by Skip Cohen
Although I started at Polaroid many years earlier, I really look at my career in photography starting in 1987 when I joined Hasselblad. During the twenty-six years since then, I've had the honor of meeting and working with some of the finest photographers in the world.
Avedon made me lunch once in the flat above his studio. I've got Ansel Adams' car keys in my desk. Scavullo's dog tried to bite me numerous time. Gregory Heisler did my headshot which I'm still using. Arnold Newman could never remember my name. I once presented Mary Ellen Mark with the PMDA Photographer of the year award.
And, I have so many images on the walls of my home that somebody recently said it was like a gallery with prints from John Sexton, Phil Borges, David Michael Kennedy, Scott Bourne, Chris Rainier and the list goes on and on. There's a story behind every print, because that's what our industry is all about.
Put all those images together and it's my own tribute to imaging and representative of some incredible friendships...but none of them bring out a smile on my face like this one on the left!
It was taken by our good buddy Elena Hernandez in Dallas, who many of you have probably never heard of. She wrote one of my favorite guest posts a few years ago, that I republished last week. She's an amazing artist and the story on this image was simply part of a project she was doing at WPPI two years ago.
I'm always amazed when I hear photographers complain about not having any place great to shoot. This image was captured in the alcove of the Signature Hotel in Vegas and Elena spent at best ten minutes on the shot. She had a vision and new exactly what she wanted. In the alcove as you come into the hotel there were two mirrors, one on either side of the doorway. She knew what she wanted to capture.
The end result gave me a new portrait and brought my best buddy, Sheila my wife, into the moment. Sheila, like so many wives, hates having her picture taken, but this gave her a presence without feeling like she was the main subject. Added to the image's impact is the way it was printed - on metal by Roxanne Benton.
Elena is an artist and while she can shoot just about anything, she believes in being unique. Her portrait of Matthew Jordan Smith is another prime example.
Every subject walks away simply feeling special and if you've been to events sponsored by the Dallas PPA chapter, odds are you've met Elena and completely understand what I'm talking about. And that brings me to a sidebar point of today's post.
You've got to make something about your work special and different from what everybody else is shooting. There's a post I wrote earlier in the year that talks about it. You've got to make yourself different.
"Don't be an imitator - be an innovator. Design your life and live it your way, not someone else's way. Stand up, stand out and start living uniquely, creatively and awesomely! Ricardo Housham
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.