Tuesday, December 20, 2016

L'hôtel

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate shooting in hotel rooms?

I believe I have.

Hate.

Primarily because I have yet to set foot in a hotel room that didn't look like a cookie cutter hotel room.  I've been, and shot, in everything from rooms that look like storage rooms converted into hotel rooms, to honeymoon suites.  The latter, though it did have a pretty fancy whirlpool bathtub, looked like a fucking hotel room.  Some are obviously better than others, but they're all the same.  I have seen photos and have heard stories about amazing rooms, but they continue to elude me.  One model actually went on and on about how amazing the room was that she was staying in, but not only could she not get a photographer to shoot her there, but one of her gigs was actually across town in a shitty hotel room.  She was pretty pissed.  That was in Arizona, I believe.  Imagine that.
I did go into this shoot a bit apprehensive, but I wasn't worried.  The room was tiny and dark, and the hotel room shots were supposed to take place after we lost sun by the pool.  My hands were kind of tied.  The other photographer, who was brought on to shoot the video portion, jumped right into the room shoot, using a flash.  I hate using a flash.  On top of my hatred for using a flash, the nice flash that I do own (and only use as a fill on sunny days) was basically having uncontrollable seizures while I was shooting.  I was reduced to natural light.
We did end up getting another lamp in the room, but when you've got your aperture opened all the way up, you're shooting at 1/60th of a second, and you are pushing the iso boundaries before it gets too noisy to use, it takes a shit ton of precision to get a photo that is in usable focus, while pushing the underexposure to a usable adjustment with a raw photo.  Does any of that make sense?  I went into this a uncomfortable about even being responsible for taking these photos.  I was supposed to be shooting BTS (documenting what's happening is what I'm good at) and additional video for that portion, with the room available for other work, but that turned into me doing the stills bit in a hotel room with my creative hands tied.  Lucky the other photographer jumped in and shot some stuff.  Hopefully he did a better job than I did.  I can't help but feel like I failed at this one.  This was basically a favor for a girl that my girl has known for years, but just the way I treat photos and see the world kind of set me up to fail.  I don't mind doing stuff like this; we met some great people and hopefully made some connections with people who might be interested more in fine art than fashion; but I really felt out of my element.
On top of all that, my computer decided to slug down when I went to dump photos that night, so I had to choose between letting LR run and go to sleep, or charge my batteries.  When I woke up in the morning, LR was still frozen in the same place and the batteries were that much more drained, so day two was pushing it, hoping my card didn't fill up or my batteries die.  When I did get home I figured out that it was likely a CF card glitch (more cut rate equipment problems), but my LR wouldn't run.  I figured it was because I was disconnected from the adobe cloud and hadn't updated, so I went to do that, only to find that my shotty internet connection that we're paying $50 a month for will forever be shit.
The update took a couple days.  I ended up dumping the photos to the Bridge on my old machine, which took forever but worked fine, then transferring photos over to my shitty editing machine, 8gb at a time, because that's the biggest free flash I've got available.  That took a couple days.  I lost video.  I'm frustrated.  I go through the photos to find a bunch of blurry crap.  I feel like a failure.  I keep going.  I got everything dumped and transferred in time to charge and clear everything for a little Christmas party at the brewery I've been working at, and I am terrified to even look at those photos.
Meanwhile, can you see the difference between what I get out of my fine art girl, as opposed to the fashion model?  I have such a hard time explaining the difference to people, but it's clear when you see it, aside from the obvious fear of your own body, which is basically what you're selling.  I realize that you are actually selling social armor, for the most part, but your body is the base of the soup: if your base is fear, your soup is shit, regardless of what frilly whatever you fill it with to make it taste good.

That was a really random analogy.

At the end of the day...these days...I have no complaints, aside from maybe people still not understanding what I'm doing or what I'm about.  Maybe I just need to get better at doing what other people want?  That would make me a photographer, though, or a writer, or an actor... all titles of jobs which I do not do.  I just keep doing what I love and hope that someone out there appreciates it.  For something like this, where marketing is involved, and specific branding, what are we selling?  At a glance, it looks like were selling Elle magazine, and really enjoying it.  This is obviously a very brief overview of the two day shoot in San Diego.  We got some good stuff and met some good people, and I finally got to meet the girl that my girl has known for years, but have yet to meet because we are social recluses and have two children and I work a lot and we live in the mountains.

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