To whom are we responsible? I have a photographer friend, successful nationally known artist, who feels that his greatest responsibility is to the viewers of his images. I know many photographers who would say that their responsibility is to whomever is paying them. Or, for some people I would imagine their reflexive answer would be to say it is to themselves.
Photographers have an extra-ordinary amount of power in how the outcome of their images effects the subject. We are making the context, we are editing the circumstance of how this person will be seen. If the picture is published widely, it can have a tremendous power. In the case of working with models, there is a collaboration. Its a group effort that I as photographer lead. Even so, I don’t think I would be comfortable asking someone to do something they would not be proud of doing. Its just bad karma. When working in portraiture, it is even more important to respect and in a way, to love , the person being photographed. They have given me the enormous privilege of letting me into their world. Without this permission I am nothing. It is a space to be respected and protected.
On my commercial jobs, I will ask, I will plead, I will cajole to get a moment to happen, but I will not try to get someone to do something that would open them to ridicule or shame. Its not my jam. I know some photographers thrive on that scene. I don’t. My first agent also repped Guy Bourdan, a first class sadist, whom I heard all the stories about. Great images, but did he really need to tie the girl to the tree for 8 hours? Really? Yuk.
This is a bit of a touchy subject that will probably get me in some hot water, but the most important thing to me is how I feel about myself. Taking a great picture makes me feel great about me, humiliating someone, or trying for that gottcha moment makes me feel like a creep, and I really really don’t want to go there. As I often quote from the great Ed Kashi “ To be a better photographer I need to become a better person”.
These are some out takes from my HOUSE of GOLD project for Los Angeles Magazine. There are more posted on my site. Gold’s Gym Venice-The Mecca. Its the most amazing place. Last summer during the Olympics, they had a board in the lobby with a medal count for the members of that gym. It was more than most countries. I see action movie stars in there all the time. Robert Downey, Sarsgaard, Mickey Rourke and that crowd. Mike Tyson is there early in the morning. Gabby Reese and Laird are there in the summers. Its wack. No matter how crazy you think your workout is, there is somebody like Apollo Ono doing something that seems humanly impossible.
Anyway, Google bought the building and it is unsure how long this scene is going to be around. Thus the magazine piece.
Massive thanks to LA Mag, Golds Gym management and all the amazing athletes who so generously gave their time.
Doing the #probikini #npccompetitor #abworkout at #themecca. Yea, I was also taking pictures from time to time. Sorry about the lack of sound, but you get the idea.
Thank you to AP-AI and to the judges for your support. To the other creatives out there, I encourage everyone to find the subject that intregues you and then go deep into it. Obsession is a wonderful thing. The drag and speed world has been mine for the better part of the last year. There is a film element that I am still working on that will be part of the overall work. Then it will be on to the next interesting sub cult. Photography has the wonderful gift of opening up worlds, both to the artist and to the audience. It is one of the things that keeps me coming back yearning for more, year after year.
I look forward to seeing all the other winners and their obsessions at the 2014 AP-AI launch.
This series grew out of my curiosity for the workings of tribes. As with all my work, these images are concerned with discovering beauty and honest moments of humanity. The drag and speed world is in many ways of another earlier time, despite the technology involved in the vehicles. It is a world of close families, of individual style, of pride of competition without prize money. It is a world of fetishized machines where style and speed are both valued.
My deepest thanks to all racers and families of the drag racing and speed testing fraternity who shared their world with me.
See the entire series at www.dhstewart.com/americandrag
Here are some of the images we shot this year that never made it to print. Sometimes its the accidents, the not setup shots that are the best.
J&J was nice enough to share the stats with me on how we did on their global Healthy Essentials campaign. They signed up 150,000 new registrants to their web site in the first month, $30 million in sales in the first month, and a 12% increase in product use y/y. This is not some small start up, this J&J is a large proud company that has been around for a long time, with huge existing sales and market presence. It puts a smile on my face to see the benefit my work has to the companies that I partner with.
I help companies build their brands and sell their products through powerful visual story telling. This is what I do. I am the best there is at this work: visual story telling that influences consumers through captured moments that are honest, genuine and entirely believable.
The lovely editors at ERRR Magazine selected some of their favorite images of my work and published them in the November issue. See the entire issue here.
Deborah Turbeville, RIP.
If you are of the generation that became visually aware in the early 70s, there were 3 names: Newton, Bourdan and Turbeville. They were the wild ones, the Dionysians that were pushing against the Apollonian structure of Avedon. To me Turbeville as the hardest to grasp. Everything was in a female decaying dream scape. There was the smell of old roses. It all felt like a scene from Mann’s Death in Venice. It was a point of view that I didn’t comprehend, but was powerful none the less. However, it was her use of multiple figures in the frame that I loved most. There is something about having a group that inhabits a world so much more validating that a single figure.
DT, you were great. I am sorry we have lost you. Although I think the place you are now is not all the different from what you were seeing beforehand.
Welcome to My World
I help companies build their brands through powerful visual story telling. I work with a range of companies from technology, fashion, retail, sports and automotive to help them sell their products and increase awareness of their brand identity through visual story telling. I work with advertising agencies, digital agencies and directly with clients to help them to tell their story, and then to work with the creative and production teams to carry out the vision. My work is characterized by the authentic recreation of reality that defines a brand, a product or a person. From my background in engineering, my initial approach to projects is an analytic data driven understanding of who the customers are, what the story to be told is, and then how to achieve it. From here I then work with the team to identify the cast, location and feel of the shoot. Through being a careful listener on set, I create the trust needed to harness the best creative ideas of the team, the agency and the client to tell the story in its most authentic form.