The Pigman

Friday, 8 May 2009

So Jason contacts me through Facebook and asks if I'm interested in shooting some stuff for his music website or album cover.  Something gloomy, introspective, angst-filled, maybe black and white.  Sure, why not?  We'll start in the evening, use the studio as a homebase but will mainly shoot on location guerilla-style, jumping out of the truck when we see something good, I suggest.  Somewhere he slips "Pig's head mask" and "old accordion" into the conversation.  Sure, why not?  Oh yeah, funny timing with the swine flu pandemic.

His girlfriend Melissa accompanies us and does an awesome job as a cheerleader and VAL (voice-activated lightstand).  I have this idea in my head to try, so we go down to the local train tracks and shoot away with the Hensels and giant softbox.  The wind whips up and drops of rain start to fall.  A little old lady walks by with her dog, which seems a little agitated, but she's totally cool about it and talks to us for a while.  The bulbous front element on the 14-24 lens attracts rain drops and the softbox tips over in the wind, but we persevere nonetheless on and under the railway bridge, where Jason seems a little troll-like.  He does very well to emote through the mask using body language, and I do my bit to work the lighting and shooting angles to match the mood.

We head into town and the skies open up into a miserable downpour.  I spot an abandoned TV in an alley and it looks quite interesting in the light.  I move the truck to aim the headlights properly.  Not bad.  A few snaps from behind the dash are pretty good, but we need more.  The SU-800 remote goes on the D3, SB-900 flash with CTO gel goes into Melissa's hands, Jason starts wrestling with the TV...yes!  A few frames later we're soaked and the D3's soaked.  But hey, it's a Nikon, and I don't worry about it.  Make a mental note to pop the TV in the back of the truck to replace the one at home, but conveniently forget to do so.

Over to a phone booth on Broadway that we spotted on our way in.  We get more frames of the Pigman with the same off-camera setup.  At least the rain's easing up a bit so we can take a bit more time.


The soggy crew arrive at the nice, dry studio at last.  Grab the black seamless, Porty in a softbox and a couple of SB-800 kickers.  The Pigman regales us with a polka just to round the evening out.

We part ways and I get back home to start processing.  I love the multiple challenges in the session, and I'm very happy with the images we got.  To my relief, Pigman doesn't permeate my dreams that night.  Thankfully in a few days I get to shoot with Red Hot Annie, burlesque dancer from Chicago, to clear my mind.  I wonder if she might be cool with wearing a pig's head.

Categories:   Photography
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