Photography self assignments, a good idea?...


Self assignments are an outstanding idea, because if done correctly it will have us taking pictures during what would normally be a down time (photographically) along with challenging our skills and thus ourselves.

To that end, I found out that there was going to be a Taste of Home cooking show here in southern Maine and I thought this would make a great self assignment.

I had to make a few phone calls and send more than handful of emails to finally get the permission to go and it was well worth the effort.

This was a challenge because I had never photographed an event like this and there are a lot of components to it, lots of things going on, and I would have control of absolutely nothing. Not the light, not the surroundings, not the people, not a thing.

Yup, a perfect self assignment

There were two things I did have to do, stay out of the way while taking photographs that would represent "the day".

Shortly I will share more about the show and Taste of Home, but today I want to share my single favorite shot of the day, it was of chef Michael Barna, this was his day, his show. He was who the people had come to see. Not too much pressure.

Chef Barna had a packed house (almost a thousand people) and his job was to cook, to teach, and to be entertaining all at the same time. Heck, if I was standing in front of a crowd like that I couldn't do even one of those things, never mind all three.

Back to the photograph and why I like it, Chef Barna had about ten assistants and helpers supporting him for the show and he was a blur of activity, getting all the ingredients ready, giving each person their assignments, and making sure everyone understood the big things and the small (like exactly where the potholders should be placed and how dishes were to be washed).

All while greeting visitors who were brought back stage to meet him.

But there was one moment just before the show began, while Chef Barna was standing back stage and everyone was off taking care of those last minute details when I snapped this image. For just a second he was perfectly still and somewhere else, I don't know if he was thinking about the show that was about to start or if he was a million miles away with a margarita in his hand and digging his toes into warm sand on the beach.

I do know it was a moment of quiet contemplation.

(click on any image to view larger)


LPK said...

I like the black and white portrait. It does show the contemplative moment very well. I would be interested in how you processed the image (if in Lightroom as I don't have Photoshop). Great work, Scott!

Chef Michael said...

Hi everyone,
I was the subject that Scott so wonderfully captured at the Taste of Home show. I can tell you after talking with Scott for less then a minute I went right back into my zone and I will say, the photos were some of the best I've ever had taken during a show. Emotion's are super high several hours before showtime but 15 minutes before I go on I do go to a little spot in Mexico called the Riviera Miya were I just did my first International- Taste of Home show. So... Scott, your PSYCHIC my friend. Well Done!
Chef Michael

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