Thursday, December 10, 2009
In Praise of Good Assistants
My success as a photographer has never come alone as I'm always aided by assistants who schlep gear and typically catch things that I miss in the styling of imagery. Since October of 2006, photographer Aimee Blodgett has worked alongside me at the University of South Florida, toiling with me both on location and in the office. She's saved me on photo shoots more times than I can remember and nowadays she's always one step ahead of me. During my two years as an assistant working for Joseph Byrd Photographers in Savannah, Georgia, I always strived to be one step ahead of him, anticipating problems and generally trying to make his life behind the camera as easy as possible. Aimee does this for me on a daily basis and she is the consummate team player. More importantly, she tolerates sitting for me during the thousands of lighting tests that we have to do both on location and in the studio. The picture above is one of my favorite outtakes from a portrait session for a football player.
During the 2009 football season, I was fortunate to have Chad Cullen, a bright young USF student whose father I sailed with briefly, join me on the sidelines for the USF home football games. Shooting Big East football requires a photographer that can move and think quickly and it also is equipment intensive. Chad stayed at my side for most of the games and would handle the 300mm and monopod when the action started getting close. He also helped me schlep gear to the scoreboard and upper decks when trying for panoramics or other unique vantage points. Chad was a great addition to our team this season and kept us entertained as he would shoot the games himself with a rangefinder or homemade panoramic camera, pushing film to the limits of exposure range. I look back over the successes of the season and I'm grateful for Chad's assistance.