by Skip Cohen
When Chamira Young and I started this series, the idea of comparing photographers to great chefs just seemed like a novel approach. After all, just like your favorite cuisines, there's always a chef involved, creating the presentation and the flavors. Even the legendary portrait artist, Don Blair, used to refer to using a hair-light as the "garlic-light," always stressing that you only needed a small amount.
Like great chefs, the photographers we've featured are passionate about their work and love for the craft. Fashion photographer Eugene Manning joins us this month, and his passion for the craft matches any great chef you've ever heard about.
The process of featuring a photographer starts with a phone call. We wanted to feature Eugene after a story about his work was featured in the Tamron Newsletter. (You need to sign up for this publication if you don't already receive it.)
Eugene and I talked, and a few days later he sent me several of his favorite images. Loving black and white, like so many of us do, I decided to try something a little different and feature two of his favorite photographs side by side. While the pandemic has changed so much in our lives, it hasn't slowed down Eugene's quest to capture and create!
Early into this series, I started having fun finding a quote that seemed to fit each artist. It's often based on what comes out of that first phone call. Eugene was excited about the Tamron Recipes concept, and combined with his enthusiasm for imaging it wasn't hard to find a quote that fits.
Keep up your enthusiasm.
There is nothing more contagious than exuberant enthusiasm.
About Chef Eugene: Eugene's based out of one of the most competitive fashion markets in the world, New York, and without question, he focuses just as much on his skillset as he does relationship building with each subject. His work has been featured in Elle India and L'Officiel Baltic plus Vogue Italia's "PhotoVogue" curated fine art website.
About the Images: I love the images for different reasons; for example, the texture of the garment in "Cyrene" is just amazing, as well as the hint of skin. I am my own worst critic, and while I love the image, I use it to remind myself that I have a lot further to go. I would have shot it differently today.
For "Kinetic Energy," I love the movement in Lailanni's hair, and the peacefulness in her face. Lailanni is another very gorgeous model, and we wanted to create an image that was interesting and would have people stop scrolling and look at it. In contrast with "Cyrene," I really love the final image, and I'm happy with how it came out; I'd only make a few minor tweaks.
There's something interesting in Eugene's comments about both images - his quest to keep growing his skill set. Again, think about our comparison to a fine chef - not satisfied with the flavors he put together, he's continuing on a quest for different results. Each Tamron "Chef" has shared the importance of their growth and the never-ending changes they've seen in their own work over the years. It's all part of the journey!
Take the time to visit Chef Eugene's Instagram page. He's regularly sharing images from his fashion shoots.
The pandemic may have changed travel plans for many of us attending the various first quarter conventions each year, but that isn't stopping Tamron from being accessible! Online and off, in small programs around the country, they support imaging artists as best they can. Check out their listing of local events, all within the appropriate safety and physical distancing guidelines.
The lens Eugene used for the image above was the SP 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro. Click on the thumbnail to the right for more information, and join us on his podcast next week when he'll talk about why he wanted to use this particular lens on a fashion shoot.
With more and more people getting the vaccine, things are starting to open up a little more each day. However, that doesn't change my need to remind you about staying focused on your skills and business.
Hunkering down is about your health, NOT about growing as an artist and expanding your skillset. Nothing grows if you stay in your comfort zone. That means the downtime you're still experiencing is an opportunity to raise the bar on the quality of your images.
Stay active in social media and spend time with your camera in your hands every day, capturing images for your most important client...YOU!
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.