Friday, June 15, 2007
Richard Izui - Motor Drive
With a camera and a "tour bus," Richard Izui takes aim at fast subjects in a deliberate manner
Richard Izui is all about the road. Not only is he expert at photographing cars, but he spends at least half the time away from his suburban Chicago studio on assignment for Playboy and his many advertising and commercial clients. Even Izui's preferred method of travel reveals an appreciation for all things automotive.
“I don't like flying,” he explains, “especially with digital equipment, because of hassles with security. We have a small motor home and we travel in it just about everywhere. It makes the transport of equipment a lot easier. On some shoots, we don't have a car stage and I've got to bring the big lightbox and whatever else I might need. I've taken my 10x20-foot Chimera lightbox with me. And traveling [by air] with three people can be difficult and expensive.”
Izui's team of three includes a business manager and digital technician—his wife and son—who travel with him to every shoot. Though highway travel can be demanding on his schedule, Izui says the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
The Mobile Retouch Lab
“We set up the computer in the back of the motor home,” says Izui, “and I retouch as we're traveling. I don't lose much time. In fact, I probably get more done in the van than in the studio. Your whole mindset is set on the job and set on travel, and there's not much interference while you're going from state to state.
“When I'm sitting here in the studio,” Izui continues, “I have all of this studio business that's always bombarding me. So I find that when I'm traveling, my concentration level is better. I've found that when I travel by airplane, it doesn't work quite the same way. One day you're in Chicago and the next day you're in California, and it's hard to switch. When I'm traveling by motor home, I have plenty of time to gear up for the job. So I like it that way.”
The Constant Photographer
Along with the business benefits of being able to work while he's traveling, Izui also enjoys the quality time he gets to spend with his family. His one complaint, though, is that with a deadline always looming, there's never enough time to see the sights. Still, he finds a way to make seeing the country an integral part of the journey by photographing landscapes and locations that he can use in future shots.
“I'm constantly taking my Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II out and shooting elements that could be used in future composites of digital images,” Izui says. “Also, I dabble in LightWave as a tool for supplementing my imagery. I'll shoot things like bricks or interesting textures, sand, concrete, et cetera. I'll use these to create image maps for 3D environments that serve as backdrops for my digitally shot subjects. I did a lot of similar things when I was compositing with elements that I shot on a view camera.”