Bob Motley a Congressional Medal of Honor winner and the last living umpire from Negro Leagues Baseball.

Why do I photograph?  This is the reason.  A chance to meet someone who made history.  An American Hero.  An Icon. A loving Husband.  A true role model.  It was and still is an honor and privilege to have been allowed to poke my nose and camera into Bob Motley’s life.

My father served in the U. S. Army for 20 years and saw action in the Korean War and Vietnam War.  My stepfather had over 300 parachute jumps in the Vietnam War.  When HAO commissioned me to do this assignment I began to pack  my bags as the art director Jimmy Gonzales spoke to go to Kansas City.  That’s where Bob Motley lives.

Bob volunteered to serve during World War II.  During fighting in Okinawa, Bob and his fellow Marines were sent out from the water onto the beach in waves. “The first and second waves got wiped out completely. I was in the third wave. We lost half of our troops. We set up the beachhead and dug our foxholes” When he thought all was clear, he put his foot up and was shot in it. “If I had put my head up, I would have been shot in the head.”

While recovering in the hospital, he got bored staying in Bed. He wandered outside, found a softball game that needed an umpire – and found his life’s passion.  (see footnote #1)

The last living umpire from Negro Leagues Baseball, Bob 89, made the call for many of baseball’s all-time greats: Satchel Paige, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays and more.

After photographing Bob at home with Pearline, his wife of 61 years, we decided to drive over the Kansas City Royals Stadium to photograph Bob in action.  But first we had to get to the stadium.  Bob rolled Pearline out to their mini-van, gently loaded her into it and said, “meet you at the stadium.”   I felt rather strange letting an 89 year old and 79 year old drive themselves to a photography shoot for me……but needless to say.  They beat me and my crew to the stadium.   By the time I arrived, Bob was dressed in his crisp black umpire outfit standing in the middle of Kansas City Royals stadium.  He had rolled Pearline to Royals dugout where she kept dry from the light rain shower.  A loving husband.

[Footnote 1. from article written by Andrea Gollin who provided text for the story “Leading from Battlefield to Baseball Field” published in Humana Active Outlook Magazine]


Alberto “Beto” Perez

It’s always great to get the call from an editor with those words, ” Your shooting for the cover”.   Your image will be on representing the magazine on newstands and Kiosks all over the country.  It  puts a smile on my face when I’m hurrying to catch a flight and see one of my images on a newstand in the airport.  Anyway.  Most people when they think of a Business magazine cover…its always a guy/girl in a tie. Armed crossed.  Captain of the Universe low angle shot.  Not on this one.

CEO Alberto “Beto” Perez  gave me over  fifty high jumps without the aid of a trampoline until we both were happy. I actually used my ears more then my eyes for this session.  Beto would stomp his right foot harder on the ground as he propelled himself into the air.  I have shot ballet before which has its own challenges, but the dance is very choreographed.

 His zumba leaps were very free form and each shot yield a different shape. Sometimes the action was great but the expression was off.  Or he would jump completely out of the frame!  It was air dancing.  We shot on three backdrops, white, black and a eye popping yellow.  The editor, Travis Ruse wanted an image which leaped off the page.  INC got its cover and I got a few Zumba lessons from the man who invented it!

Here are a few technical details.  Camera: Phase one DF camera with P40+ back and outfitted with a V-Grip which allowed me to shoot a air dance freezing speed of  1/1250 with a Schnieder 150mm LS lens.  Lighting: Profoto bi-tube and Profoto 7 packs.

 


Dog Days of Summer

Hmmmm.  Working with kids and animals….love them.  Try working with Barney, Angelina, Clyde, Fox and Lassie –the cutest homeless dogs on the planet.  They didn’t quite get the set lingo.  Freeze! Hold it! Love it!  Beautiful baby! The light loves you!  Dogs wanting green jelly beans, diet Pepsi and  a doggy trailer with a star on it lathered with  mucho petting and lots of attention. It wasn’t the day for me to wear my black is the new black ensemble…..now sitting in a laundry bag covered with gold hair, black hair and brown hair.  The set was pure helter dog-skelter!   Lucky for us doggie treats went over smashingly well! (The all volunteer team, model Stacy Lyon from Wilhelmina, stylist Kristina Kitchens,  make-up/hair by Melissa Connor and dog lover Eva ate human treats…pizza!)   When Eva Wittels called from Project Fashion Tails, an initiative started to educate the public about the plight of homeless animals,  I knew it was going to be a fun shoot.  And hopefully these deserving  haute couture dogs will have been adopted by the time you see these photos from the shoot.

 

When the housing bubble collapsed many people who lost their homes were forced to surrender of abandon their animals.  According to Eva Wittels from Helping Homeless Animals, “this only added to Miami’s homeless animal population.”  She started the Miami-based Project Fashion Tails to put animals from rescues to pose with 40 world-renowned fashion photographers. Charest-Weinberg and Eva Danielle will be presenting the work at Charest-Weinberg Gallery in Miami on September 22, 2012, Saturday at 7:00 – 10:00 pm.

See you dog and cat lovers there!


Steve Harvey is a multi-talented entertainer, who is successful in radio, comedy, acting and as a host on television with the “Family Feud” show

“June 4th shoot Hey man, are you available on the 4th (next week) for a shoot in Atlanta?”  Yes.  “Stay loose, I’m trying to make this work.  Be in touch on it soon.”  That’s it.  Thats how this assignment came to be.  In this case it’s a portrait of Steve Harvey, a multi-talented entertainer.  Dudley Brooks, the picture editor gave me the gig and told me the story was for EBONY’s Black wealth issue.  He said to me you are photographing a media mogul.  The first image which popped into my head was of a Russian Oligarch sitting in a gold throne between two Siberian tigers (the gold ones or rather ones who would allow themselves to spray painted gold) with four nubile Russian beauties wearing nothing but gold spray paint…..The editor would only okay the “Gold throne”.   I managed to get in a shot during the two hour shoot Steve with a gold frame as well.

I’m not an etch a sketch master….a quick reference drawing.

A doodle can move the visual process along.  I like the challenge of creating a meaningful image from a few  words, sometimes descriptive, sometimes not.  Some of my visual tools includes implying  meaning through subject expression, lighting, subtle tones and prop choices.

"Larger then life, echoes of Citizen Kane"

This is my slightly surreal take on Steve Harvey. A larger then life gold frame, floating in a sea of red velvet.

 

Lighting diagrams are a big help. I try to previsualize the assignment as often as possible. It helps when work with a team. Puts everyone on the same page.