Not All Heroes Wear Capes

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One of the things I enjoy about my regular 9-to-5 job is the smart people I get to interact with.

One of those folks is Dr. Husseni Manji, a leading mind in the area of neuroscience and mental health.

Earlier this year, Dr. Manji was named a Health Hero by Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, O.

Now, Dr. Manji has better things to do than to get new headshots taken. As you can see if you click that link, the one he usually uses ain’t cutting it. But again, he’s usually resistant to sit down for a new one. And I can’t blame him.

However, when the big bosses say you need a new headshot for the the big business meeting, well, even heroes have to take heed. So, I was asked to shoot a new headshot of Dr. Manji.

The parameters were:

  • Have it be clean and airy
  • Have it be similar to other leader headshots we have
  • Have it be outside to evoke nature

The first two, no problem. Having worked with the photographer (Amy Fletcher) who did many of our leadership headshots, I knew where to get the best shots. Heck, she and I scouted the best spots several years ago!

Even the third shouldn’t be a problem. I’d be shooting on the tree-lined corporate headquarters of Johnson & Johnson.

However, come the day of the shoot…there was a catch: Dr. Manji’s allergies were acting up. I was to shoot him at 11:30 a.m. and he had a big meeting to present to at 1:30. He wanted to be shot indoors to hopefully temper his allergies.

Ok, no problem. Knowing the lobbies of J&J (and having shot in them before), I could coerce an image to appear in an outside environment, thanks to well-placed lobby shrubbery. Well, sort of anyway.

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But I wanted to give the designer some options, so I also did more of a “corporate” setting.

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A little bit more glass and stone, less leaves.  I also shot wider so that the designer could crop if needed (yes, I tried to button his jacket. It didn’t look right.)

And tighter, with a bit more smile, too.

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At this point, I pretty much had shot what the designer needed. I had Dr. Manji for only 15 minutes and time was ticking.

But I kept my eyes open. As his communication person took a call, I chatted with Dr. Manji, saying the last time I shot him two years ago, he was wearing a hockey jersey.

I also remembered (though I doubted he would) that I photographed him for the cover of a magazine seven years ago.

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That small talk gave me an opening, though. Right near where he was standing was a wall. A dark gray wall. A dark gray wall with some beautiful window light.

Like a dark gray seamless. The kind I like.

I asked Dr. Manji for two more minutes, and positioned him by the wall. Put down my Canon 70D and picked up my Fuji X100T. Because I knew before I shot the frames how they would look with that camera.

And I knew I’d like it.

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To me, this is the “hero portrait” I wanted for Dr. Manji. Quiet, dignified, solid. I like it in color with the slight turn, and the straight on, B&W that opens this post.

I sent these to the designer too, knowing they probably won’t use them but again…designers like options.

Here’s the final usage. You can see they went with the less “outdoorsy” one and more of the corporate one.

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They went with what they needed and I fulfilled their needs. But I also got some portraits that I’m very happy with, just be looking around the scene a bit and seeing what else was available.

Get what you are asked to get, do it well, then get just a little bit more.

Sometimes that’s all you can do. Now Dr. Manji has all of my final images. I’m hoping he and his communications team can put them to good use.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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Update: Walking For Water

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Hey all, just a quick update to my post about Walking For Water…

Even though Saturday was mainly a cloudy, cool day, by late afternoon, the sun came out and while still cool, it was a very fun event.

Burgers, hot dogs, all kinds of desserts, fire pits, kids playing (and walking!), the young adults playing some cool tunes…a fun time.

Happy to say, our team, Team Rev (the pastor of Allentown Presbyterian Church recruited us to be on his team, raised $12,000 (and came in first, but it’s a Christian event, so we ain’t gloating or anything).

Overall, the teams raised $50,000 for the village of Malawi.

Not to bad for our little 180 year old church!

If you contributed via my blog post, I’ll be getting the pictures printed this week (hopefully) and get them out to you ASAP!

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Myself, and our team, really appreciates the generosity many of you showed. I know money is tight for a lot of people, and we all continually get hit with Kickstarter-like requests.

To open up your wallets to me, whom many of you have never met, really means something. But it means even more to the people in Malawi.

Thank you!!

 

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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BTS Sunday: Gary Chapman in Xian, China

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You’ll be seeing a lot of Gary S. Chapman around these BTS parts.

Late last year, when we traveled to a number of different countries, I chronicled his working process pretty well. Now maybe some of these will see the light of day.

In late November 2016 found ourselves in Xian, China, for a few days. If you use my search bar, you’ll find a few posts about our adventures in that outpost.

At one point – and I can’t remember if we were just scouting here and he saw something, or actually shooting – we were working out way through a pretty basic office building. Some nice light in some parts of it, but otherwise, blah.

As we were moving from one section to another, Gary spied a look he liked. With roller bag next to him, and me trying to stay out of the way, he snapped some corporate portraits.

He had the light, I had the darkness (not sure why the hallway lights were out). I knew I’d get a nifty silhouette out of this.

My trusty Fuji X100T gave me the look I wanted for a BTS.

And here’s what Gary, shooting Sony, was looking at….

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(c) Gary S. Chapman 2016

In the corporate library, we tagged this one #employees, #partnering, #office #china

We did NOT use the #Uggs tag.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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JSP Visual Week In Review ~ 05.20.17

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We had a bit of a preview of summer this week – three days were in the 90s. And I gotta say…I loved it.

I stood outside with my dogs in the late evening air, a westerly breeze blowing up from the beaches and listened the crickets and bullfrogs that populate the woods across from our house. It was awesome.

Otherwise, it was a celebratory week. Sunday was Mother’s Day, Monday was our 13th wedding anniversary, Tuesday was my parents’ 53rd wedding anniversary, Wednesday was my son Chase’s 7th birthday.

All of this celebrating was tempered abit when I saw the news that Chris Cornell had died (some now say via his own hand) in a hotel room in Detroit. Chris and his band Soundgarden (then AudioSlave) came of age in the early ’90s and his music as well as others (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, others of that grunge ilk) became the soundtrack of my living in Philly at the time, just out of college, scuffling around, working in gyms and working out. I heard songs of that era and I get instantly transported back to such specific times and places.

He was only a few years older than me. Didn’t seem it then, though I never really gave it much thought.

This news, and also, in some ways the crash in Times Square, reminds me that hey, when that ticket gets punched, that’s it. Good night, Irene. For good.

Begs the question, what are we leaving behind? Is it our art? What we give to other people? The impressions we’re making on other people?

Something to consider as we move along.

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This Weeks Links:

Birthdays this week: Richard Avedon, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Walter Iooss Jr, Ezra Stoller, Ottomar Anschutz, Dennis Hopper, Bernie Boston, John Vachon, Michael Grecco, Carl Mydans

What I watched this week: Body Heat  and At Close Range

What I’m reading: The Five Red Herrings

And, a nice piece of flash fiction here by Bill Baber, who, BTW, won my last story starter challenge.

Chris Cornell covers Thunder Road at the Count Bassie Theater in New Jersey

What it’s like to photograph everyone from MLK to Donald Trump

I was wrong about landscape photography

I recently became FB friends with Jon Adams, a photographer from Jenkintown, PA. He’s a photojournalist with a great eye, did some nice noir-ish portraits of a friend of mine. Anyway, he recently posted a PDF of his book “Get A Grip” and has granted me permission to link to it. It’s a nice little book, recommend downloading and reading at your leisure.

“Never take away your subject’s dignity.” ~ Bernie Boston

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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