Stalking The Shadow Man

Very excited to have a guest blogger today here at JerseyStyle Photography. You may have seen him already, in Joe McNally’s new book The Hot Shoe Diaries…none other than the Man With The Mohaska…Shadow Man! I tracked him down and asked him to tell us how it all came to be that he’d appear in Joe’s book.


Here, in his own words, is what he had to say.
First off, the mug was tellin’ the truth.

The guy was actually tellin’ the truth.

So, it was last June. Around 9 p.m. Still hot out in the city. I was sweatin’ in my suit.

I just had dinner in midtown. Small joint, solid food. Broiled lamb chops. Baked potatoe. Martini or two. Dry. Really dry. Almost dusty. Extra olives. Always liked the olives.

I headed out, lit a cigarette once I hit the street and caught a cab. Had to meet one of the boys down in the Meat Packing District. Sal. Sally. Big Sal as we call him. He had info about Parker.

Yeah, always keepin’ tabs on Parker.

[Editor’s Note: We can’t say who ‘shadow man’ is because well, let’s just say that if you think the finance industry has their troubles, if Parker finds Shadow Man, then there will really be trouble. Parker is a mean mutha’…you don’t want to cross him. And Shadow Man already did.]

Got out of the cab around Little West 12th. Lit another cigarette, sniffed the air. Damn it was a nice night. A night that holds promise.

Or maybe dispair.

Then, all of a sudden like, this malok with a big-assed camera steps to me. I reach for my mohaska.

“Hey buddy, easy there,” he says. “My name is Joe. I’m a photographer. Can I take your portrait? I’m working on a book project.”

Yeah, right, I think. A photographer with a book project. Probably someone The Company sent to get a read on me.

But what the hell. Sally ain’t around yet, and I got time to kill. How much trouble can this guy with a camera give me? I mean, lookit him….

He’s fiddlin’ with this and with that, having this other guy…Brad, I think his name was…pop these little strobes – yeah, I was listenin’ – this way and that. Nice guy that Brad. Like a big puppy.

“So…I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name,” this guy Joe says.

I never gave you my name.

“Yes, um, right, well,” he said. “You remind me of Bogart in that one movie. Or maybe Jimmy Cagney. So, can you kinda just kinda stand there pull your, um, your weapon out of your waistband and smoke another Lucky? I think I’m almost done.”

Yeah, I get that a lot. I have a face made for movies I guess. What the hell, I thought. Humor him. No coppers around. He probably likes the size of my piece. Heheh.

So I blaze up another stick, start to pull the pistol from my waistband and give him my best sneer.

I look over.

The guy is actually laying in the gutter….a New York City gutter!!…taking this picture.

Whatever. It takes all kinds.

He finishes, gives me his card, says again that he’s publishing a book – yeah right – and that he’ll send me one when it’s done.

Whatever. Sally was on his way up the walk and he and I had to talk. I didn’t have time for this anymore. I had real business now.

And then yesterday, this package comes. I thought it was the money.

Instead, it’s this book, The Hot Shoe Diaries, by the guy who gave me his card, Joe McNally.

I decided to look through it tonight, while my favorite film was on. Yeah, that one with Bogart. And yes, another martini at my side.

And whaddayaknow…there I am…page 200…Shadow Man.

Well….I’ll be damned…..Fugettaboutttitt….
So, there you have it. From the man himself….

Heheh. I’ve been seeing people doing selfies with Joe’s book popping up on Flickr and other blogs now for a couple of days. I dropped into my local B&N and picked up the other night, then thought about how I would incorporate it into a shot. So, I dusted off the fedora and when to work last night (the things I do after my wife and little girl go to bed…)

Set up the camera over my right shoulder with my 430EX attached. I had the head twisted back to pop behind the camera. Did some test shots, unscrewed an overhead light that was giving me too much in front, changed the ISO and EV a few times. Ended up with the 430 at -2, ISO 400 at f/4.0. I also had a small LED light to the right of the martini glass to make that pop alittle bit. I love those things!

I liked what I had in color then set to work on the post-process. I made a duplicate layer, converted that to B&W and then “erased” the book pages to bring the color back through. Touched it up a little more, used the curves function to brighten it a little and that was that.

Shadow Man, larger.

In all, from start to finish, I took about 56 shots to get the one I wanted. Quite a few were test/lighting shots, some were unusable because the movie went into sleep mode and off the screen, or one of my dogs was in the frame, or I moved around the martini glass. And, unfortunatley, the “mohaska” didn’t make it into the frame.

Finally….Joe’s book appears really good…at least from what I read so far. But there’s one thing that will really put it over the top. And that, my friends, is that it has JerseyStye in it. No, not me of course. Two other really special Jersey Guys…. Tom, he of The Photo Father and The Warrior’s Eye blogs and his young buck son, Jared. Ironically, when I met Joe in the city do work out our noir shots that he included in the book, he had just come from Freehold, NJ, where he had spent the day building a studio in Tom’s backyard, wrangling mid-day sun (and heat) and doing a portrait session with Tom and Jared. Joe, and Brad, spent most of our pre-shoot dinner telling me about this wonderful guy and his cool kid. I was really happy to see the chapter in THD devoted to that shoot. Tom’s a sharp-shooter who is actually back in school learning the finer nuances of film. Man, I wish I had that fortitude. We’ve developed an on-line friendship and I hope to head down I-195 soon so that we can meet up and shoot. He just needs to take me to Federici’s for a slice and a beer when we’re done….

© Mark V. Krajnak 2009 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved Unless otherwise noted, images captured with a Canon 20D, SanDisk digital film, finished with PS2 and Nik Software.


3 thoughts on “Stalking The Shadow Man

  1. This sort of work really interested me when I read Joe’s first book and especially when you describe it. I know that when I start adjusting exposure, I never think of adjusting EV, I just adjust the speed or f-stop manually. I just think that way from the old days. I assume that you’re in AV or TV (TV I would think since you’re firing a flash) and you’re letting the Ev adjustment move the f-stop?

    The other thing for me is Photoshop. I know how you did what you describe, but I don’t yet really think of doing that so much. This is a great shot.

  2. Going to have to get the book now the famous “Shadow Man” is in it LOL what a guy, would not like to get on his bad side.

    Great write up mark and well done on the image, class work as par.. Heard the book is all based around Nikon but might just have to get a copy now McNally has shot the man that invented Jersey Noir, well done for making the book.

  3. Pingback: Friday Noir: Tough Guys And Poor Boys | JerseyStyle Photography

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