Its always fun to photograph Josh! If you haven’t read his book yet, you should! Check it out here. We did the top picture in Joshua’s apartment, at his desk where he writes. The bottom image was made in my place in Brooklyn.
Making things in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York
Back when I taught college photography classes, I would force my students to do some practical flash duration comparisons. Why? Because flash duration is a very important thing to consider when choosing the right lights to make images. If the assignment requires moving fashion models, jumping athletes, or any other action, then the best choice for capturing sharp images are units that have short flash duration. Simply put, flash duration is the amount of time that the flash is on, typically between 1/200th and 1/3,000th of a second, but these vary widely with the amount of power output and type of flash unit. So please compare the flash durations at full power when shopping for or renting strobes. Shorter flash duration is the best choice for freezing motion.
The image below was lit with some old Elinchroms, one 250R (flash duration at 250 watt seconds = 1/6200th) and one 500r (flash duration at 500 ws = 1/4000th). Its nice and sharp! Here is another action shot I shared in a prior post: Pizza Guy.
Two weeks ago, over a few wonderfully poured Guinness in the preferred TriBeCa watering hole, Joshua Cody and I got to talking, and after a comfortable Midwest bred exchange that ranged from girls to tennis to Gerhard Richter, we had a friendship. A few days later I made some portraits of Joshua at my home away from home in SoHo (thanks Mark and Bonnie). The only idea I had going into the session was to project a movie on his face. Everything else was spontaneous, and therefore probably worked better. Joshua is a gifted writer and director, and in fact he just signed with William Morris Endeavor, the best literary agency in the world.
We shot for about an hour:
With a certain curiosity and reverence, I started scanning my grandfather’s negatives awhile back and I’m delighted to share a few of them now. I’d always known that my father’s family struggled quite a bit while living on the South side of Chicago in the 1920’s and 30’s, but through a long overdue conversation with my father, I learned that my grandfather, Lawrence Hensil Godman, always managed to keep a job, even through the depression years. He worked in the parts department of Ford Motor Company at 12600 S Torrence Avenue in Chicago (which surprisingly is still a Ford assembly plant) and then during the war, built aircraft engines for the B-29 in the Dodge plant at 7401 S Cicero Ave, which was the largest free span factory in the United States, and was later used by Preston Tucker to build his infamous Tucker ’48.
My grandfather started making pictures for the same reason most people do, to document family, friends, and daily life, and thankfully the activity was passed on to my father and then me. When I look at these images I feel a strong sense of wonder and kinship for someone I never knew. A kinship not just as family, but also knowing that nearly a century ago my grandfather was making photographs as I do now: observing, chasing light, arranging people, hurried before an opportunity escapes, fiddling with the camera, and maybe even forgetting the lens cap was on for a few exposures. And at times, surely with a windswept brow and dangerously cold hands in a brutal Chicago winter. I hope you enjoy my grandfather’s pictures.