Just Ask


Earlier this week, I watched a wonderful Capture One seminar where David Grover interviewed Joe McNally about how he made some of his “impossible photos”.

One photo he described was when he was designated by NASA and National Geographic to shoot the prep for John Glenn’s return to space. 

In the Capture one talk, he describes this photo he set up, underwater, in a training pool. (It’s pretty mind-blowing to hear him describe it. If you click the link above to watch, it’s around the 40-minute mark of the 1 hour plus video.)

Anyway, Joe talks about having the idea for this photo, but he knew NatGeo would never run this particular photo in the training pool…because Glenn wasn’t in the photo.

But he also knew he had the idea for this photo in his head and he had to get it done.

He, at that point, was able to leverage his standing with NASA to ask to make this photo (now, he also had to be physically able to do all this – that’s the bigger, crazier part of Joe’s story)

The point is, sometimes you just have to ask.

That’s what this photo of two guitars is for me. Last fall,when I was photographing the pieces for the Monmouth County Historical Society’s Springsteen: His Hometown exhibit, I saw all the cool Springsteen stuff before anyone else besides the staff.

But I had an idea for a particular shot in my head, I just didn’t know if I’d get the chance to shoot it.

Finally, I was doing some last-minute photography on the day the press was to arrive for a media tour.

It was about 30 minutes before they were opening their doors for the media, and I got asked “Is there anything else you need because this will probably be it.”

I hesitated, went back and forth in my head, and then said “Yes, there is a shot I want…”

The guitar on the left was played by a musician in the battalion that Alexander Springsteen (Bruce’s great, great, great (?)grandfather) was in during the Civil War.

The guitar on the right was a guitar Bruce played during his time in The Castiles (late 1960s). In the middle, is a scrapbook kept by Adele Springsteen, Bruce’s mother.

I explained what I wanted to do and my gracious host got to work. He had to remove the Civil War guitar from a plexiglass protective box covering, and get Bruce’s guitar out from the exhibit area.

I then carefully positioned them (all I could think about was breaking the strings on the old guitar) where I wanted them in relation to the scrapbook, the clock ticking in  my head.

I lit the scene with panel LED lights and worked quickly to make a few frames before they had to put everything back where it was for the media day to begin.

I got the shot I wanted. This was the photo for me, one I had in my head to make. And I made it because I just asked. I’m happy about it because of that alone.

But the best part: This photo ran in a wonderful Wall Street Journal article about the exhibit. 

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2020

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