I sat in a darkened ballroom last night and listened and watched as Jay Maisel took us on a tour of light, gesture, and color during his session at Photoshop World. Jay has been creating unforgettable images for decades. He is a member of the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, was the American Society of Media Photographers' Photographer of the Year, and has been honored with the International Center of Photography's Infinity Award. (Photos by Jay Maisel)
During the session, Jay showed us visual examples of how he captures light, color, and gesture to create powerful images. As we were looking at the pictures, he would add tidbits of wisdom, and I've included some of my favorite thoughts here.
On preparing for a shoot... "Try to go out empty and let your images fill you up."
When composing a picture... "Be aware of every square millimeter of your frame."
"If you can capture the element of surprise, you're way ahead of the game."
"I don't see light as something that falls, but as a positive force."
"As people, we love pattern. But interrupted pattern is more interesting."
"Never put lettering in your photos unless you want it read."
On air quality as it impacts composition... "I'm a New Yorker. I don't believe in air unless I can see it."
When finding the right angle for a shot... "Move your ass."
If you ever have the opportunity to attend a workshop by Jay Maisel or study his work, I highly recommend it. He shared a terrific closing anecdote with me after his talk last night. I thought I'd close with it here.
"A friend of mine brought a cardboard box to one of my presentations. I asked him, why the box? He said there will be two groups of people in the audience today. Half will leave before the presentation is over because they will have to go outside and take pictures. The other half will want to leave their cameras in this box."