Tag Archives: photography

Photos. Filmmaker Seung-wan Ryoo.

Director Seung-wan Ryoo visits Los Angeles to promote his new film Veteran.
Director Seung-wan Ryoo visits Los Angeles to promote his new film Veteran.

November 3rd. Los Angeles, CA.

Seung-wan Ryoo wore a brown moto jacket, jeans, and blue and red Reeboks. The “Action Kid,” as he’s known in Korean cinema, watched as the hangul credits rolled over electric rock music with splashes of neon colored comic panels in the background, then took the stage to talk about Veteran, his latest film.

He first addressed some cinematic influences, his love of 70s, 80s detective movies. Pointing out that the Mustang used in the showpiece car chase was a nod to Steve McQueen’s ride in the 1968 film Bullitt, and not a budget concession.

Watching the movie, this knowledge of that era of American film is apparent. {Bullitt (1968), Serpico (1970), The French Connection (1971), The Parallax View (1974), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), The Seven Ups (1973).} (The Japanese made The Bad Sleep Well (1960) predates these, but also fits.) Continue reading

A couple more shots from that game. It’s cliché to say one wants to direct someday. To make that a profession? A lot has to go right for that to happen. But I like the idea of directing a sports movie. I take photos as practice, composition, lighting.

Photos. USS Midway.


USS Midway
HH-46 Sea Knight (left) and Huey helicopters

The USS Midway is a US Navy aircraft carrier docked in San Diego, California. Decommissioned in 1992 and turned into a museum, it saw 47 years of service, including the Vietnam War, during which my dad flew for the US Navy and Army.

I’m not sure it would be most people’s cup of tea. I liked it, and look forward to going back again, but I also wanted to spend time there with my dad, he’d actually been on it while it was in service, and it was the 40th anniversary and Father’s Day. One of his friends works as a docent and people there knew of my dad’s squadron, I was hoping to get some stories.

June 21, 2015.

USS Midway
F/A-18 Hornet (left). F-4 Phantom II.

USS Midway. F-4 Phantom II
F-4 Phantom II.

USS Midway

USS Midway

I wanted to stay and listen to these lectures on the flight deck. Pretty cool. Who knows when you might have to land a fighter jet. My dad sort of kicked around a line on the deck and pointed out the rope that you’d try to catch as you were coming in.

USS Midway
A-1 Skyraider

USS Midway. Huey
Huey Gunship

The same type of helicopter my dad flew.

“How do you know what do use? The rockets or the machine gun?”

“You use what you need.”

Hangar deck

USS Midway

USS Midway

Photos. Brian Henson at USC.

Brian Henson

Brian Henson speaks at a USC screening of Labyrinth
Brian Henson speaks at a USC screening of Labyrinth. Alessandro Ago moderates.

Brian Henson

May 7, 2015

I thought I could stay to meet Mr. Henson after, but the fans had many questions to get through so maybe next time. The Henson and company’s presence is in plenty of beloved entertainment, from cult favorites such as Labyrinth to the ubiquitous Star Wars.

Oh, years ago at my agency I happened to have met of the Muppeteers, Bill Barretta, who was quite polite. So I hope the new Muppet show does well for everyone involved and maybe there will be a panel for that.

Write-up. Sleepy Hollow screening.

Production designer Rick Heinrichs at USC
Production designer Rick Heinrichs speaks at USC SCA.

Continuation of this previous post,

After the Q&A, I moved a few rows back to watch the movie.

I asked Mr. Heinrichs if he had an agent, he said he did, Sandra Marsh. I don’t know that they came out well enough to warrant sending hard copies, but I’ll print some out and see. It can be awkward when strangers ask for contact info; who are you, what do you want, I can’t help don’t bother, or hey I’m busy are you nuts. Just as bad can be misinterpretation or disdain by any party in the vicinity so I tend to be overly formal.

Anyway. I thought, maybe the guest and speaker might like a more general photo. Something less contrasty. I didn’t have a decent one of the two of them, some test shots, a couple incidental ones at the end. So I lit from my seat and caught up at the door. Asked if they’d mind.

In these situations, unless someone explicitly wants a photo and I know my equipment and light is good enough to get something worthwhile, I don’t like to ask for a second pose.

I looked at what I had and thought of saying, okay, thanks. As you can see, the close proximity due to the length I could back up in the entryway creates distortion.


Cropped, I knew it wouldn’t be as bad.


But decided to ask if they’d move. I pointed to the closest “good” background and lighting and drew my camera up, changed the exposure setting (aperture is always wide open and ISO high).


Production designer Rick Heinrichs and Professor Rene Bruckner at USC.


It’s still not a great picture. But the lighting is less harsh, the background at least says USC. I don’t mean literally—don’t search for the letters—this is the lobby to the George Lucas building.


{SPOILERS coming up.}

{I’m not kidding.} Continue reading

Photos. Production designer Rick Heinrichs at USC.

Production designer Rick Heinrichs
Production designer Rick HeinrichsProduction designer Rick Heinrichs speaks at USC School of Cinematic Arts.


April 21, 2015.

As I ran toward the school, I glanced down, and stopped short. I was supposed to change into my white Jack Purcells. But still had on my ragged Converse. I could run back to my car, but classic American in a worn moody gray? This could fit into a few of his films.

“If anyone would approve, it’s Tim Burton’s production designer,” I reasoned. That, and nobody really cares what shoes I wear.

I was about twenty minutes early, but figured students would be eager to hear from this speaker, so I hurried on.

It was a presentation by Rick Heinrichs, Academy Award winning production designer. Professor Rene Bruckner was teaching CTCS-469, “Battle of the Stylists – Tim Burton vs. Wes Anderson.” The nice thing about a school like USC is you don’t just study the films, you can learn from the filmmakers themselves. Continue reading

Photos. Rick Carter, production designer.

Rick Carter, production designer
Production designer Rick Carter speaks at a USC screening of Looking Back on It: The Creative Journey of Rick Carter

USC professor Pablo Frasconi
USC professor Pablo Frasconi

Is he being a dinosaur? No. He was talking about the need to hold onto a. . . hm. . . it’s late and I can’t recall or I’m mixing it up with my own mottos and pep talks. I think he said sometimes you need to have something to hold on to. Existentially or psychologically.

production designer, Rick Carter
USC professor Alex McDowell and Rick Carter
USC professor Alex McDowell and Rick Carter

Talking about working with Steven Spielberg.

Alan Holzman and Alex McDowell
Alan Holzman and Alex McDowell

Alex McDowell and Rick Carter
Alex McDowell and Rick Carter

March 5, 2015. Los Angeles CA. USC.

Photos. James Foley

Director, James Foley
Director, James Foley

It was a very well attended event, the seats were all taken. So while the House of Cards episode was screening, before the panel, I went back out to the lobby. Mr. Foley was there talking to a couple HOC crew members and someone I take to be an aspiring director. I explained I had asked to photograph the panel, but would like to take some photos now if he wouldn’t mind.

I could have used a fill or key light in front, but worked with what I had. And he was a good subject. It’s surprising how well some panelists take to being photographed. It’s not about looking into the camera, it’s the way they react, or don’t. Incidentally, sometimes actors are not very good subjects.

I was going for a Shakespearean tone, A Man for All Seasons pensiveness.

He seemed at ease, I picked the ones that were a little more dramatic. He just continued his conversation and let me get my shots. Actors can apparently learn to direct from being around directors and being directed often enough, I wonder if being around sets and seeing general “rules” of what to do in front of a camera make some more natural subjects.

I use these opportunities to teach myself photography. I’d be curious how different my shots would be if I had a newer camera, or I’d like to see someone I respect using the same camera as mine and see what they would do differently. If I went to film school I suppose it would be for cinematography.


This is the initial shot I took of the group. But I wanted the camera gear to be more prominent. I thought of asking Mr. Foley to move toward the exhibit, but thought of another way. Can you guess? Continue reading

Photos. House of Cards at USC.

March 5, 2015. Los Angeles.

Actor Michael Kelly and director James Foley discuss their craft and career with USC students following a screening of season three, episode one of House of Cards.

It was a full house, standing room only.

I had heard it was a good show but don’t have Netflix and hadn’t seen it at all. I’m always eager, perhaps annoyingly so, asking working actors while at the agency questions about theater and on-camera gigs, this could be a chance to hear just that kind of thing. Luckily there wasn’t too much in the way of fan canon minutia and plenty of industry experience imparted.

Acting theory and technique, practicalities of memorizing scripts. (I really really liked that Michael, who plays Doug Stamper, basically said it’s putting in the time.) Working with different directors, including actress Robin Wright.

For directing, how to go from having one’s style or voice define a work to working within a shared series, how episodes are assigned, changing tact with different actors.

For both of them, what it’s like working on this kind of production, compared to other series or films. Other things that came up included filming in Baltimore. In answering what it’s like working with production company MRC (Media Rights Capital), exec notes (or lack of them in this case) got a laugh. I think everyone who spends any amount of time in the industry hears their share of notes, yes, even or especially ones trying to break in, so it’s nice to get some commiseration.

Another question that got a laugh was from a young French lady who commented on its popularity in countries such as France, then asked if they worried about its effect on perception of US politics abroad. I’m guessing it’s bad and therefore are they worried it’ll make other countries think poorly of America. Michael laughed and said, Oh, we know what France thinks of us. (I don’t think most Americans have any delusions of how we’re perceived abroad.)

Mr. Foley gave a little history lesson on maybe why TV has been historically a writer vs director medium and how it can change as we progress. He chatted a bit about how he’s grown from when he directed Glengarry Glen Ross, which I’ll have to rewatch and compare to the series when I get a chance.

Ah. A young man tried to help me by telling me I should up my ISO. My camera goes up to 1600 and I was quite far back, so that was as fast and as long an exposure as I was going to get. Not ideal and I don’t think the photos turned out as well. But I really enjoyed the panel. Everyone seemed happy to be there, both on stage and in the audience.