From my recent story shot for The New York Times, I spent behind the scenes time with Ryan and Jen Ozawa, creators of ABC’s Lost podcast “The Transmission.” Although not affiliated in anyway with ABC or Lost, the couple as spent the better part of every season (sans the first one) producing a weekly podcast for a legion of followers who download and comment on the Ozawa’s post show discussions.
Story is here.
I preferred my selects over the newspaper’s selections so I posted my outtakes. Jen and Ryan, two who couldn’t be more visually different, were hard to place. I wasn’t sure how to fit them into a frame and make sense of who they were and the environment. I mean this was a story about two podcasters, not the people standing in front of me.
We met way out in Waialua at Camp Erdman, aka, the Other’s Village. Dusk sank quickly giving a strange glow to all around and the sickly yellow walls of the camp lent to that eerie Lost feeling.
What was hard about snapping the couple together is that they didn’t say “Lost podcast.” Jen has a motherly school teacher vibe while I felt Ryan was going to lecture on derivatives or something very cerebral. I think my problem was Jen showed up in a red dress that seemed out of place and I think she knew it. Ryan showed up in Hawaiian work attire…an aloha shirt. Funny, once we got back to their home, Jen put on a green tee shirt and jeans transformed into a totally different person. That red dress stopped her, and for that matter me.
However, I stopped doubting myself and moved forward working with my awkwardness and placed them in juxtapositions. In the fence shot, I was thinking of Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting.
My awkwardness visually placed them into an interesting place.
I was very happy with the shot. Nothing says American Gothic…yet maybe it does. Sadly, the eds didn’t see it as such but it gives me a moment to write about it for my blog.
The Ozawas pushed me to make a tough story into a really great shot, at least for me. I really appreciated working with them. They were amused…well maybe annoyed with me…using the word “interesting” as I posed them in different situations and poses. It wasn’t so much they were making my job hard, I made it hard for them. I just couldn’t find what it was to make the image work. But it did. I think they were one of the better jobs I’ve shot as it allowed me to think out of the box and do something slightly different than the usual shtick for a portrait job.
Striking to me is how the couple have grown a small home based project into an international sensation all from the den of their home. Two mics, headphones, a bit of software, and the solitude of nighttime help them create a very interesting show.
Sadly, I’ve never heard it. For that matter, I’ve never watch Lost. I don’t know anything about the show other than I’ve photographed Lost red carpets events and cast members over the years.
I shot Daniel Dae Kim and restaurateur DK Kodama at the Counter Hamburger joint for Modern Luxury and
Michael Emerson for the cover of Hi Luxury Magazine. He loved the issue and images and signed a copy which I framed and am very proud of. I should have been watching the show. Thank goodness for reruns.