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
From Tailpipes To People Types
“Early in my career, I had a tremendous fear of directing people,” Izui says. “I had to overcome this because assignments kept coming my way. In 1982, Playboy asked me to shoot the ‘Pigskin Preview' feature for the first time. I never dreamed of having a chance to shoot this huge spread for Playboy—especially with my fear of shooting people. This shoot traditionally involved a two-page spread of about 24 of the best college football players and a chosen coach. I was motivated to do a good job because the majority of the shoots I had been doing for Playboy were products and cars. This was a chance to prove to them, and to myself, that I could do this.
“I put all of my energy into preparing for this shoot,” he continues. “I chose 8x10 for the format because I was so comfortable shooting products with it and the quality was unmatched. People thought I was nuts, but the gamble paid off. It forced me to pace my directing during the process of loading the film and pulling the slide on the holder. I used this pacing to hone my directing techniques. Today with digital, this training has really paid off because high-resolution digital imaging isn't as fast as one might think. The computer has to write an awful lot of information to the hard drive while you're shooting, so this slow technique of directing helps in letting the computer catch up. I believe that eventually the backs and computers will be able to handle motordrive speed, but I'll probably always direct with the pace I use now.”
Although he initially worried about his success shooting people, Izui got very good at it. His portfolio is filled with portraits, often of athletes or celebrities with their cars. Although there are distinct difficulties that come with shooting people, Izui says that lighting cars is more challenging—but he prefers it that way.
“There's a huge difference in shooting cars and people, mainly in the preparation,” he says. “When I shoot a car, I can start the shoot in almost any mood: I can be tired from lack of sleep or overwork, mad at something or someone, or just plain goofy. During the process of lighting and shooting, I always end up with the same frame of mind. It's an appreciation for the beauty of the design that I'm shooting.
“Cars are all different,” he continues, “so the sculpting of the car has to be lit differently every time. But I find it very relaxing to do because a car can't talk back to you and a car has no time schedule, so I can take my time and really light it well, whereas with a person you have a movable object in front of you that's looking at his watch. And for some reason, celebrities and athletes are the main shoots that I do, so I usually get very little time.”
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