Doing A Slow Burn With Author Terrence McCauley
Quinn watched his prey from the shadow of a doorway. ~ Prohibition, by Terrence McCauley
Often, on Friday’s, I present a photo and story that simmers deep in my mind. Usually a mug, pulling on a Lucky, wondering how his life got himself into where he is. I call it Jersey Noir.
But today, I’d like to present a mug that fuels my inspiration for those images I make. On a warm summer’s evening in New York City a few weeks ago, the heat was rising from the pavement in shimmers. Men pulled their ties lower, women fanned themselves in shaded doorways.
As I hiked up 42nd Street rucking my gear, it was so warm, even the Midtown NYC cockroaches were sweating.
But looking cool as the other side of the pillow in a short-sleeve shirt, khaki slacks and a summer weight fedora, there stood author Terrence McCauley a thick, dark Nat Sherman Special between his fingers.
Unlit. For now.
After weeks of back and forth, Terrence and I were finally able to meet up for a photo shoot. I’d read and admired Terrence’s writing for awhile now. Books to his credit include Prohibition, Slow Burn, Fight Card: Against The Ropes.
Terrence writes his stories in a classic (meaning good) fashion: Well-researched, time-specific novels with action that moves the story along, and tight character descriptions and dialogue. He sets many of his stories in the 20’s and 30’s and are always historically accurate. He was given the 2013 Stalker Award for “Most Criminally Underrated Author.” All this with holding down a full-time job too.
Thankfully, he’s been interested in my noir photography as well. Recently signed to Polis Books, the timing to meet up was finally working out. Terrence wanted new author shots and I would be only to help out in that respect.
Something told me this dead girl could serve as my penance for all the dirt I’d done. Well, maybe not all of it, but some if anyway. Guys like me couldn’t get greedy. We had to take what we could get. ~ Slow Burn
Once our schedules synced up, we decided to do the shoot at Nat Shermans. It’s Terrence’s home-away-from-home and he felt comfortable there. As an avid cigar smoker, he usually visits the store every day, after his day job is done. Yes – he’s grinding it out like the rest of us and still finding times to craft short stories, novellas and novels. Dedication to the craft.
Nat Sherman’s is also really cool inside, and thanks to Terrence and his connections, I had the run of the joint.
Even though I had been working in the city earlier in the day, and I had gotten to Nat’s when I expected, Terrence beat me to the spot. He was cool, though, and let me do the scouting that I wanted to do while he waited in the Johnson Club Room downstairs.
And I’m glad I did. The store was awesome and I saw a lot of situations I liked. But I wanted to take advantage of the nice soft evening light, too. I had planned to shoot him out on the street, but during scouting, I went found this killer walkway with great light just a couple of steps from Nat’s doorway. Paint peeling off the walls, nice natural light in there. I KNEW this space would come into play during the shoot.
Like in this shot.
Since Terrence writes noir and crime fiction, I wanted to keep the photos serious, dark and challenging. I worked a lot with available light but popped my Canon Speedlight 430 EX flash here and there, and also a Neewer 160 LED CN-160 Dimmable Ultra High Power LED light Panel.
Some of the images I knew would stay in color, some I knew I’d turn to B&W.
My kit for this shoot included my Canon 50D with a 24-105mm f4.0 lens and a Canon 7D with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens which I had on loan from BorrowLenses. When I need to rent gear, I punch up. Their selection and prices are great, their customer service is impeccable and they couldn’t make the process easier. Can’t recommend them enough.
From his corner of the couch, Hicks had a good view of the mirror at the end of the hallway so he could see Rahul when he came in before Rahul could see him. That would give Hicks a slight advantage. Rahul’s eyes also would be as well adjusted to the darkness as Hicks’ would be, giving Hicks another slight advantage. ~ The Lady In The Tub
The shoot went well, and was enhanced when Terrence’s utterly charming wife, Rita, joined us for part of it. It’s not often I get snapped while snapping, but she got me.
Nat Sherman was such a great host to us, so big thanks to them. Before escaping from New York, I had to get one final shot of Terrance in the Johnson Club Room.
It was good enough for me. The Scotch warmed my throat and maybe – just maybe – all was right with the world. ~ Slow Burn
Here’s to continued literary success for Terrence! (and to hoping he gets to use one of these photos on his next bestseller.)
© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2014