Photographing Rapper Artist Poet
Last month I was commissioned to photograph Chris Hutcherson who uses the artist name Poet. Chris is a indie artist who is working on his first release of his music to iTunes. For the release he needed professional pictures for his iTunes account, website, and press kit. After getting the date booked I started working on where we would shoot. Chris had told me he wanted an urban feel to the images so I started scouting around our local downtown area.
As I was working on finding the location I remembered that a few years ago I had gotten the opportunity to photograph an abandoned hospital. I contacted a mutual friend that knew the owners of the building to see if we could get permission to shoot on the second floor. It took a few days but I finally got word that we had permission to use the hospital for our shoot. With everything set in place we set the time for early on a Saturday morning. At the time our weather had warmed up and I was planning on shooting early enough that the humidity and heat wouldn’t be a factor. However we had an unexpected change of weather and it turned very cold that day. With no power in the part of the building we would be using and multiple broken windows we were in for a very cold morning.
My son, who was assisting, and I arrived early to unload the gear and carry it up to the second floor where we would be shooting, then we met Chris out in the parking lot and went on upstairs to start the day. I had taken a walk through of the area a few days earlier so I already had a plan for the shoot and knew what I wanted to do. There was a stairwell near the back of the building that I had been anxious to shoot in so I resisted the urge to start there and started the session in some of the old hospital rooms off the hallway.
There was a lot of light coming in through the windows but not all of it was the quality of light I wanted so I set up lights to either overpower the ambient light or add to it depending on the look I wanted. The hospital itself has been cleaned out of all the medical equipment and beds but odds and ends of old furniture has been stored in the rooms some of which became props in a few of the shoots.
For our day I used two different rooms, the hallway, the stairwell, and the roof for our set. The building had lots of things photographers love such as peeling paint and crumbling plaster walls. It all provided a great background of texture and colors which worked well since Chris had a very simple wardrobe of solid colored t-shirts and jeans. Since this was not for a CD and no specific music was being promoted I kept the images simple and clean so they could be used in a wide variety of venues.
We shot for a little over two hours with a little over hundred images. Back in post I narrowed this down to around forty images. This forty I did a basic edit on to show Chris the color and composition of the images so he could choose the final ten images he wanted. When he sent me his final selections I gave the images their final edits and prepared a high resolution and low resolution file for Chris to download from my server.