BTS With Bruno Barbey

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“And when Hernri said to me….”

Time Flies.

Hard to believe that it’s already been two months since I was in Cape Town, South Africa, overseeing a two-week editorial photo shoot.

Also hard to believe it’s been two months since I got the great chance to work with, watch work, and learn from Magnum photographer Bruno Barbey.

I’ll be brutally honest. I wasn’t too familiar with Bruno or his work before I learned I’d be working with him. My ignorance towards great photographers is nothing new. Back in 1999, I had no clue who Joe McNally was before embarking on a two-week shoot with him. Now I consider him a close friend, one who was even at my wedding. But I digress…

The way it happened, BBDO, the agency we were partnering with for this shoot, suggested a short list of four photographers for the job: Bruno, David Allan Harvey, Marcus Bleasdale and McNally.

I know, right?

Hard to go wrong with any of those shooters. As it turned out, Bruno got the nod above the others in this line up. I think we would have been happy with any of these four (though, frankly, I thought Marcus was the odd man out here. I know his work pretty well and just wasn’t sure this type of editorial shoot was up his alley.)

Prior to heading to South Africa, I had the chance to speak with Bruno on the phone after he was awarded the job. He was very open to what our photographic standpoint and style guide is, and had some good ideas about what to shoot once we got there.

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My first meeting with him (and his lovely wife Caroline) was at breakfast on Sunday morning. Yes, sure, he’s a bit older than that photo of him on the Magnum site, but he’s got a great face. And he was the one with the Canon 5D Mark III on the table next to him. Yes, he wasn’t shooting with Leica’s on this trip. In fact, I never saw him pull them out. Instead, he was digital Canon all the way.

I introduced myself (technically, I was “the client”) and sat down for breakfast with him and Caroline. By this time, I had done enough reading up on him that I was slightly awed to be chatting with him. But I quickly found him warm and inviting. And, after he found out about my love of photography, he really opened up, discussing his past work and how to make my work better.

Of course, my role on this job was to serve as, yes, the client, but also art director, making sure we got what we needed. I also like to documented the behind-the-scenes scenes as well. For my own enjoyment, but also for the team back at the ranch. I like to show them what goes into one of our photoshoots.

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“Anticipate. Always anticipate.”

That was the best piece of advice he gave me. We were walking along the street in Camps Bay, heading to our shoot site on the beach. But even on the way there, Bruno was shooting. He couldn’t let a photographic opportunity go by him. Whether slyly shooting from the hip, or engaging an older couple to shoot their portrait, he loves photography. That much was clear.

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And I loved to see it. I’ve traveled and worked with “pros” who only pulled out a camera when it was time to get down to business. We’d be traveling through European cities and they were just sit there. I never understood how they turned it on and off like that. Then again, in looking back, I realize the portraits my company paid the for had no passion in them them. They were staid and boring in retrospect. Photography was their business and they were adept at it. But maybe it wasn’t their passion any more.

With Bruno, the passion to make photos was there. On the job or off, he was shooting. Always shooting.

I don’t remember exactly when Bruno named-dropped Henri Cartier-Bresson to me. Maybe he did it on purpose. Maybe it wasn’t anything. Caroline, Bruno’s wife, is a film maker and interviewed HCB just before he passed away. It was clear to me that Henri was a colleague and peer so maybe it wasn’t anything (one of the BBDO team thought he did it just to impress me.) Whatever. I’m not going to think about that much. I just know that it was great to work with Bruno, have him instruct me at times, and enjoy his passion for photography.

Just before we left, Bruno knocked on my hotel door and gave me a book of his photos. And a nice signature as well. I’m honored to have it.

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I’m also honored to have met and worked with Bruno. I hope we’ll stay in touch. I do owe him an email, especially now that we’ve made our final selects from the shoot. My lasting memory of Bruno, though, will be him shooting.

Always shooting.
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Good advice whether you’re a Magnum photographer or a mug from New Jersey.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2014

Weekend Shot: Summer’s Comin’

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The adventure started Saturday around 6:30 a.m.

It was then that my wife and little girl – along with her parents and my niece – fired up our Honda Odyssey and embarked on road trip to Florida. Time to visit Grandma.

So, for the next week, it’s me and the boys. I’ll work from home and take care of them along with way.

I’ve done this before – watching the boys – a couple of times but usually only for three to four days. It was about a year ago when they were under my charge and things didn’t go so well.

But I don’t foresee any such problems this week. We’ll take it easy, not get into trouble.

Grocery shopping on Saturday, though, I had to get the boys some watermelon. We sat outside under the warm morning sun and enjoyed it.

Summer’s coming, definitely.

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Boys Week + Watermelon + Warm Summer Sun = This Weekend Shot

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2014

JSP Visual Week In Review | 04.12.14

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This week’s review is short and sweet. I’m on borrowed time, in a sense.

See, this morning, my wife and little girl, along with my inlaws and niece, loaded up the Honda Odyssey and pointed it south on I-95. They are headed to visit Great Grandma down in Florida. It’s Spring Break week so Liv and Chase are off.

That mean…it’s me and my boys together for the next seven days. We’d done four a couple of times before – and only had to go for stitches once – so we’ll see how the next seven go.

That said, they are napping now and I have a whole “Honey Do…” list to get after. And it’s going to be a beautiful day here in the Great State of New Jersey, so I want to get going.

Gotta make hay while the sun shines. And the young lads are napping…

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This Week’s Links:

* The E Street Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week. Frankly, I thought they went in in ’99 when Bruce did. Buuuuut…it seems even the best of them can be a little full of themselves sometimes. In inducting his band, Bruce talks about that time. But more so, he talked about how the story he’s been telling for 40 years couldn’t have been done without his band, his friends, his guys. Here’s his speech. (And no, I was not tearing up reading this…it was dust in my eye I tell you!)

* My Matty. I laugh every time I watch this.

* On the strong recommendation of a great videographer, I ordered one of these this week. It came yesterday. Can’t wait to try it out. Killer price point. Will report back.

* I watched Turn last week. Liked it, didn’t love it.

* Interesting Read: The Art of Photojournalism.

* Portraits by Paolo Pellegrin. Wow.

* Nice work by Flemming Bo Jensen: I Want To Be A Cowboy (Part One). (Part Two, with a little help from Charlene.)

* Finally, Mad Men starts it’s wrap-up laps Sunday night. I’ve been a long time fan of this show, though last year I started to dislike it and Don Draper. Thought it lost it’s mojo. Then I read a couple of pieces over on Esquire.com that said that was the point: We’ve come to know Don like we come to know anyone else. They may be cool and snappy dresser, someone we want to have a Scotch with. But then, after we get to know them for a few weeks, months, years, we see them as they really are. And you just want to rid yourself of them. Happens all the time! That opened my eyes. Wow, what character development, what writing Now I can’t wait to watch it again.

* That said.. SPOILER ALERT: Don Draper is The Yellow King.

This week…two boys….Pray for me.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2014

Dispatches: A Taste of Tsukiji

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I read the other day in the Financial Times that the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, is slated to close it’s current location and move on or before 2016.

Wow. I was very bummed to hear that. The 80 year old Tsukiji fish market is such an iconic location in Tokyo. A tourist destination, yes, but a thriving, everyday working market that has 2,000 tons of seafood pass through it’s stalls every day.

I had the opportunity to visit Tsukiji back in 2010 when I was on a business trip/photo shoot in Tokyo. When I first heard about this operation, I knew I wanted to see it live and in person. But you have to get up early as it closes by late morning, early afternoon. It was up to our Tokyo-based fixer, Rico, to get us there. First stop, the Tokyo subway.

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Rico’s help was priceless in navigating the subway and about 30 minutes later, we found ourselves at the market. It was just after 7, and it was bustling.

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We got there too late to see the famed tuna auctions, but we still found plenty to see and experience. Aisle after aisle, stall after stall, sea creature after sea creature. It was a seafood lovers paradise and photographer’s dream.

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I was just amazed at how big the place was, and how much there was to see.

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And while there was a bit of a language barrier, we were still able to have some good conversations with the fishmongers. This gent was was especially friendly.

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The Tsukiji market isn’t JUST fish, though. Also part of it is a thriving marketplace where you can pick up basically anything you can imagine. But the cutlery that you can buy here is some of the finest in the world. I debated long and hard about getting a knife for my kitchen and shipping it back. Never did though.

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After spending a couple of hours wandering around Tsukiji, the real payoff happened. Rico took us to this tiny little place where, at about 9:30 in the morning, we had some of the freshest, tastiest sushi can you image.

Sushi for Breakfast. From left to right: Me, Stephen Doyle, Rico Nose, photographer Victoria Pearson, assistant Jon Nakano

Sushi for Breakfast. From left to right: Me, Stephen Doyle, Rico Nose, photographer Victoria Petersen, assistant Jon Nakano

If you get the chance to see it in it’s current state, I highly recommend the experience. You’ll see things – monsters of the deep – that you may never get the chance to see anyplace else. And meet some great people in the process.

I wish I could get back to the Tsukiji Market before it moves but it’s highly unlikely. Still, I’ll always remember the sights and, yes, the smells, of this iconic place.

For a little more of a taste of Tsukiji, watch this short video I shot.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2014

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