by Skip Cohen
I published a post about my headshot in 2013, but today's throwback goes deeper than this portrait. We all have our heroes in the industry and Gregory Heisler is one of mine.
One of the highlights of my career was spending three weeks with Gregory when we were both asked to do portfolio reviews at Hallmark Institute. Sadly, Hallmark closed many years ago, but that doesn't change the value of the throwback memories when it comes to looking in the rearview mirror.
For three weeks in 2009, three judges reviewed the portfolios of the graduating students in front of a live audience. It was one of those projects I describe as "the most fun I don't want to ever do again!" Reviews often took up to an hour, as each image in every student's portfolio received a full critique from three different judges.
On our way out to dinner one night, it just happened to be my birthday. The headshot to the right was done by Gregory, who simply said, "Come on, we've got to do a fast headshot of you for your birthday!" There's no way I was going to pass up my headshot by Gregory Heisler!
He set it up with a vertical softbox about a foot from the left side of my face. His Hasselblad was set up about 18-20 inches in front of me. He shot wide open and had an assistant hold in an opaque card between the softbox and camera to keep the flair off the lens.
Here's the funny sidebar - my daughter was a photo student then and asked how the shot was set up. I gave her all the information, and she called me a few days later. "Dad, I'm trying to create a similar image, and I keep frying my subjects!" Oops, I forgot to tell her Gregory only used the modeling light and never turned on the strobes!
Gregory Heisler is one of the finest photographers in our industry. Back then, he had already photographed at least 75 covers for Time Magazine. Although we've lost touch over the years, nothing changes my respect for his work, and hanging out with him for three weeks is a definite highlight of my life in imaging.
In 2013 Profoto included a video interview with Gregory as part of their Master Series. While many of the videos are no longer available, I wanted to share this one to help you meet one of the finest photographers in the world. And while it may have been recorded eight years ago, his insight is timeless, just like his work!
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.