Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mentor lost

I'm not sure why it seems so typical, but it's only after someone has died that we realize the impact they have had on our life.

Dick Matt, who hired me to work at EAA in 1984, passed away on Sunday.
Looking back, I could have done a better job at keeping contact in these years since he retired from EAA. But "work" gets in the way. And life. And before you know it, a year has passed. But there was the Christmas card...or the seeing him at the Sun n Fun fly-in each year.
But that isn't remembering him for his contributions to my life and career. That I still think about every so often when I see a photographer post studio work on Facebook that is lit very lifeless. I can just about hear him say "kids these days just don't know how to light". And, of course, he's right. They don't.
When Dick was teaching me to light in the studio I thought he was wrong. Old fashioned is probably a better choice of words. I was the guy who used strobes...Dick was the one who used "deuces". Those are 2,000 watt tungsten lights. Hot lights as we called them. Hard light, hard shadows. The Hollywood look.

And now, after 15 years, I keep trying to emulate that lighting. And adding elements of that style to my strobe lighting. Because no one does quality lighting anymore. Well, not "no one"...but few that I am seeing on Facebook.
So each time I see that style of lighting used on a portrait, I think of all the "old" techniques that Dick instilled on me. Hurrell would be proud.

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