by Skip Cohen
If I had to pick the top ten highlights of my career to date, working with "Big Daddy" Blair on our first book together in 1998 would be at the top of the list. I've written a lot about both the book and Don in the past, but recently ran across these images by Bambi Cantrell.
The idea for the book came out of watching a presentation of Don's a few months after his beloved wife Donna had passed away. Somebody said, "This stuff needs to be in a book!" We needed something new to help Don focus beyond his sadness and "Body Parts" was it.
With help from Terry Deglau and Tony Corbell, we shot the entire book over three days in Las Vegas. We chose Vegas because we wanted to launch the book at WPPI the following March in a platform program. By using models from Vegas, we could use the same models in Don's presentation, giving us continuity between his WPPI program and the book.
There are a lot of great memories with these images, especially when I think about the process. This was all before digital technology! In the top image you can see the story boards we had on the wall. With each page of the book we'd post the Polaroid test shot once we were done. (For you newbies - Polaroids were the only way to "chimp" in those days.) Then I'd write up a draft of Don's tip to go with the image, and we'd move on to the next portrait tip.
Working together with Marathon Press, we just recently cranked things up again on printing the book. Printing technology has changed a lot since '98, and Marathon has never missed a beat. We're now able to print small batches of the book on demand. What a kick it is working with them and this book is only one example. If you're headed to IUSA come by booth 200 and check out Bella Art Prints and Albums. You're going to be very impressed with both the quality and the cost!
Well, it's holiday time, and here's the perfect stocking stuffer. It's the only book of its kind in portraiture. It's based on the concept of dealing with all the challenges Mother Nature throws your way - from hand-posing to bald heads to glasses to long necks, short and tall couples and those are just a few. We designed the book to go in your camera bag and each tip will help you create stronger portraits. In fact, for many years, the book was on the recommended reading list for PPA certificiation.
Meanwhile, nothing beats a trip down memory lane on Throwback Thursday. In this case there aren't enough words in a blog post to share the love I had for Don Blair or how much I still miss him. Essentially he was the big brother I never had. I feel so fortunate to be able to share the stories of our adventures together and say, "Yeah, he was my best buddy!"
Happy Throwback Thursday!
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