Posts Tagged ‘Hanson Fong’

Further Signs of the Aging (Maturation) Process

I guess that I first became aware of what men go through as they age many years ago on the job in a large engineering firm.  Joe, an engineering manager was an overly-wonderful man who showed his age before he spent his years.  He knew this, and used to pull out a picture of himself taken in Italy during World War II in his white Navy uniform.

Looking at the picture, it would appear that in his youth, Joe was vibrant–with a luster of confidence bordering on bravado.  Now, he was portly, balding and over-worked to the point of exhaustion.  He would often repeat:

“I am still that guy in the Navy uniform.  I don’t feel any different now than I did then!  My friends say to me,

‘Joe, what happened to you?  You used to look like a Greek god!  Now you look like that guy who married Jackie Kennedy!'”

Sisterly Advice

I can see now how easy it would be to forget that at some point in time, a man maturing will appear more like an uncle than a perspective lover, because I now feel the same way that Joe did.

Fortunately, while I was in the perspective lover/uncle transition period, my younger sister whispered in my ear as I was joking with a check-out girl at a pharmacy:

“… psst …Billy, you’re not 25 anymore!  You are INVISIBLE to this girl!  Don’t be a perv!”

I could develop a complex by taking some of my sister’s advice, but in this case, I heeded her sage wisdom and have attempted to control the urge to be cute with waitresses and baristas.  In the long run, it seems to bring peace of mind.

” …. And Just Where Did You Meet Her?”

There are, in my opinion, two great ways to distinguish a professional photographer on an assignment from an amateur (or as we joke, a faux-tographer).

Flash-on-camera = faux-tographer

No assistant = faux-tographer

Most of the professional photographers that I know are eager to teach photography or mentor their assistants.  I wish that I had found my mentors, Monte Zucker, Hanson Fong and Lisa Evans earlier in life.  But there it is!

So, at a recent event that I was covering at the local senior center, I went out-of-my-way to offer the assistant’s gig to the daughter of a good friend who is interested in all things media.  She is a natural at lighting.  I guess that I could have done the job alone, but I thought the experience would be valuable for her.

I can’t tell you how many times that I was asked:

“And just WHERE did you meet HER?”

My recent assistant — “…. and just WHERE did you meet HER?”

Of course, I presume that the comments were inspired by her engaging personality, youth, beauty, lighting techniques and nothing more.  The comments most certainly did not reflect on me in any way!

But, (that being uttered), I guess we all get older!


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Thanksgiving – A great chance for extended-family portraits.

Kay was looking for a photographer to capture the family on the Thanksgiving weekend. Scotty was sweet. She told her friend, “you’ve got to call Bill.” She did. As we chatted about the potential shoot, she informed me of the 12 to 14 adults, one infant and one 10-year old that would be in the house.

These occasions may have intimidated me once-upon-a-time. But that was before I met Monte, Clay Blackmore and Hanson Fong. Now, groups are opportunities for great fun!

And another phrase crosses my mind as I am talking to Kay on the phone:

If one person looks good in the image, it’s the person … if 14 people look good in the image, it’s the photographer!

We agree on the time and place, and I show. As I unload the lights, I muse to myself, “this is going to be fun.”  I can smell the turkey and dressing still surrounding the house from the day before, and I enter the living room with a large brick fireplace with a rustic feel.  Kay’s husband, John informs me who is there and how it will go. The chairs are lined up like a high school recital is about to begin. With John’s permission I lose most of the chairs and arrange two the way Monte would have: 45 degrees to the camera facing each other. And we begin.

Film and an old joke

First, as the family is getting ready in all corners of the house, I corral Kay and set her in front of the fireplace (before I remove the chairs) to confirm that the settings in the camera are good.  I can hear John, a man who spent 40 years in marketing explain to some of the family that are gathered in the kitchen that he remembers those days in the commercial world when they used to burn one roll of film in every shoot before the models would warm up.  I butt-in from the living room and remark that I agree — “in fact in the old days, I wouldn’t event put a roll of film in the camera for the first 20 shots.”

As Kay waits for me to shut up, I remark how great she looks, and how I only wish that I had put some film in this camera!  A woman accustomed to keeping her composure and determined to keep a smile on her face, Kay falls for the old joke:

Now, we were ready to get started!

Exploring the Concept of Giving an Inappropriate Gift to Grandma

Next, Kay’s sister — Linda … an attractive lady who has been introduced to me as the actor in the family, says that she often appears in print.  She looks like a print model — elegant, well-spoken and open.  She mentions that her latest gig was a gag shot for a famous luggage company in which she was obliged to make an expression that would match the slogan, “Don’t Give an Inappropriate Gift to Grandma This Season ….” “Please, I’ve got to see that pose,” I begged.  She warmly and quickly obliged:

Don't give an inappropriate gift to Grandma!

What a scream! Of course I couldn’t leave it like that; I quickly put her in a basic “Monte” pose and got the following portrait:

I couldn’t help myself. Every combination of portrait that we made was not complete until we had done the “inappropriate gift” shot — culminating finally in the whole family’s credible interpretation:

An Inappropriate Gift for the Whole Family!

This could be their favorite image; it certainly made my day.  (The astute reader will (of course) observe that the seasoned photographer was able to get the baby to perform!)


I was great to see these sisters in love and enjoying their respective families.


Lighting: Westcott Spiderlites.

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