Bearded Dude Blog

“What was your favourite shoot?”

Tonight, admittedly after a few drinks (I really am not an alcoholic), I found myself thinking about this question. What was my favourite shoot? There is a few up there.... The Redneck Last Supper? Fun and creative making a crew of tattoo artists look semi-religious. Pregnant Water Nymph? Difficult but so exciting to see the final product. No… I would have to say that my favourite shoot to date was the portraits that I shot of Norman Reedus (from the Walking Dead) a few months ago.

It wasn't the most creative shoot I've done. Nor was it the most relaxing, considering my primary light literally exploded 20 minutes before I began to shoot!

My enjoyment had nothing to do with the creative process of the shoot at all. It all had to do with the subject and the interaction.

Let me digress for a moment. Over the past fourteen years that I have been shooting, it wasn't the technical aspect of photography that I found most difficult. Nope, that comes to you with more and more practice. The most difficult part of portrait photography for me has always been the interaction with the subject. Having a reclusive nature has made the process of the portrait quite… scary?… Intimidating?… Daunting? Yep, daunting is the word. In order to create a portrait of a person that conveys their personality and character, the photographer has to develop an intimate relationship in such a short time, sometimes minutes, as was the case with Norman.

The moment I met Norman, I have to admit, I wished this guy was my mate! He is the kind of person that you want to have a few dozen drinks in a dingy bar, followed by a rowdy bar fight with some roughnecks.

I guess there was some trepidation about shooting Norman considering not only were there two photographers shooting him before me (Oh god! Are they better than me? Are they gonna shoot the same things as me? Suck it up Walters! Get on with the job!), but also when we arrived to set up at 7.30am, the publicist pulled us aside to inform us that "Norman doesn't want to do any shoots today". Let me assure you, this was not prima donna act on his part, he had woken up with a swollen eye... seriously, who in the world would want to be photographed by three photographers with a swollen eye! But ever the professional, Norman followed through with his commitments.

Completing his second shoot, Norman made his way over to Melinda and I. After introducing ourselves, Norman and I began to chat. Fortunately, we had quite a bit in common… a love of motorbikes, choppers and Harley's in particular. Photography, which I was surprised to learn that he had just completed an exhibition of his own photography in Time Square. An exhibition titled "Glamour Roadkill". These were photographs of roadkill that he passed every day on his motorbike, making his way to the set of The Walking Dead… cool! Also, to my surprise, he was a huge fan of Jazz, such a big fan that he named his son, Mingus, after his favourite musician Charles Mingus, one of the coolest bass players ever.

The shoot went smoothly, after the initial explosions, much to my relief (though this didn't stop me from sweating bullets the entire time!) We managed to shoot four setups in 45 minutes, including my favourite "James Dean inspired"image of him walking in the rain. Norman was also gracious enough to stop mid-shoot and have a fan photograph with a very excited 20ish year old that launched herself bodily at him, but only after he cautiously asked her "Are you an assassin?"

I have put together a collection of my favourite shots of the shoot below.

Anyway.... that's my fav shot in case anyone is interested. Speak soon.


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