their work is simply brilliant.
Photography gets under your skin. It burrows itself into your soul and infects you for a lifetime. It chooses you. When you meet other people who also love photography, their energy is infectious and it’s deeply inspiring to be around. They understand your obsession. And they want to talk about the virus that’s infected us all.
One of the reasons to fear location photography is the terror you experience when you first see the space you have to work with. The sun may be in the wrong place, the site may be difficult to reach, or the room may be cramped. But, solving those challenges is also what can make location photography so deeply satisfying.