Digging through old boxes finds all sorts of treasures from the past. I found an old polaroid taken by a photographer I worked with on occasion, Gilles Bensimon. We were photographing the model/actress Milla Jovovich (5th Element, fashion mags, etc…) for the cover of Elle Magazine. After a long day of setting up lights, pulling 8×10 polaroids, and roll after roll of 120mm film, we got to the end of the day where the photog photographed the crew.
I am standing next to Milla (holding a dog) and I was so much skinner and younger, and in many ways, naive. I don’t mean that in a good way or bad way but just attesting to a state. I was really to stay and live that life but life didn’t have it that way. We ended up in Honolulu. Is it better, well…no…if I had made that life in NYC work…but things are better in their own ways. A new condo and balcony make life so much easier.
Life in New York was a different place for me and a different time. But enough of that. I remember setting up six Profoto 2400ws packs just for the background. Sean was the other assistant and Jeff was the boss. I never fit in but I wasn’t sure if it was just me or the crew. Sean and I stayed friends for years on and we found each other on Facebook recently. Jeff, from what I figured out, is doing his fashion thing in New York. He had that life down. I just couldn’t, as much as I wanted, manage that…just couldn’t be fakey. Maybe they saw threw me. I wasn’t one of them.
I always attributed the high end photography life to being one of the cool kids in high school. No matter how hard you tried, you just didn’t have that je ne sais quoi that it takes. Don’t get me wrong, I was a pretty cool kid. Maybe not the coolest but cool enough. The parties revolved around Paul, Diane, and me…in one way or another…or maybe it was because we knew Diane’s sisters were gonna take care of us. Who knew…you might if you knew me back then.
Either way, I was priming myself for the life of studios, models, big lights, and a life of eternal black/dark clothing. It was hard to shake the black shirts for rubba slippas, but it happened.
Jeff is the guy holding his thumbs up. Life was up at the time. Not as much as I would have liked as I always felt I was just on the edge of making it in the assistant world. No long stints with Annie, Michael, Steven, or Gilies. Just day players with the biggies and dailies with Nathaniels and Stephanies. Life was good at the time but I always wanted more. But now looking back, it was enough. Nathaniel emailed me to congratulate me on the NYT story last week. He’s told me in the past I’m the only past assistant that made something of myself…and to think I made it in Hawaii.
I can’t complain too much but a man can dream…
And to think, I am wearing an old vintage Duran Duran tshirt…maybe thats why I wasn’t cool. Or maybe too cool for the fashion crowd.