Just received copies of my latest promo, a 28pg folio featuring images of visitors at the National Gallery of Art viewing masterworks by Rothko, Picasso, Titian, Turner, Pollock and many others. Landing soon of the desks of great creatives everywhere!
The choice ofÂ background can make or break a photograph. And when I’ve had multiple assignments in the same office building the search for something new becomes ever more important. I love shooting portraits on location, but lookingÂ for the right setting â€” akin to rummaging around in a mine hoping to strike gold â€” is paramount.
A recent assignment for Barron’s unveiled this spot on the 14th floor of T. Rowe Price’s headquarters in Baltimore. This cool perch, complete with the bright blue chair, pops out like a glass bubble offeringÂ a terrific view of the skyline without overwhelming the subject. Thanks to Adrian DeLucca and Amber Sexton at Barron’s and to Jeff Rottinghaus for bringing his great grin and easy manner.
I am now represented by Gallery Stock, one of the world’s leading stock photography companies. Part of Great Bowery, a new organization that brings together the leading agencies in the fashion and image-making industry, Gallery Stock offers top-notch images from some of the best photographers working today.
You can find my work atÂ http://www.gallerystock.com/Max_Hirshfeld
Approximately one year ago I learned I had been short-listed to shoot the official portrait of Larry Small, the eleventh Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Nine of the ten prior commissions were oil paintings with the tenth (of I. Michael Heyman, Secretary from 1994-1999) completed by Arnold Newman, the legendary portrait photographer.
I’ve often imagined the gentle give and take between subject and artist when a painting is commissioned; several sittings are often required where small talk and a certain formality are common, and it is not unusual for the final work to be months in the making. But in the overwhelming majority of the portraits I have photographed I am lucky to have twenty minutes with someone I have never met. Homework and knowledge of craft can invariably help in those situations but in this instance (over the course of two generous meetings with Secretary Small) we were able to develop a solidÂ rapport and a real comfort level with each other. Soon after I was awarded the commission and we were off.
Working with the remarkable Leica ‘S’ camera system andÂ a beautiful backdrop from Oliphant Studios in NYC, my crew and I spentÂ a lovely afternoon just before ThanksgivingÂ last year with Secretary Small. The final select, shown here, now resides inÂ the permanent collection of theÂ National Portrait Gallery where, coincidentally, I had my first job in photography.
I am honored and humbled by this commission.
Ilona Siller, an art producer at BBDO, has started a great Instagram feedÂ http://www.instagram.com/photograph_with_the_story‘>http://www.instagram.com/photograph_with_the_story
and I am honored to be featured. Thanks Ilona!
Niki Boon’s images areÂ a revelation to me, a signpost to an outlierÂ world where innocence and simple pleasures fill children’s lives. Her children are the children of W. Eugene Smith and Sally Mann, of Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man. They are our children of course as well asÂ the us we think we used to be. Documenting this little slice of wonderment and discovery is a gift Niki offers, one that defies the march of technology that has subsumed us but ironicallyÂ allows us to share it only because said technology exists.
In her own words:
“We live a simple life in rural New Zealand, on a 10 acre property surrounded by rivers, coastline, bush and hills.
My children are unschooled and live without TV or modern electronic devices, a lifestyle that may seem unconventional to some but I am here to celebrate the magical place I choose to live with my family.
I document their days, together, in an environment full of nature and uninhibited play. I photograph as Â physical record of their childhood, life as it isâ€¦ the real â€¦but also as a reflection of a childhood rooted deep in my own past â€¦a most sincere place of freedom.. a childhood I now pass on to my own children. Although deeply personal I believe that others will also connect to some aspect of their own childhoodâ€¦
I believe my children are right where they belong covered in mud , running and living through nature.
They belong here wild and free and earth connected in a way where the landscape begins and their little souls end.”
Photography allows me to insert myself into someone else’s world for a short, intense period of time. Whether a traditional office environment, a factory full of dust and noise or the intimate confines of someone’s house, I love relying on my visual instincts to zero in on some of the essential elements that make a strong image.
Recently my crew and I spent one day in one location producing dozens of images as part of a rebrand for Faneuil, a rising star in the customer service sector of big business. On first glance, an office with no art on the walls might appear too stark but when translated into a unique palette for photography we were able to move through the space quickly and efficiently and concentrate on the people and their dedicated focus.
Some photos work hard to tap into nostalgia; others seem to offer it up easily. And some lingerÂ when the haphazard happenstance builds a certain kind of symmetry.
My memories of the county fair when I was 14 or 15 were brought to the surface when I came across this ‘selfie’ from a day spent shooting at an area fairÂ last summer. Girlfriends and girl friends, kissing but not touching plus a slew of crazy patterns combined into an askew reality only heightened by the cheap mylar siding.
Not sure if the golden ‘rule of thirds’ applies here but this one is still stuck in my head.