Article by Martin Jordan - www.jordanphotographic.co.uk
Ever had a better job than oiling up a beautiful young model, then helping her slide naked into a skin-tight latex dress. No? Thought not. Photographer Damian Mcgillicuddy
came close though, he got paid to photograph a model, while charging people to watch him. Photographic gold: get people to pay to watch you work!
The man who came up with this cunning plan, 'Big Dog' to his mum and friends, had billed the gig as 'Big Dog on the Job'.
Being 'On the Job' meant that Damian was doing a paid shoot for a Latex clothing and accessory company. People, up to a maximum of 15, were given the chance to watch and learn from Damian as he shot photos on a 'real life' shoot. You could choose between three 90 minute slots. The idea was for people to learn from watching a photographer in action on a professional commission. There was also a chance to play with a selection of Olympus Pens.
All this was happening in a Lobby of the Novotel in Hammersmith, under the auspices of the SWPP Convention 2012.
Damian introduced himself and his client Juliana London of Ooh La Latex
. He explained dramatically with gravitas, in the style of a reality show, cue heart beat music… This is a real shoot, for a real client, in real time, anything could happen, anything could go wrong, if he didn’t perform his gonads would be on the line. This wasn’t messing about; this was the pressure and stress of a real shoot: an opportunity to see life at the coal face (if the coal face involved latex and baby oil).
The Big Dog is a larger than life character. After saying he felt under pressure to perform and didn’t want to lose his client. He dissipated this tension somewhat by making fun of his client, then his sponsors, their reps (who were present), the model, his audience and himself. This was part photography, part stand-up.
To a soft southerner Damian sounds like a scouser, but he assured me he was born miles away in Widnes. You can call him big dog, but never a scouser.
Damian has a good line in self deprecation and once the audience had got over the shock of his bluntness and honesty, I could tell they were really warming to him, having a good time.
I say audience purposely, these were not participants, they were watchers. Although Damian had encouraged them to ask questions, and slagged them off when they didn’t, they still weren’t forth coming. It was probably because they felt it was rude to interrupt a man while he was working. The problem was I think, that apart from one women they were nearly all men over fifty. That might explain the silence… it’s hard to talk when your tongue’s hanging out…dribbling.
Fran, the model, did look amazing… she had a waist which made me worry where she had hidden her vital organs and a derriere that made Pippa Middleton’s look shabby. Even more amazing I found out afterwards, the original model had cried off sick 30 minutes before show time, so goodbye Fran the stylist, hello Fran the model. She did a great job. You have to have a great figure to pull off the latex look... there’s no where to hide.
After the intro, Damian kicked off the photography, and I mean kicked, by tipping a light straight onto the model. Ah, good to see professionals do that as well. I was tempted to give Fran one of my "Accident? No win, No fee!" cards but thought it might be inappropriate. He made light of it (excuse the pun) in typically good humour by blaming his assistant.
Damian explained the lighting set-up and what he wanted to achieve with it. Over the course of the shoot, he fine tuned, and tweaked it. As the shoot progressed, you could see his style of working and direction.
The hushed audience of old gits (I can say that, as I am one) seemed to be loving it though. Yep, fourteen out of fifteen tongues still hanging out. The next group that traipsed in looked younger and had quite a few women. I couldn’t stay, so I can only wonder if that changed the dynamics of the presentation.
Meanwhile Damian was in his element. This is a man comfortable in front of a crowd and confident in what he does. This means he’s relaxed and therefore so were his followers, many of whom were repeat customers. It’s hard not to like the cheeky banter.
The presentation was highly entertaining and very interesting, it's just a shame the old boys watching didn’t ask any questions. The Big Dog was there in the flesh, to answer any queries thrown at him. This was their chance to ask a photographer who has won more accolades than David Beckham, all about his gorgeous lighting techniques. Did they maximise the opportunity? No.
I also couldn’t help feeling that shooting could have shot tethered to a large screen, so we could see the results as they happened. That way we could have seen cause and effect and been inspired by the quality of the work. As it was, only people at the front got an occasional glimpse of the back of the camera, as Damian waved it pass like a close-up magician. Most of us had no idea what the results were like.
At the end of the shoot a handful of people got to take a few shots, with their own cameras or a Pen.
One thing that struck me is that photographers form a broad church. Each photographer brings his own personality and sense of creativity to bear. All the good ones will get the work done, but their approach may be very different. It was interesting to compare and contrast my own style and other photographers I have watched, with Damian’s. This was a good opportunity to sit in on a shoot.
If you’re interested in photography and young beautiful women wearing outrageous outfits, this was a very enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half. How much you learn in such a short space of time depends on your level of experience and how prepared you are to stick your hand up and ask questions. But if you’ve had fun and been inspired, for £40 you can’t go far wrong.
For more information about Damian Mcgillicuddy workshops, visit his website: Damian Mcgillicuddy
Article by Martin Jordan - www.jordanphotographic.co.uk