Blog #202 4/18/17
When I was creating the photographs for my book “Caught in the Act: Actors Acting,“ and my monthly feature for Vanity Fair magazine, the wonderful actor Brendan Fraser came to the studio to participate.
After “Acting,” portraits were made.
Even though I was always fully prepared with many various scenarios and different characters for the “Acting” sessions, I also allowed improvisational creativity both for the actor, and of course for myself. I would use what an actor has “performed” and then, pushing it some, suggest variations, modifications, modulations. Even a complete change of direction.
By way of background: For each actor photographed for the book, I wrote ideas on cards to get things going before true improv began. Here’s an example of my prompt, and the image it produced.
“A 4 y/o mischievous boy who just let the family’s gerbil out the front door.”
The collage that was published in Vanity Fair.
Now, for the “real” direction and message of this Blog: As usual, before the shoot began, I conducted an in depth interview, and learned a great deal about his creative process. During the interview he revealed that he had three sons, one of whom is autistic. He spoke of the heartache and difficulty in lovingly parenting this son.
Fraser, was so imaginatively flexible and willing to do anything; I took a risk and directed him to become his autistic son. “OK, now, I want you to be your son. I will photograph as you develop his character, his being, his spirit and presence.” The studio was silent and empty except for us and my assistant. I sat at a small table right across from him, making images as his son emerged from him, unfolding before my eyes.
These are the transformative images I made as a father merged with his son.
The experience was extraordinarily moving. Each image was made a few seconds apart; all are included to give an idea of the slow, painful uncertainty that was so palpable.
He laid there; I stopped making photographs. And there was silence.
Later, I asked him, “Why did you do that, and so readily.?”
He said, “Because that was your direction.”
Glitterati Incorporated, the publisher of the Retrospective, Schatz Images: 25 Years is now offering the two- book boxed set at a discount from the original price. The set comes with an 11″x14” print of the buyer’s choice.