Often times in the summer I find myself needing a recharge creatively. It's hot outside, business is usually slower, and a cold beverage by the pool seems to be the only thing on my mind. So I have to look for a way to shake things up.
This year, I decided to spend a week in one of my favorite places with two very good friends. So I jumped on a plane and headed for the Big Apple. A week immersed in the energy that is New York was going to be just what the doctor ordered.
Now if you know me at all, you know that I cannot travel without finding a way to include photography on the trip. I had some ideas of what I wanted to shoot this time so I called New York actor Craig Maravich. I had the pleasure of working with Craig a few months ago on the promotional photography for The Arkansas Repertory Theater's production of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman." Thankfully, Craig was just as excited about working with me again as I was with him. So we set it up.
After a few days with my friends, wandering the city with nothing but a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 in my hands, I was becoming very inspired about what I wanted to do with Craig's shoot. I really wanted to showcase his unique ability to create characters on the spot, but to do so while capturing him in his city. I was hoping that using the X-Pro 1 would allow me the freedom to do this without causing the normal ruckus that comes with showing up in public spaces with a large DSLR (a Nikon D800 in my case).
Thursday came and I met Craig at my friend and mentor Peter Hurley's studio in Chelsea. The only wardrobe instructions I had given Craig were to show up with a few changes that would represent how he would spend a day in the city. He arrived dressed very casually cool, a look that I liked. We began with some warmup shooting using with the X-Pro 1 and some nice window light. After a few moments I asked to see what other wardrobe choices Craig had brought. It was then that he revealed a custom made Hugo Boss suit. Instant inspiration.
**At this point in the blog post I'd like to take a moment to say that every man should own a great suit. Something that is cut just for you by someone who knows what they are doing. A suit that will make men drool and women swoon. Preferably gray or navy. It's the equivalent of the perfect little black dress. It's classic. It's timeless. It's impactful. Moving on.**
I noticed immediately that being in that suit made Craig feel great. And he looked great! He was in and out of different characters and personas, riffing as I shot. We shot for a while in studio and then headed out into the city. In the course of a few hours I got to meet the dashing leading man, a serial killer, a womanizer, and others. Probably my favorite character that Craig created on the spot was a gentleman by the name of Spencer.
I learned that Spencer is a second generation window dresser, a craft he learned from his late father. He is currently on extended leave from Bergdorf Goodman so that he may care for his elderly mother and temperamental sister Michelle. Spencer is easily excited and often frightened. He enjoys well shaded parks, rare book stores, lemonade, and small animals...but not their fur. This character is genius. I hope to see him on the big or small screen soon.
**A note about the camera**
Since picking up my Fujifilm X-Pro 1 a few months ago I have been nothing but impressed. This trip and this shoot with Craig only impressed me further. I shot all day with the Fuji 35mm lens and only available light. That included window light in studio, direct sunlight, shaded streets, inside a diner in the East Village, and on a moving NYC subway train. I am by no means a gear head so you won't find a technical laced review of the camera here. Simply put, it just performs and it's fun to shoot. Also, we were able to shoot in all these areas without anyone really paying us much attention. The size and appearance of the camera leads one to believe you are just another goofy tourist taking photos of his friend...in a great suit.
So my mission was a success. I had a blast in the city, my creative batteries are recharged, and I got to witness a true artist practice their craft in a natural environment.
Below are some images from my day in the city with Craig. As stated earlier, all photos were taken using a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 with a 35mm lens. All light was available.
Here is some more information about New York actor Craig Maravich:
For a little less than a decade, Craig Maravich has worked primarily on regional stages in Washington DC and New England. Some of his credits include work with: The Kennedy Center, Long Wharf Theater, The Shakespeare Theater, Arkansas Repertory Theater, Ford's Theater, Vermont Stage Company, MAW, and more. As a teacher, Craig has taught classes and workshops and served as a guest artist with Yale University, Middlebury College, Hofstra, St. Michael's College, Flynn Center for the Arts, and privately. Craig holds an MFA in Classical Acting from the Academy for Classical Acting at the Shakespeare Theater/GWU and is a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association for over 8 years. Craig is based in New York but tries to spend as much of his downtime as possible in Vermont with his wife where they have a home on a ridge overlooking the Adirondack and Hogsback Mountains.