I recently had the exciting commission to photograph an actual, real-life, escape artist. Thomas Solomon is an internationally-know magician and escape artist. A friend and contemporary of David Blaine, he designs his own tricks and escapes. He owns thousands of historic handcuffs, including one used on one of the gang that assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Lucky for me, he wanted to be photographed in an old-school, Hollywood style. This meant I got to play and experiment in my studio during his photo session. Using Fresnel lights that can focus into a tiny spot of light, I created that Hollywood look of the 1930s.
dramatic poses from another century…
I was inspired by the work of photographer George Hurrell, the quote-unquote “Master of Hollywood Glamour Photography”. His work contributed to the definition of cinematic glamour in the 1930s and 1940s. Below are a couple examples of his work…Do you recognize these faces?
I photographed Ethan and his family a little while ago. His folks ordered his portrait in black and white and as I was working on it, I had this feeling of dejà vú all over again. Ethan’s portrait reminded me of something and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Finally, it dawned on me… if I added about 60 years, 100 lbs, a white beard, wrinkles, wiped away the smile, added a grizzled look and a Nobel Prize… Ethan could be Ernest Hemingway, as photographed by the great Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh.
Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) is one of the masters of 20th century photography. His body of work includes portraits of statesmen, artists, musicians, authors, scientists, and men and women of accomplishment. Karsh’s portrait of Winston Churchill is probably his most famous. He always signed his work Karsh of Ottawa. Incidentally, my good friend, Washington-based photographer Rob Fraser, was his photography assistant.
Mali, the owner and Speech Pathologist at Therapeutic Services, LLC, came in looking for a professional headshot to update her website. My studio has lots of nooks and crannies, so after doing a classic business portrait, I next set up a living room scene that is comfortable and relaxed, the perfect look to appeal to her kid-oriented clients and their families.
I was very nervous about everything, but I am SO happy with the final results! I loved how relaxed the environment was. The whole session was very comfortable and friendly and it was such an easy process. Thank you for the wonderful photographs!
– Mali DeSantis, Woodland Park
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