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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dirk Franke: The Miami Heat

Dirk Franke stylishly blends beauty, fashion and glamour into a modern exploration of sensuality and classic sex appeal


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dirk franke As for shooting outside of Florida, Franke finds that the process doesn’t really change by location, but rather by job. Sure, if shooting in New York or in Los Angeles, you have access to renting or replacing any equipment that you may need, but harsh lessons are learned quickly when you don’t prepare like a Boy Scout.

“You need to think of electric currents and outlet adapters,” Franke says about work abroad, “of custom declarations—sometimes cash works even better—of local regulations and work permits. Proper packing of all equipment is crucial. While cameras and computers need to be packed safe and shockproof, weight is becoming more and more of an issue these days. Of course, you can put every single piece of equipment into its own Pelican case, but no airline is going to take you with all of that luggage, at least not at a reasonable fare. It’s all about logistics; you have to be very well prepared.”

Adds Franke, “You can find yourself three to four days away from a replacement. Those could be the most expensive three days of your life. Many years ago, a power surge blew up one of our strobe packs on a remote island in the Bahamas. Because of timing issues and Bahamian customs, we had to have someone bring a pack from Miami—personally. Very nice for the courier who brought the pack. Quite expensive for me. That was the last time I traveled without a backup.”
Adds Franke, “My advice to young shooters is always the same: Know your equipment inside out! Only if you’re completely familiar with your camera and your gear can you turn your imagination into photographs. Your camera should be the extension of your mind. Technical issues must never be a problem.
Land Escapism
Ironically, Franke first approached photography as a teenager who worked primarily with landscapes. It was an initial fascination that has since returned as a meditative process for him to escape the turmoil of his hectic life.

“Fine-art landscape work is my little Zen garden, my therapeutic couch,” he laughs. “On an average commercial shoot, there are clients, art directors, creative directors, models, stylists, assistants, deadlines, budgets and tight schedules. People are buzzing around everywhere, the phone rings every two minutes, music comes blasting out of the speakers, everyone drinks way too much coffee, everything needs to be done ‘now-now,’ and hundreds of pictures are being taken every day. When I’ve done this for a couple of days, or even weeks, I sometimes take one camera, one lens and a tripod and drive to a place far away from everything. I set up my camera and wait for that specific cloud to come along and perfectly fill the corner of my frame, just like I had seen it in my mind. Sometimes this takes hours. Then I click—once. It’s like therapy, and it really has nothing to do with my commercial work. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it ‘work’ at all.”

Not that most people would call shooting beautiful people in beautiful locations work either. Of course, most people don’t understand how much effort it takes to make something seem effortless. Franke has worked hard and learned a lot over his many years of photography to become the consummate shooter, intensely familiar with preparation, lighting, postprocessing and gear. He’s capable and experienced, and now boasts a client list that ranges from breweries to drug-store chains and from Bacardi to Lamborghini. For the most part, though, Franke has made a living capturing beauty. His online portfolio, after all, is divided into four simple sections—Fashion, Body, Beach, Beauty. You can’t get much better than that, and to be Franke, you have to admit, must be a pretty good life.

Franke's Equipment
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark I
I Profoto Pro-7b strobes
Mac computers—Intel Mac Pros, MacBook Pros, iMac, Mac Mini
SoftRAID RAID Software for Mac OS X
G-Tech and LaCie hard drives
WiebeTech SilverSATA Series storage system
Pelican cases

To see more of Dirk Franke’s photography, visit www.photobusiness.com.


 

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