Thursday, April 7, 2011
Old Hollywood: Michael Hargis by LightWeaver
'The things a man has to have are hope and confidence in himself against odds, and sometimes he needs somebody, his pal or his mother or his wife or God, to give him that confidence. He's got to have some inner standards worth fighting for or there won't be any way to bring him into conflict. And he must be ready to choose death before dishonor without making too much song and dance about it. That's all there is to it.'
This post should actually have come after the post below. I say after, because these studio shots of model Michael Hargis by Jay A. Rickard (LightWeaver) came at the end of a very long day of shooting. For some reason though it fit better to begin with them. When I first profiled Jay's work last fall
(Gage Houser by LightWeaver) I was impressed by how much he gave to his models. His joy came from working with new talent and helping inexperienced models with building their portfolio's and creating dramatic, memorable images.
With Jay's latest collaboration with Michael Hargis it is clear his goal is of making his models look the best they can is still firmly grounded. But...there is a difference in Jay's latest work, , it is subtle, but it is clearly there. A strength, a confidence in his vision. When viewing Jay's shots of Michael I see not only the vision created by photographer and model but also Jay's years of experience, his skill and power as an artist shine loudly through.
As I said, these shots came together at the end of a long day. Jay says he was pretty tired out after the location shoot and admits to feeling rather lackluster and unmotivated. Once a few shots were taken however, Michael's energy took over and became contagious and Jay was fully amped again.
Jay says that Old Hollywood was the inspiration, he and Michael share a love of old movies and the style and look of the time.
'We both are big fans of the old Hollywood style of photography so that’s where we started. Anything Hitchcock, Clark Gable. Bogart. What fascinates me most about that era in addition to the filming of the movies were the publicity stills of the stars that were taken at the time. George Hurrell is one of my top photography heroes. He was brilliant. He took the most amazing stars and turned them into flawless Gods and Goddess in still photos. Unlike today when similar affects can be done digitally George Hurrell had the talent to do it right without the help of a digital production team. Him, his lights, camera and the subject. Actually he did do some touch ups but it was done on the negative! Can you imagine? He was the true master and any time I get a shot that even remotely captures that same vibe, I’m a truly happy photographer'
-Jay A. Rickard-
33 year old Michael says Katharine Hepburn is one of his favorite actress's from the time. 'She worked with all the great male actors. The Philadelphia story is a classic!' It is interesting to note that 1940's The Philadelphia Story was written especially for Hepburn for the stage by writer Philip Barry. With the help of her ex-lover Howard Hughes, Hepburn acquired the film rights and sold them to MGM. The Film , co-starring Cary Grant and James Stewart became one of the biggest hits of 1940. Interestingly though they were not who Hepburn wanted. Although she got to choose the director, George Cukor, she was not able to get the two costars she really wanted, Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable.
'No man has ever made a vest, tie and hat look finer. Not even Clark Gable'
Jay A. Rickard
I think George Hurrell would be honored, but I don't think even he could have used, or Gable could have worn, a jacket and scarf in quite the same incredibly hot way.