Assisting 100 pt 0

Black and White image,full length shot of a young Caucasian woman wearing a grown.

My first gig as an assistant was gotten for me by my mother. After I had tried working with my mother, doomed from the start. Working with my mother doing collections was hell, she found a small pillow in the closet that she accused me of storing there. Again and again I told her it wasn’t mine, she thought I’d had girls up to her office. One of her girl’s finally said it was hers, I turned on my mother and told her to apologies. I told her that the word she was trying not to say was I’m sorry; no apologies I walked out.

B & W image, late 1960's, high school friend, abandon night club, golf course, female model, white pants suit.

I wanted to do theater work for the school, and since working with the AV Department junior school, now I would be working on school plays. But that wasn’t good enough for the dear, I got the word just as I was about to climb up into the catwalks on a newbie the tour. I did not know what I wanted to make my life work, but I’d know it when I found it, it sure as hell wasn’t working in a 9 to 5 environment. So to make it up to me she found a friend who had a photographer brother. So began a life long obsessions.

Young, dark haired, night gown, old house in the countryside, overgrown weeds.

I had seen the ​​​​​​​​​​​​​”Blow-Up”, the movie loosely based of the English photographer Harry Benson I believe. I learned very quickly that as a lowly assistant, I was not the one to roll around with models. But as the owner of a set of keys to the studio it had it’s benefits. I have always found a draw to the human face, female faces in particular. Throw in an old building with a window I will find a model. So my knowledge of the basics of photography and the darkroom got me hired.

High school friend, black hair very cool girl and a beauty.Black haired beauty with a piece of her hair in her mouth.

Along with my basic knowledge, and knowing how to answer a phone got me an introduction to the duties of an assistant. Clean the toilet each morning then sweep the place, and making coffee. As for shooting that was accomplished with the aid of hot lights, so I needed to know how to change a HOT light bulb. This was seat of your pants photography, most was daylight setups. I learned how to develop film as well as prints. Many long hours spent over rolls of 35mm film both Back and White and of Transparencies. One summer he hired another guy to work there as well, that summer we cleaned the drum drier canvas belt. That included putting the damn thing back together with the weight roller to provide tension.

Latnia young womam, sitting in window, black hair, head and shoulders, Black and White images.

We both got press passes that allowed us onto the grounds to Hemisfair, the state’s attempt at a worlds fair. The extra bonus was that having a press pass allowed us into the Press Club just for journalist. They allowed all journalist to drink, though the state did not. Same thing for the main Press Club just for journalist and their guess’s. But the real draw of the press pass was access to places without paying the admission to. We used those passes for all they were worth. We practically lived at Hemifair that summer.

Black and white image, silhouette of a woman, abandon house, overgrown weeds and sky.

But all things come to an end, I soon left the photographer I worked with, went on to the local newspaper.

Canadian Sojourn Part 4

To continue doing something with determination or resolve despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding.”


Latnia young womam, sitting in window, black  hair, head and shoulders, Black and White images.

I want to speak about my van in the manner of John Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charlie”. It was a VW van that had been outfitted by the previous owner from a camper he had found. It came with a closet, pull out bed, another seat/storage area, and a water-tank/refrigerator. I had packed my foot trunk with all the things I would need for my new life. Some years before, during the Cuba Missile Crisis my father bought a camp stove, I had gotten a sleeping-bag, and a survival inflatable boat. Of course I had packed my cameras, and all my other photo gear so I was all set for my trip/new life. The van was outfitted with Wonder bread polka dots curtains.

Black and White image, young Caucasian woman, closeup of her face, sitting in a window.

My only real decisions was did I have the determination to make the move to Canada. The only thing I knew about the palace was in Montreal had a world’s fair that year. I figured that I would learn French at the very least if there is were I’d settled. Part of my cover story was I wanted to see some of my country before I was drafted into a war that I didn’t support. I had made up the cover story to cover my tracks if anyone asked about my reasons for going. I knew that if I did this there was no turning back once I cross that border, that I’d be stuck in my decision for possibly the rest of my life. At twenty-one (21) there was a lot of years left to me so I had to make an important decision.

Black and White image,full length shot of a young Caucasian woman wearing a grown.

As I prepared to leave Virginia Beach I assessed the time I had to get to my next stop. The bulk of my trip was done in the hard driving I had survived. The remaining state were compressed so that I had some time to explore site I had noticed in the area. Top of my list was a telescope array I had seen, I figured it had something to do with NASA. So down a lonely road I drove to a site that was ripe with these dishes that were point up in the air, no trespassing sign abound. I walked around the fence tried for a better view, but then it occurred to me that I was probably doing something that would bring the cops down on me. As I headed back in the direction I had come a jeep full of soldiers came driving up to give me the once over. But they didn’t stop me and soon I was back on the highway heading north.

Again this was back in 1969, the Democratic Convention riot had just happened, the city of Philadelphia was not high on my list of places to be. Neither was New York city, I was intimidated to drive there. So I figure that Trenton was okay because I knew I’d have a place to park my van at least. There were two brothers who were family friend who had a place there, they were kind enough to put me up at their motel. I stayed for about two (2) days to rest and relax, I remember getting a packet of Oreo cookies and milk. I attempted to try New York, but all I did was buy gas for my van and drove on to Rhode Island.

Black and White image, young Latina woman, sitting in window light, tight shot of face and hair.

Providence was a sleepy little seaport town then with cobbled streets and narrow roads then. I drove around to reconnoiter, drove past the church and on out of town. Found a park were I could walk around and a place to park were I wouldn’t be disturbed. Made some dinner and settled down for a good night. In the wee hours of the morning I heard tap, tap, tap on my side window, a voice call “You can’t sleep here”.

Canadian Sojourn Part ll

To continue doing something with determination or resolve despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding.”

Young, dark haired, night gown, old house in the countryside, overgrown weeds.
In the college l met a young woman who wanted to work on her modeling. Slim and hard working.

A sense of elation…, freedom greeted my passage through Houston as I saw the last sign announcing at I was leaving the city. As I opened a cold brew I was already drunk on my sense of freedom. I was entering the unknown, the furthest I had ever been from home. Now without a doubt I had entered an adventure. That adventure lead me to New Orleans late at night, I pulled into a gas station. I asked the station attendant who turned out to be the owner if there was a safe place to pull into to get some sleep. He very kindly told me that I could sleep there, but to be gone by morning. July was hot and muggy, filled with mosquitoes for a sweat drenched fit-filled sleep.

Next morning I found a lovely park where it was cool from the night air. My plan was to make coffee and hit the road, but a big burly cop pulled up and told me the park was closed. My water was just starting to steam so I told him real nice if I could make my coffee first and he would be welcome to the first cup. He sort of smiled and said I’d better not be there on his next round and left. Thus started my relationship with road cops all there to enforce the local rules, I would ask politely for their help then move off. All done in a self-serving spirit of not wanting to provoke a search, or other encounters. My greatest fears of the road was cops and bigots. Here I was a Mexican driving on their turf far from home. I was also twenty one (21) with a van that had some pot and a wad of hashes I had been given as a going away present. So I was always very pleasant and easy to deal with in all my encounters.

Black and white image, young dark haired model, wearing a shirt, overgrown weeds.
She was very open to my ideas and we work hard on our collaboration.

As I was on a short time fame to get to Rode Island for the folks festival and driving through the south, I knew that I would be in for some hard days. My next stopping point was in the panhandle of Florida at a state park I saw on a sign. I pulled in from a hard rain late in the evening, there I had the luxury of a place to sleep undisturbed, and bathrooms. I remember going to the washroom in my poncho, seeing myself in the mirror. Like a young medieval monk I looked back at myself in the bathroom mirror. Dripping water I could hear the thunder and see the lighting as I washed up for the night. My first real wash in two (2) days and nights. I fell into a deep sleep with the thunder as my background.

A word on the gear I had taken from home for my journey, I had a camp stove to make my coffee and hot meals. It was a two burner with flaps to keep out any wind, it served my purpose very well on my trip and beyond. Coffee became my peace maker, I’d offer fresh hot coffee to any official trying to run me off, or to buy a little time. Even served as a measure of common humanity to make it apparent to all that I was just like them in this regard. Just leave me in peace until I make and get coffee poured.

Black and white image, silhouette of a woman, abandon house, overgrown weeds and sky.
Sadly my escape to Canada cut short our work.

Test: Materials

 

Love the soft lighting in this test.  Still amaze this my Samsung phone did so well, those upgrades have helped.  Maybe a formal change to Phone Series 2018.  My model was very pleased at the results, may have convinced to shoot more for her Tumblr account.  She took me out for a birthday dinner at a fabulous little Italian place I found trough a food writer friend.  Kind of restores one faith in their fellow beings.

 

More to come so stayed tuned.

Toughie

 

Barely eighteen (18) years old, at risk, and a Latina. Much younger than the models I am comfortable working with, but she was at risk. We met for coffee, all attitude and bravado…, part of her camouflage meant to protect her. She was posing with a group of older men, some who even had film in their cameras. Her book was full of crotch shot, only a few of her face. As we went through my book I told her about her work, said I already have a manager! Yes says I, but he isn’t thinking about who you are, what you need to get out of this…, he’s doing a poor job.

She decided to pose for me anyway in spite of what I said. As she got ready she left to door open a crack, I could hear her humming. When she came out all attitude again…, a list of questions I was not to even think of asking. As we shot I could see her relax, lower her guard just a bit…, so I hit with my ploy, “Don’t smile”, gave her my stern look. That was all it took for the “Toughie” to turn into the giggling teenager she was. After that all I had to do was look at her, cock my head, and raise my eyebrow, the teen would just come out. A friend was posing for me one time, said I feel like an idiot…, the only thing that make me feel better is your acting the bigger idiot. I can work with that!

I treated her fairly then and now as a thirty-something year old. She is long past modeling, she a mom, trying different things and seeing what fits her best. I keep in touch, let her know what I am doing with our images. Let her know that when and if I sell, she will get her share. It’s the way I do business, the only way I do business.

Holiday Season

 

File under long ago and far away, my friend before she was Jean.  From our 2nd shoot, much more relaxed and poised just a nice nude young woman enjoying being photographed.  We’ve know each other for some 7 years now, and I still enjoy working with her.  As the old cliche goes, “like a fine wine she has aged very very well”.   Thank you Jean.