Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Time With Phil Vassar

I've been really, really, really busy for the last two weeks. Phil Vassar came by Studio Daylight in Nashville, Tennessee, for a shoot with me (Nashville photographer Wes Aldridge) the other day. It was the day of the CMAs, so naturally he didn't have much time to devote to the shoot. My team of assistants (Nick Bumgardner, Amy Harris, SaraMac and Andy Middleton) and I knew about our time crunch (appx. 2 hours) and still planned to get 6-8 looks. It was going to be fast-paced and fun, just the way I like it.

We spent the morning setting up about 7 different shooting stations. We had everything laid out and tweaked so the only downtime in the shoot was when Phil was doing wardrobe change. We literally would finish shooting one set up, he change clothes, and we would be ready for him to walk in and start shooting on the next set. Everything ran super-smoothly because, like nerds, we had all of our exposures written down in big, detailed list, keeping us ready to shoot as soon as we switched the channel of my PocketWizard on camera.

I'm really pleased with many of the images we came out of the shoot with. If you go to Phil's blog
http://blog.philvassar.com/ you can see the same photo I just posted on my blog. Its kind of cool. Phil's site is done by Carter, a really great friend of mine.

And, I learned something really cool about Phil. I had one of my classic rock playlists going over the studio speakers and of course, David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" started to play. My instinct was to walk over to the iPod and skip it because Phil probably thought Major Tom was a freak, but to my surprise, I look over at Phil and he's playing some air-guitar and wailing on some Bowie high notes. I was like, "Wow, dude, you dig Bowie?" Phil's like, "Yeah, we used to cover a bunch of Bowie songs back in the day." I thought that was a rad moment that needed to be shared with everyone, hehe!

"Ashes To Ashes" is probably my ultimate song to do photography to. One of the most magic times I've had a camera in my hand was watching the sun fade away at El Mirage Dry Lake with my brother after I did his "Sun God" portrait. Bowie was singing that day in the California desert, and he had Phil Vassar jammin' out to him for my shoot. I dig me some Bowie, man.