Shooting fish in a barrel

To me as a photographer who likes to direct a photograph it is almost awkward to photograph a highly professional model like Alicia. It feels like shooting fish in barrel. Every pose she strikes is perfect. There is nothing to do for me but pushing my camera button and worrying if the flashes can keep up with the pace.

The results were perfect of course, but still it felt like a downer for a moment or two.

Of course the flashes kept up with the pace. This was a studio in Moscow, The Sunlight Studios to be precise, with the best Profoto equipment a photographer could wish for and lots of space to work in. My own flashes would have missed every third shot, but not these highly expensive German Profoto flashes. You have got to hand it to the Russians that they won’t economize on German photo equipment or cars, despite the loss of over 30 million people in WWII.

That is one of the oddest things I learned about Russians. They can be highly sentimental people, but they are also quite forgiving by nature it seems. And sentimentality and forgiveness rarely come in pairs. That is a good thing, since half of the world is blaming Russia for just about everything but nine day rain. If the Russians had the same mentality as the Americans I guess we would already be in World War Three.

A sad week

The Russians Are Coming!

I love Russia, or better I love the Russians. I have very little to state about the Russian government. To me it is a government like any other, maybe corrupt, but certainly not as corrupt as many other countries with the USA topping the list of dubious regimes.

It was a sad week. The cover model Evgenia for the new series I am working at called ‘The Russians Are Coming’ – which is basically a satirical approach to the many news items of the last few months blaming the Russians for just about everything – died of a heart attack on her 25th birthday, most probably caused by bad drugs, an overdose or even suicide.

It broke my heart. I was working hard at Moscow’s Sunlight Studios, so the models were lined up behind me. When it was her turn to be photographed I looked over my shoulder and I immediately felt that something was wrong. At first I thought it was her age, because she seemed so young and fragile to me, so I asked for her passport. She was 24. It is not uncommon for models to be skinny and fragile, but that eery feeling stayed with me during the entire shoot. She turned out to be the best model I worked with for a long time. The result of the shoot was a series of great photographs. I picked one for the folder to be printed for the Kriebels exhibit at Ahoy Rotterdam.

When I returned from Rotterdam I was told she had died on her 25th birthday. Since then I have not been myself. In a blind rage over some demanding models and a highly talented filmer with a total lack of social skills I deactivated my Facebook account and moved to VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, a social network without advertising and a very tolerant attitude towards nudity in photographs.

It is that time of the year when we burn a lot of candles and we will be burning them for Evgenia. She will be sorely missed.