I've often referred to myself as one of the luckiest guys in photography and having an opportunity to meet with Francesco Scavullo was pretty remarkable. He was helping us raise money and awareness for Photographers + Friends United Against AIDS. The event was part of Photo East, now known as Photo Plus Expo.
There are two stories that tie to this image that make it so much fun to look back.
First, besides the memory of Scavullo's dog trying to bite me when I came into the studio, the way the studio was set up was pretty amazing. Francesco had very bad arthritis and to shoot fashion the way he did, he needed that low camera angle. He was shooting exclusively with Hasselblad. Very few people know that every cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine for over seventeen years was shot with Hasselblad gear.
To get around his arthritis and allow him to comfortably shoot at those low angles, they built a pit in the studio. Much like the old gas stations before hydraulic lifts, where you'd drive over a hole in the floor to have your oil changed, Scavullo would walk down a few steps into this 4-5 foot pit. You'd pretty much see only his head sticking out of the floor. The camera was on a short tripod. It was the perfect set up for so many of his studio images.
The second story came during our fund-raiser shoot at the convention. Somebody asked him what his favorite Hasselblad lens was. Well, he thought for a minute and then held up his hands about eight inches apart and said, "It's the one that's about this long!"
I'm not sure we ever did find out what the focal length was, but it didn't matter. Four hundred or so people got to watch him work that day, not just on the program we had scheduled, but with Brooke Shields for her own fund-raiser at the beginning of the session when she "borrowed" our set. It was definitely a moment to remember.
The whole Throwback Thursday thing comes together with one great point...do you know where all your memories are? All those images of past events in your life bring back the most amazing stories. Throwback Thursday isn't just an excuse for me to pull out old photographs. It's a reminder for all of you to do the same and share them with friends. There are few things better than a walk down memory lane to start the day!