While running my rental studio, Silver Street Studio in Houston, it was exciting to work with photographers and agencies of international renown, like Mary Ellen Mark and Mark Seliger, Art Department and Greenhouse Reps. But it was a special pleasure to work with those photographers and crews that were at bottom simply great human beings.
TONY D’ORIO PHOTOGRAPHY
I think immediately of Tony D’Orio, of Altoids fame. (Note: Tony’s photo used in the ad above was not shot in my studio). How refreshing that, in a profession so rife with jealously guarded tricks of the trade, Tony instead offered a broad openness and generousness of spirit. Over the course of a two-day shoot for McDonalds, he showed me a couple of studio equipment hacks that made my job easier and that would be enjoyed by other photographers in my studio for years to come. For instance, he showed me how to switch out the hand-crank machine clamp of an Elinchrom Octabank–which have infamously weak grip—with the more robust clamp from a Matthews C-stand.
FULTON DAVENPORT, PWL STUDIO
Lucky for me I like photographer Fulton Davenport as much as I do since he was perhaps our biggest repeat client over the years. With his busy creative firm, PWL Studio, Fulton was shooting in our space practically every other week for years. One of his specialties is product photography, which was also a specialty of ours. Take a look at the photo above, of Fulton at work for a high-end antique shop client. The tabletop set is comprised of expendables and hardware we kept in stock and offered at no extra charge. Even more to the point of product photography was our studio’s unsurpassed natural light. Heres Fulton on shooting day light in our space:
“I love the highly technical work, like photographing objects with intense detail, a la Irving Penn shooting for Saks Fifth Avenue. You’d normally need (or have to build) a light tent. But here, you’ve got such huge windows on north and south, the light is perfect. Tents are used just to simulate this.”
JUSTIN CALHOUN PHOTOGRAPHY
One of my favorite people, photographers or not, is Justin Calhoun. Justin brought us a big job one summer, and one could tell how much the crew liked working for him. The makeup department, the photo assistants, even the kraft service people were obviously inspired to work hard for Justin, with smiles all around. What you see here in the two photos above is a Polaroid test shot (the client wanted Justin to shoot film, not digital) and one of the direct mail pieces ultimately produced from the images.
FELIX SANCHEZ PHOTOGRAPHY
Another of our busy-busy clients was Felix Sanchez. Felix was one of the first to shoot in our studio in the early days, and he continued to bring interesting jobs into our space over the next seven years. (He has his own beautiful new studio now.) Before becoming a photographer Felix played in a touring Tejano band, so naturally he’s photographed many musicians throughout his career. Early on with us, Felix was kind enough to help me assimilate the vast expanse that is studio equipment. He’d report on all of his new experiences experimenting with lighting equipment. I based many of my equipment acquisitions on Felix’s information. The job in the photo above was for Walmart, for which Felix transformed our cold, empty space into a warm and cozy living room. Go check out his handsome new website.