Assisting a big job in the near future? Feel like you’re missing something? If you don’t have an assistants kit, you are.
When I was in college, I had a professor that handed us a laundry list of seemingly unrelated items we were required to purchase for a studio photography class. Little did I know, that list would change the way I assist and shoot, forever. Not only did certain items on the list intrigue me, “What could this be for?”, I would ask myself, but others just seemed weird. Glycerin? Clothes pins? Museum putty? Who knew all of these items had something in common. It’s like that trip to the grocery store when you buy ice cream, band aids, and a rolling pin. People are confused and look at you all sorts of funny. But who cares what others think? You’ll have the last laugh on set when you show up uber prepared.
Here’s your essential photo assistants kit: (great for the solo product photographer too!)
• a toolbox, maybe on wheels, to house everything you need
• all kinds of tape including electrical, painters, gaff, double-sided & regular clear tape
• pens, pencils (regular and white), highlighters, & different kinds of Sharpies
• gray cards, white cards, and black cards – small and large
• scientific calculator
• small and large scissors
• set of screwdrivers & a mini set
• museum putty
• petroleum jelly
• box cutter
• Exacto knife and extra blades
• AA batteries
• pain reliever, band aids, Neosporin & allergy medication
• small pairing knife
• LED flashlight
• small pins, push pins, and safety pins
• glue stick
• hot glue gun with extra glue refills
• paint can key
• clothes pins
• hair ties and bobby pins
• small piece of acetate
• sync cord
• iPhone chargers & speakers
• bungee cords
• cotton swabs
• lint roller
• small Zip-lock bags
• trash bags
• sand paper
• tape measure
The list really could go on & on… but this will get ya started.
Fortunately, I’ve been absent from this blog because I’ve been making literal moves in my life. From Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Miami’s gorgeous art neighborhood, Wynwood – from shooting tests to assisting NYC photographers on BIG production jobs – it’s all been quite wonderful. Although all things are not perfect in my life, I’m taking the negative and making it positive – sometimes that’s the only thing you can do. Having friends around you to remind you that you’re not completely crazy, or maybe you are (in a good way), is a blessing. And in this chaos, I’ve found some sort of peace and motivation to move forward and strive to make my dreams come true, instead of fighting what I can’t change.
In this journey, I’m starting to focus on personal projects. Personal projects, to an artist, can sometimes be more crucial than any paid gig. It gives you a chance to really dig deep and find out what you love, what you want to say, what you want to discover. There’s no false motivation. Just the desire to make something that makes YOU feel good. I believe that the purest forms of art are not commissioned by clients, but by your heart.
Without even trying, I proved this to myself last week. I was digging through a cardboard box full of old film prints. Some were really, really, really bad. But some really surprised me. Those photos were a product of a 15 year old girl, with her first camera, 36 exposures, and nothing to lose but her time. No nightmares of student loans, no parents telling you to get a “real” job – just my Nikon and I, in a small town, all alone. I’ve learned that whether you’re a photographer, writer, sculptor, or surgeon – find something that inspires you and do it for yourself, not for the money, not for the recognition, or the school credit. Do it for yourself, and in that experience you will always find something even more valuable.
While I’m waiting on the graphic designer to put the finishing touches on our latest editorial (eeeek!) I’m going to take a moment to talk about the history of photography (yay!).
the wet-plate collodion process //
In 1840′s, if you wanted your portrait to be made, you had the choice between a Daguerrotype and a Calotype, which we will talk about later. Daguerreotypes were stunningly sharp and the process was much more sensitive to light yielding a beautiful photographic likeness. The downside? There was only one, so there were no copies for family members or friends. No negative/positive funny business. However, the Calotype produced between 50 to 100 reprints from one paper negative. The downside? The final print was soft, somewhat dreamlike, and the process was not as sensitive to light which required longer exposure times. Not too good for portraits. Then, a man named Fredrick Scott Archer invented the Collodion process in 1851. It was as if he took the best of both mediums and created one single process. The Collodion, or wet-plate process, was much more sensitive to light, produced sharp photographs, and was able to be duplicated! Awesome right? Well, like everything else there is always a downside, and this process had quite a few of ‘em. The photograph was made directly onto a glass plate (which became the negative) making travel kind of a pain in the butt. Imagine wanting to take ten photographs on vacation. You would have to carry ten pieces of glass! Whew! Along with the fact you had to basically be Hercules to be a photographer, the plate had to be coated, exposed, and developed on-location making it necessary to have a portable darkroom with you at all times (or a photographic van / see no.1 below). And chemistry. And a ton of glass. The photographs though? Gorgeous prints that could be duplicated! Take a look >>
// 1. a photographic van used for making wet-plate photos on-the-go // 2. I Wait, 1872 Julia Margaret Cameron // 3. The Three Brothers, after 1860 Carleton E. Watkins // 4. Part of the “Family Pictures” series by Sally Mann, 1984-1991
links for more information on collodion photography //
video // how-to
video // history of collodion by george eastman house
article // getty.edu
Finally! Brampersandy and I had time to shoot a location we’ve both been eyein’ for a while. Our careers are our mistresses and our locations are our dirty little secrets. We decided to play around with a bit of coral + teal tied in with some clean-lined triangles. Miami in the summer, anyone?
Photo: Valerie Petralia (Good Exposure) // Style: Brandy Swope (Brampersandy)
Pure inspiration in the form of a human being is quite priceless. The best friend sent over this cute little photo of us (at Avant Gallery, Miami Beach) + added a photo of our baby doppelgängers. This is what we would have looked like had we met 15 years earlier. Can’t even express how much I love this girl!
Recently, my brother, dad, boyfriend, and I took a bit of a road trip from South Florida to Sevierville, Tennessee to visit the Italian side of my family! Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg are all adorable little towns situation right on the edge of the Great Smokey Mountains, so you can only imagine the views. These snapshots are from our drive up, through Athens, Ga (we had to stop at do a tasting at Terrapin Beer Co.) and then all the way to Tennessee!