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Dragan @lippi 28. Dec 2007, 10:05

Evo Dee je poslal en "kratki" komentarček o celotni "The Shot" avanturi.. sigurno bo zanimivo vsem, ki ste to spremljali.



Behind the scenes of The Shot by Dean

Teach challenge 1:
I have to say I was beyond excited here; my heart was just about get out of my chest, the lights of the biggest stage of my life REALLY got to mo so I forgot the model’s names. Pretty damn embarrassing, I have to say. I seriously nearly had a heart attack. It didn’t help that Jax (or male model) was doing exactly opposite from what I was saying. Was he still drunk from the last night or he was asked to do so by the producers, remains unknown. I know English is my second language, but I never had anyone I photographed repeatedly do exactly opposite from what I was asking. And I photographed a lot of people in my short career.
It also didn’t help that I came unteathered and none of 3 assistants noticed that until I wasted about 40 shots. I never shot teathered before, it was an experience. Finally, I got to see only about 15 out of roughly 60 shots I took in the lab. I used a strawberry as a prop to convey passion, and really wish I got to see those pics, but it was a lesson for both me and the production. I think I got the jitters out, right there.

Elimination challenge 1:
Working on that team was really easy and a pleasure, regardless of what was portrayed as Ivan’s lack of leadership, I thought we easily won the challenge. What you didn’t see is that Bruce (older male model that has been in the industry for decades) came up to me after the shoot and told me that I give great directions, and that I have a “mojo”. That meant a world to me, as I never really worked with professional models before.
I guess the part of the challenge was that we didn’t receive any medication for sea sickness until we started vomiting, (Ivan). Anyhow, that was one and only time I worked with Jason on a team. Since the filming we successfully executed several shoots for our partnership business Image Alliance International, including a major celebrity session. Images will be available for viewing in a near future at www.itwoa.com.

Teach Challenge 2
My strength coming into all the shoots is a strong vision. I learned that once that is taken away form me, or if art director/client disagrees, I become overly nervous. (See Vaseline and first VS shoot in Hawaii) Lesson: always have a plan B and C, so you know what exactly you gonna shoot, rather then just wander around the set and shoot whatever is there. What I truly learned is that is extremely important to shoot what client wants, yet that you have to do everything in your power to come thru with your vision, because at the end, that’s why you are hired.
Back to the challenge: my idea was to have a model hold a tarantula in her hand, and have e Jason as a prop, lying down in a background with flowers in his hand, as if he was bit by the spider. I was going to “tell the story” with a photograph which Russell mentioned was very important. I was going to light the set with a large HMI pulled back to get a really long shadow of her, and then just have a modeling light on Jason. None of the fellow contestants complained, yet the production did, and they said I couldn’t use Jason as a model. If he’s “dead” I thought he was more of a prop; I though it was great idea, and so did everyone with common sense. Right there I knew that my creativity will be at the times too much for the production. The outcome was fairly boring yet pretty shot of a spider with very shallow DOF. It did get me a team leadership, but I thought it was more because of the production’s intention to team me with Piper, rather than the photo itself. What I felt like is that up until the last challenge; teach challenges were set up to team up people, where in elimination challenges truly the worst photograph went home.

Elimination challenge 2:
As I mentioned in the show, I did try to take control over the shoot, yet I obviously didn’t have it, as Piper still did what she wanted and regardless of my suggestion to make kids smile she made them look like a funeral. I failed to see the downsides do Ivan’s shot, yet he is the one that pushed the shutter. I wish some of my teammates pointed out the overall darkness of the campaign, yet to this day, I firmly stand by the fact that my overall campaign was photographically superior to both, lighting and composition wise. Maria’s team’s one was a lot brighter though, and well lit as well. Zana loved my shot, so did both Italo and Russell, which you didn’t see. Again, I am the first one to call it if I don’t come thru as a photographer, which I thought I did here, yet I failed as a team leader, as the final product was not satisfactory. Having said that, it was extremely difficult to work with Piper, perhaps the biggest part of the challenge. I felt extremely sorry for Ivan, yet again, he did push the shutter of his own destiny. We are still in touch, and he is still in the US and shooting.

Teach Challenge 3
There is not much to say about this one, I never climbed rocks nor hang off of the cliff, but it was not a big deal. I knew exactly what I wanted and I got it. Would love to do it again. Team leadership did not surprise me, nor did it surprise me that I was teamed up with Piper again. Good TV.

Elimination Challenge 3
This team was very easy to work with surprisingly, as the matter of fact, Piper was very cooperative, and helped everyone, as well as we helped her, unlike what was shown. The shot I submitted sucked, I tried to do too much with that HMI, I had a strong vision, but too many things were in the way – cables, divers, etc…so I wasn’t able to pull it off. Big lesson – under those extreme circumstances – KISS - keep it simple stupid. I do have a shot that with some cable removal in post production could look quite good, will post it somewhere if I get it.
This is the only time in the show that I felt my shot was worst on my team. Luckily, our campaign was far superior to the opposing team, and that was focus of my team leadership this time around, rather trying to control everyone and take a great shot myself. Huge lesson again.

Teach Challenge 4
Volleyball shoot went very well I thought, I noticed they skipped critique of my photographs there in the episode, but no big deal. It was nice to actually get a little break from the leadership.

Elimination Challenge 4
That “Matrix Shoot”, that’s what we called that set up was overall failure, I have to agree, yet they scared us shitless with “watch the hair”, “keep it simple” etc. They should have showcased other product in that set-up, in my humble opinion, anything other than hair. I do take blame, and I said it then and I will say it now: I shot like a bitch and it showed. I wish I stepped outside of the box, and did something creative. Russell called it perfectly, we didn’t shoot to win, but not to lose.

Teach Challenge 5
The food fight was pretty damn gross, it really smelled like a MF in there, hot lights for filming didn’t help either, yet it was kinda fun after all. What wasn’t fun is a fact that production decided to hose us off in the parking lot outside the studio…not cool at all, especially for the girls. I guess it would have been too expensive to have a portable shower rented. Winning the challenge was not a surprise, yet I thought everybody came through in this one.

Elimination Challenge 5
This one was one of my favorite shoots; it was great to work with Maria and Robin. I was really skeptical coming into this one as I never really shot beauty. However, I really got some magical photographs; initially I picked other two then what you have seen, but took Robin’s suggestion to go with other two, I’m still not sure why, but no regrets. I had some really insane macros, as the make-up, lighting, body paint and the model were all fantastic. I hope to share that with you as soon as I get the pictures. My other initial selection was that paint pouring shot, but again, decided to go with safer bets. It worked and we overwhelmingly won that one.

Teach Challenge 6
This is where the fun starts. I shot B-boys before, as I worked in the club where they showcased them one night a week here in Seattle. (See my site, gallery two, somewhere close to the end) I decided to go with an honest, in your face portraits in addition to the motion shot, which is exactly what Russell said he would have done. I truly thought I came thru, and Russell told me that after the show, as well as on the extras. Maria went first, got those characters and pulled off some really nice shots. Rules didn’t allow is to use same models. Now, the real fun part, after we waited in a van for about 3 hours in front of the gallery to enter our exhibit, one of the crew members tells me that he nearly got casted for the Gallery showing, but since we knew him he didn’t. Not very bright on the kid’s part, so I knew right away this was a set-up. All the people in the gallery were actors. When we got home, I told the production next time they wanted to shake my confidence they should come to me before they spend the money on the actors.

Elimination Challenge 6
This one was another huge lesson for me. First off, production yet once again made us wait in the van for several hours in nice August Californian sun, about 110 degrees easily in the van; I literarily passed the hell out, and next thing you know I am in the studio with camera in my hand. The client discarded idea of the peace sign as a hint for Vaseline (wish I still tried though), and I am there not even knowing what country is this, and why am I there. Huge props to Maria for helping with posing, ideas etc that we discussed before. Without her the pictures would have sucked even more, I didn’t mind the push-up guy, but overall I am lot better photographer than that. I did set the lighting for this shoot. Other team however faltered, and it was another easy victory for my team.

Teach Challenge 7
In the real life, the paparazzi challenge actually happened after the Joss Stone shoot.
Still, I didn’t quite enjoy it.
Elimination Challenge 7
This one I think the photographs talked for their selves.

Final Challenge – Part One
Hawaii Hawaii…well, that was fun after all, regardless of the fact the production set my hotel room on fire accidentally, and of the fact that I have yet to see what I believe might be my best images from the final cover shoot.

The first elimination challenge, I thought I really came in prepared as I tried to envision and sketch as many shots as possible after they told us of props, location and overall requirements of the shoot the night before. What I didn’t know is what Victoria Secret is all about. Therefore, Larry from VS discarded nearly all of my ideas before I even got to the shoot. I think I did over conceptualize large number of my ideas, after I found out more about the brand. I do not wear VS as you can probably imagine.
That naturally didn’t leave me unfazed, yet I picked my self up and just went there and shot about roughly 700 pictures of whatever was in front of me, lol. I got some great stuff there.

Final Challenge – Part Two
Going into final challenge, we were given about 30 VS catalogs to get a feel of the cover look. None of the catalogs had the strobe for lighting nor the head gear included, so I decided to stay away from it. Light was getting better by minutes, and I said to myself “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” (See January’s Marie Claire) took that 85, as well as 100 macro lens and killed it. Unfortunately, I have yet to see what I firmly believe are my best images from that shoot. I also shot at the part of the balcony with nice direct light; gold fill on the side and a majestic house in the background that screams wealth and a ‘guilty pleasure’. The background sure was way out of focus yet story telling. The shot I am dying to see however the one on the rocks with a huge wave is breaking behind gorgeous Alessandra in the foreground.

Final thoughts
Now, in the last episode extras on VH1.com Russell made a point that reason I didn't win is because I am truly an advertisement photographer, and you know what? He is right. Fashion photography, especially catalogue, can be one dimensional, and creatively insufficient for me personally. I can see it becoming boring fast, and I do want more from my work. As for the outcome of the Shot, once I (hopefully) get all the images, I will let you be the judge. Best of luck to Maria, and all of my fellow contestants. Huge thanks to Russell for guidance and inspiration.
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Imagination is more important than knowledge...


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