Tuesday, March 08, 2005

samurai photographer Sees No Evil.

Richard Lloyd
Richard Lloyd,
originally uploaded by samuraiphotog.
Yesterday was a truly glorious 60 degree day outside.

However, I was supposed to spend some of that day inside a recording studio, photographing Richard Lloyd for TapeOp.

Which I am not complaining about in the least. I love whenever I get an assignment from TapeOp.

I'm rather a fan of Richard's music, especially the band he's probably best known for, which is Television.

Before I go to photograph a musician, I do some homework. I look to see who has photographed them before, and how those photos look. Since I don't really like posed pictures, I don't worry about props or anything. I am looking more for the person's expressions. Are they relaxed? Tense? Apprehensive? Is their smile genuine? How can I get this person to trust me for 15 or 20 minutes?

I thought Richard was going to be tougher than most subjects, and my suspicions were confirmed when I showed up at his studio to shoot his gear. I could tell right away that photographs are Not His Thing.

While Larry (TapeOp's editor) was interviewing him, I did my job on the gear, occasionally snapping some frames of his hands (he twined his fingers in a really interesting way) but the light in the room was so poor that I sat and tried to figure out a way to get him outside. I listened to him talk, and watched him very carefully, making mental notes about how he moved and positioned himself.

With a lot less armtwisting than I thought I would need to do ("I'm trying to win you over, Richard!") I took Richard for a walk towards the West Side Highway. Not only did I get him to indulge my creative side, he actually smiled a few times as well.

This isn't the first time I've photographed a musician I feel a debt to, inspirationally or however one would choose to articulate it. As I do more and more of this sort of work I'm able to separate the person from the deeds - but that doesn't mean that I don't get a little thrill from making one of my guitar heroes stand in front of my lens.