Monday, September 24, 2007

Real life vs. TV

I was handed the opportunity to tackle an assignment involving a portrait series for our features section. We did a story about the fall network TV line-up and wanted to talk to people in our coverage area who have the same careers as those on CSI, The Office, Boston Legal, and Grey's Anatomy.

I was given total creative license with these shoots. For two days I worked out of the basement, setting up a makeshift studio with a large muslin backdrop, one light and a reflector.

I had wonderful subjects to work with who were receptive to my ideas and offered some of their own. After each shoot I interviewed each of them for a short sound bite and produced an audio slideshow for the web. In hindsight, maybe I was pushing things trying to get a multimedia piece from this. I think it's a good multimedia opportunity but I don't think SoundSlides is the right presentation for it. Something more interactive and flash-driven might have been more appropriate.

These photos were labeled photo illustrations because I dropped the color out of the background, but other than that these are all in-camera shots.

Dr. Chris Hugo, a Neenah ER physician. We used magenta ink from the old presses to simulate the appearance of blood on his gloves. That was a lot of fun trying to wash off of my hands...

Rhonda Ziegler, a local assistant bank manager, posed for me on top of a filing cabinet... unused filing cabinets are really hard to find in an office building.

Sgt. Scott De Broux of the Appleton Police Department does a lot of crime scene photography, fingerprint and identification work. Standing in as our corpse is my colleague Kirk Wagner. Get this guy on Law & Order...

Local attorney Sarah Kons. We tried full lengths portraits like the others but they just didn't work because of the lack of props (attorneys typically only have a large briefcase). Something tighter to emphasize the slight bit of attitude in her face was needed. I asked her to pretend I was a judge who just handed down a verdict against her. Kons said that studies have shown that people shop for lawyers by appearance in their phone-book photograph. The meaner you look, the more people want you to fight for their cause.

Our printed page... click it to see it larger.
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