The Story and The Protagonist

Today I photographed my friend Steve Grumette for a story on the Ojai Film Festival. Steve is the artistic director and one of the founders of the festival, and he has been overseeing the conversion of seventy-seven selected films to Blu-Ray format. When the publicist contacted me, she indicated that the technology (a Roland Edirol machine that converts virtually any format to Blu-Ray) was the story’s hook. When I met with Steve, I could see that this was important, but I also felt that the number of films was a bigger part of the story. A chief attraction of film festivals is the opportunity to see movies you won’t get to see anywhere else. So we stacked the films in front of Steve, set up a couple of lights (key and fill), and shot away.

My first impulse was to emphasize the tapes and dvds Steve had to convert for the festival.

But Steve is the real story here. This Oscar winner's passion for filmmaking talent has been at the heart of the Ojai Film Festival since its founding, so we made some images that used the films as context but emphasized Steve. Which will the papers choose to use? I have no idea.

With all due respect to the publicist, after a few minutes in the room I could tell that Steve is the story, not the conversion of films to Blu-Ray. Yes, this may be the first festival to convert all accepted entries to Blu-Ray, but the technology is not as important as the fact that the artistic director insisted that every film accepted would be shown in the highest possible quality. I’m not real experienced at environmental portraiture yet, but I know that revealing the subject’s passion is the goal. I hope I’m getting there.

Nikon D7000 in manual mode, with an SB800 with diffusion dome on-camera as fill and commander, sb600 with umbrella as key light camera right.

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Filed under Lighting, Portraiture

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