When Dom rings me and opens with the words “you’re going to kill me” it’s rarely promising. When she follows it with “I may have done something stupid” I begin to fear for my own life. Generally this means that she’s sold the house and bought some magic beans or something, indeed little that offers forth from Dom’s occasionally overused vocal chords takes me by surprise. What concluded this particular tentative opening exchange, however, really was unexpected…
“I may have just volunteered us to model for a photoshoot with like 12 photographers on Tuesday so are you busy and how do we get to Birmingham love you!”
Apparently Dom had answered a Facebook message from fellow photographer (and a brilliant one at that) Steve Gerrard who was looking for “a cool couple” (clearly Dom exaggerated my coolness rather a lot) to be the models for a workshop shoot he was hosting. Having spent all my time behind a camera rather than posing in front of it I confess I was a little alarmed at the idea of 12 or so photographers taking my picture at the same time although it seemed like it could be kind of cool… the next words however threw any doubt from my mind:
“And it turns out the photographer is Fer Juaristi!!!!”
Now for anyone perhaps not as educated in the world of photography as my dear future wife has left me allow me to explain one thing right from the outset. If you have the chance to have your picture taken by Fer Juaristi you FLIPPIN’ WELL TAKE IT!! No hesitation, no consideration of your schedule, just do it, for the man known by most photographers as The Mexican Master (and by himself as the Mexican Monkey!) is without a doubt one of the best (if not THE best) there is. Not, you understand, that that makes it any less nerve-racking!
I think as photographers and videographers we sometimes forget how weird it is having a camera thrust in your face. We’re trained to react in a certain way: to smile, to look at the camera, to look, basically, completely unnatural. When someone then asks you to strike a pose it can feel even more weird… automatically when we’re directed we don’t know how to stand, don’t know what to do with our hands, and don’t know what to give back in our facial expression. As professionals it’s our job to help the couples to feel completely at ease and forget about the camera as much as possible whilst still getting the shot we need, but how can you do that when you don’t truly understand how they’re feeling?
We do now…
As we got ready for the shoot I expected to be terrified. I was genuinely worried I was going to get stage-fright and look petrified in the pictures and be useless to everyone attending the workshop. I also had the added pressure that if I messed Dom’s chance for photos by Fer she would definitely never forgive me! Fortunately for me, from the minute I met the man I knew it would be fine.
Instantly putting us at ease despite the absolute barrage of lenses thrust into our faces it became easy to forget about everyone else. In fact as soon as he told me “You’re going to be doing some James Bond s**t over here ok!” I knew this was going to be a cool shoot! Following his instructions, laughing naturally at his jokes and all the time singing the Bond theme over and over in my head I couldn’t believe how at ease I felt. The many MANY photographers even seemed to like what I was doing!
We started with poses where the two of us were much more separated… something I normally think must be weird for the couples but actually felt much more natural than those where we were standing close together, looking into each others eyes and doing “some couply s**t”. When you stand close to each other, looking into each others eyes for a long time you lose all the chemistry. After all, what you’re actually looking at when you’re that close is a one-eyed cyclops as your eyes can’t focus properly on your partner at such close proximity. Being slightly separated and not necessarily knowing exactly what the other was doing was more exciting, more, dare I say it, sexy. It was weird knowing what it’s like being the one on the other side but I guess helpful in also understanding what the photographers wanted from me. Being on the other side of that camera was truly an experience I will never forget, and it’s something that all photographers and videographers should definitely try.
All in all it was an unbelievable day and hearing Fer’s philosophy on his photography and seeing how he put things together has left me incredibly inspired creatively and desperate to get behind a camera! I’m sure we’ll talk more about our experiences when we see the finished pictures, but in the meantime definitely check out www.ferjuaristi.com for some truly incredible photography. And thanks once again to Steve Gerrard for inviting us down to such a great event, all the photographers who took part and were just brilliant all day and of course to Fer for an unforgettable day and some awesome pictures!
We CANNOT WAIT to see the finished pics!