Photo Assisting for Jim Irsay Shoot

June 18, 2011

Last Thursday, I got the pleasure of being New York’s Rayon Richards‘ photo assistant for Guitar Aficionado magazine featuring  Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts.  How did I get this opportunity? I asked myself the same question! Turns out, the Photo Editor for Guitar Aficionado and other similar publications found me from my freelance postings on Craigslist… Finally, something good came out of those 🙂

I started my day by picking up Rayon and the Writer for the article, Gary Graff, from the airport. Gary arrived a bit early so I got the chance to talk to him one and one for a bit. Gary is an award-winning music journalist and author from Pittsburgh (now living in Detroit) and an all around great guy! We joked about his following week which included covering and extensive tweeting about the Glee show, Rihanna‘s concert, and the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys concert. Throughout the day, Gary really impressed me with his insight about the music business and those involved. His interview with Irsay absolutely blew me away. I am hoping to read one of his books soon and if his books are anything like his interviewing, I would highly suggest running out and purchasing one!

When we arrived at the Colts complex, we were escorted back to Irsay’s office to set up. While we were unloading some of the equipment, I was trying to find a place to set Rayon’s laptop that was close to an outlet. I thought I had found the perfect place and as I was about to set the computer down (but never did set it down!), I realized that I was trying to use the display case for the original scroll of ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac as a coffee table. whewww! After that close call, we finished setting up and waited until Irsay, Mike, the guitarist from John Mellencamp’s band, and a few other guitar enthusiasts finished ‘jamming.’

As Rayon and I tweaked the lighting for the shot, I was reminded how much I got out of my semester long seminar in lighting. I was totally unfamiliar with Rayon’s equipment but I still felt pretty comfortable with it all. Watching Rayon set up lighting was really ensuring as well. Obviously, I had my ideas of how to light the area going in and Rayon did something similar to what I had imagined but made it even more simple….and created some really great images! Sometimes I think I hinder myself in over thinking and worrying about lighting and other technical qualities, sometimes feeling less confident in what I am doing than maybe I should. Helping Rayon was extremely fun, but more importantly, it really showed me that all it takes is a little more confidence in what I know and that just because I am still a student and starting a career, it doesn’t mean I can’t participate in really awesome shoots. Rayon started shooting for larger publications while he was getting his BFA and has excelled in his career in the past few years- no doubt because of his talent and a bit of charm- but also because he put himself out there confidently and took on big things for a young photographer.

After shooting and before heading back to the airport, we got to listen in while Gary, Irsay, and Mike discussed Irsay’s collections, the music business, and a bit of  rock and roll gossip. What a day! After dropping Rayon and Gary off for their flights, I finally got to reflect on the day. Although I felt like I didn’t have enough work to be as helpful as I wanted to be, I felt incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to help on this shoot. Working with Rayon, meeting Gary as well as Irsay, Mike and everyone else involved was really great and I can only hope that sometime, in the near future, I will be able to have an assistant with me on shoots like this! (fingers crossed!)

Check out the talented and wonderful Rayon Richards and and Gary Graff!

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