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Photographing John Carpenter (more) - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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Photographing John Carpenter (more) [Aug. 6th, 2012|08:03 am]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |Amanda Palmer fet. Georgia from Bitter Ruin: Delilah]

Back to the Photographing John Carpenter thing ... to pick up where I left off.

We did a series of shoots most of the day Friday and then again Saturday at John and Sandy's house. John was working on some Very Important Stuff and Brian and I would set up lights in some part of the house, and then I'd go grab John who'd amiably trot along and stand on the X and I'd snap and then he'd go back to the Very Important Stuff and Brian and I would break down and move to a different place. I wanted to have about ten portraits to choose from and I ended up with six, which is fine.

At around 8:00 we took a break and Sandy made a fabulous dinner which was steak for some people and grilled portabellos for me with salad and a baked potato with, really the most amazing salad bowl I'd ever seen, carved from a huge block of walnut. We talked about John Wayne movies mostly and then after dinner we did one more setup with the whole of Los Angeles splashed out in the background and lit up like four million dreams. John went to bed and Brian and Sandy and I sat up talking about comic books and eventually I went off to the guest cottage (which is sort of like a luxury hotel) to sleep.




Your humble narrator actually in the process of photographing John Carpenter.
Photo by Brian C Janes.
You may clickenzee to embiggen


I had two lights set up on this one, one you can just see at the bottom of the stairs, it's a bare flash head about six inches behind a gobo made out of a tree branch -- the light hits the leaves and makes interesting shadows which then get splashed along the wall. The other light is a gridded spot right behind Brian's camera here so you can't see it -- it focuses a really tight beam of light on John's face to isolate him and give something a bit more atmospheric, so you can see there's a big difference between what it more or less actually looked like in the hallway and my final photo from this setup.



The final shot from this setup


Sandy King Carpenter is very easy to like and very easy to get along with. She's generous with her time and one of those people who -- as I assume producers should naturally -- is an epicenter of swirling people. She knows everybody's name, she knows what their kids are doing, their past successes, their current projects -- all the things that make it pleasant to be around someone. In the morning Sandy and I went to the Hollywood farmers market where she introduced me to everyone who sold beans or custard or had baby goats that could be petted -- I stocked up on peaches (and a salad bowl, made by the same guy who'd made theirs) and in the afternoon headed over to Glenndale to visit some friends from college. I'd planned an extra day in L.A. on the off chance that Fairuza Balk might have some time to work on our Top Sekret Projekt but she was busy and it was just as well, after going full blast for however many hours with jet lag and whatnot I was happy to have twelve with nothing to do but wander along the Santa Monica pier and talk about guitars.




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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ladycelia
2012-08-06 04:28 pm (UTC)
Love this image--and the breakdown of how you did it.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2012-08-06 04:32 pm (UTC)
Brian shot some behind the scenes video as well that he's putting together, so there will be more cool stuff in the near future.
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[User Picture]From: ladycelia
2012-08-06 05:01 pm (UTC)
Excellent. Seeing how photos I like came together give me a good starting place for improving my shooting.
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[User Picture]From: katbcoll
2012-08-06 05:21 pm (UTC)
Cool photos! Maybe it's just me, but Mr. Carpenter looks like he's playing "I got your nose" in that first shot. Yes, I notice the oddest things. Usually at the most inopportune moments too.

I'm glad you got to do this!
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2012-08-06 06:18 pm (UTC)
you should see my face now with no nose.
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[User Picture]From: lawbabeak
2012-08-07 12:31 am (UTC)
If he directed it, I'm sure it's terrifying.
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[User Picture]From: coyotedave
2012-08-06 06:23 pm (UTC)
I'm a little sad you didn't dig out the 18mm lens and do one from that angle to make him look like a bobblehead John Carpenter.

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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2012-08-06 06:36 pm (UTC)
this is why i shall be invited back....
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[User Picture]From: tigerinvaseline
2012-08-06 06:25 pm (UTC)
Props on representing McMatz's Roswell Shirt at Casa Carpenter. You are a good friend Kyle.
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[User Picture]From: silveringridd
2012-08-06 07:01 pm (UTC)
that second picture is insanely awesome! you = fantastic photog!
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[User Picture]From: ammitnox
2012-08-06 08:23 pm (UTC)
Best gobo ever!

Last night, I was trying to describe what happens when you descend upon a place, and ended up flailing and saying that you were interesting. And my friend goes, wait, for YOU to say that must mean . . . and I was, all, I know, right? He just went to shoot John Freaking Carpenter! And then we descended on the closet of props and wardrobe and made Rob take pictures for an hour.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2012-08-06 09:25 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a good thing! I was just thinking how similar this JC shoot was to the shot shelley wanted to get in the hallway of you & aaron. same principle. exact same principle. nearly identical setup. but we didn't have a lawn chair this time.
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[User Picture]From: ammitnox
2012-08-07 02:59 am (UTC)
The last thing I needed to imagine before heading to bed was Mr. C. with a baseball bat covered in screws!!
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[User Picture]From: lawbabeak
2012-08-07 12:33 am (UTC)
OK, I'm seeing that. I don't retract my analysis below, but I can totally see that image starting a story where we go back to some crazy store room or basement laboratory or even a viewing room to see cuts from his latest whatever.
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[User Picture]From: greygirlbeast
2012-08-06 09:25 pm (UTC)

Dude...damn. That's too cool.
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[User Picture]From: lawbabeak
2012-08-07 12:30 am (UTC)
I do and I don't like this portrait. The lighting is great. The hand at the bottom looks a bit odd, but I don't know what I'd do different, and it seems to be a way Mr. Carpenter tends to stand.

On the one hand, I love the how the lighting captures the terrain of years on his face. On the other hand, he looks so >frail<. From the snapshot above and your descriptions of what y'all have been doing, he does not strike me as frail, not at this juncture.

On the other, other hand, I'm really glad you did this project. And I'm glad you're making really good use of Kickstarter to make many small Amazings happen. You're taking years of hard work, years of genuine fanbase building, and using that to make more Awesome. And that's a good thing indeed.
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From: zqfmbg
2012-08-07 12:45 am (UTC)
Great imagination. I love the use of leaves as a gobo. That wall's got all sorts of awesome going on for it as a backdrop.

I was wondering if the ambient is just from the existing house lights or if that comes from light splashing off the walls. I wouldn't expect it from the gridded light.
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[User Picture]From: pigshitpoet
2012-08-07 09:53 am (UTC)

hah!

how do you do that? from watching john carpenter movies?
psp
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From: goodbyealbatross.wordpress.com
2012-08-07 10:48 am (UTC)
This post is useless without a picture of the salad bowl :-)
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[User Picture]From: dawn_metcalf
2012-08-07 08:11 pm (UTC)
That is just an awesome shot. Kudos!!
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