If we’re not upfront with our convictions as people, how can we be honest as artists?

I’ve wanted to blog about this photo illustration for a while now. It’s titled, Perseverance. The hope is that the image and its title says it all. But in case you’re wondering, the narrative is about cutting through a barren desert. Metaphorically it represents a few things; survival through life’s trials, defining your artistic core, and a little dose of “the journey is the destination”. To prepare for it, I worked with painter and climber, Jeremy Collins, (also is featured in the piece at the front of the boat). Much of his life’s journey has existed with his friend David, the writer. So it’s a personal piece about their creative collaboration and friendship. It reflects the absolute necessity to persevere in their convictions, as artists and as people. We also really wanted it to be a dried up desert rather than an ocean, so the feeling of isolation and odyssey was heavy. Some of objects of significance included: Jeremy’s paintbrushes, David’s Louis L’Amour books, a typewriter, an old globe, climbing gear, cameras and suitcases.

No boat? No problem. The shoot must go on.

To prep for the shoot we put them into old world wardrobe, and rubbed dirt all over their faces. The only prop we couldn’t land in time — was the boat. Fortunately, I knew if we got everything in place, I could work the boat in during post production. We would have loved to shoot on-location but it wasn’t in the cards. So with boards we built an endoskeleton of the boat with all of the props, and shot in-studio.

Watch the shoot setup and post-production process in this video below.

Watch the video Full Screen

Yes indeed, the final output took countless hours in Photoshop. This piece that has pushed me to my limits in post-production. Ultimately what helped me the most was:

a) Photographing with the perspective in mind prior to the photoshoot
b) Photographing as many props as I could since I knew the motion of objects flying and force was critical.
c) Making sure I got the intensity we needed from the subjects. If it didn’t say it in their faces, the final piece would never hold up emotively.

Even without the environment surrounding us, we worked through the narrative emotively and the process was extremely fun. These extremely creative guys were using their imagination to highest degree and they saw their surroundings in their minds.

After the boat portion of the shoot I decided to take some individual portraits. They did a phenomenal job of keeping that intensity alive. They really didn’t need any direction at all by this point, and to this day they’re two of my favorite portraits I’ve photographed. All in all it helps to photograph people with imaginations and creativity like theirs.

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