Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Cherie Steinberg & Hedley Jones: Synergy
The creative partnership struck up by Cherie Steinberg and Hedley Jones has proven to be a match that makes for stunning photography and a thriving business
DPP: And with this experience, you were able to build a body of work that earned you a Canadian Council for the Arts award, which in turn allowed you to get out and travel.
Steinberg: I ended up traveling around the world for seven years with a Canon AE-1. I spent two years in India. It was great. I would come home for a week or so at a time. I was born and raised in Canada, which is part of the Commonwealth, so when I was a teen I would see Indians and Jamaicans and all these exotic-looking people and I was fascinated; I had this wanderlust and wanted to know who these people were and where they came from. I was very fortunate to get the grant from the Canadian government for my photography. After seven years, I was like Forrest Gump; one day he was running and he thought, “Okay, I’m going home now.” It was really like that for me. Hedley and I still travel on occasion. In fact, we’ve opened a studio with a partner in Dubai. We’re calling it Cherie of Beverly Hills.
DPP: Hedley, how did you start off?
Jones: I’m from Jamaica, and during my last week of high school, I ended up in the darkroom. I had a similar experience to Cherie’s; the picture came up in the developer, and the next thing I wanted to be was a photographer. I come from an artistic family, so they were very supportive. My father, Hedley Jones, Sr., is a well-known musician. After high school, I went to the RCA Institute in New York to study radio and television production, then ended up working in radio in Canada. I continued to do my photography as well. I was shooting Hasselblads. I ended up specializing in photographing miniature architectural interiors—scale models—for a company called Ultra Scale. I cut my teeth as a commercial photographer doing that. At the same time, I had a sound studio right next door to Cherie’s studio. That’s how we met.
DPP: When did you both make the move to L.A.?
Steinberg: I came six years ago and was shooting weddings, something I had started doing before coming to L.A. Hedley came five years ago to work in the music business. I didn’t really look at him doing photography with me because he has a very impressive bio in music. I always had assistants working with me with a second camera. Soon after Hedley came to L.A., he went with me to a wedding so I handed him a camera. When I saw his photos I thought, “Wow, these are kinda cool!” So it was a natural thing to have happen.
DPP: With wedding photography, there are moments where you really have to be two places at the same time to get the best coverage, so it’s great to have a second photographer you can depend on. For instance, you can’t do an intimate photo of a couple at the altar and then a wide angle from the back of the room at the same time.
Steinberg: Exactly. And we’ve done bigger weddings where we’ve had three, four photographers.
DPP: How do you go about capturing the essence of a person or situation, whether it be in a studio portrait or a moment at a wedding?
Steinberg: I don’t do anybody’s wedding that I don’t connect with. I want to really have a deep connection with them. When I walk in, I’m greeted as if I’m one of the bridesmaids, so we start off with an intimate relationship.
Jones: And when people come over to our studio, we have great music, in surround sound, and wine and cheese. It’s a great atmosphere. We go into the studio and we can create a fantasy. Every time we’re not booked for a commercial job, we’ll create our fantasies. We bring in the makeup artist, the hairdresser, some good-looking models and an idea to create something new. Last time, we had the models body-painted. We’re building our own stock library with these kinds of images. We also have a good library of actors who are starting to be known. For instance, we photographed Beyoncé’s cousin, Shanica Knowles. She plays Amber Addison on Hannah Montana. A year later, Disney approached us to buy the images. That’s what we’re trying to create here.
Jones: We’re very fortunate. I had to do something that included music and photography; Cherie had to do something that combined her love of travel and photography. We’ve managed to put these things altogether—we really are a match made in heaven.
To see more of Cherie Steinberg and Hedley Jones’ photography, visit their website at www.cheriefoto.com.