Manage the Moment: Conversations in Performance Psychology

Harrison Funk - Noted Photojournalist, Portrait Photographer, Director & Film Maker (Part 1 of 2)

December 09, 2019 Harrison Funk Episode 9
Manage the Moment: Conversations in Performance Psychology
Harrison Funk - Noted Photojournalist, Portrait Photographer, Director & Film Maker (Part 1 of 2)
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Manage the Moment: Conversations in Performance Psychology
Harrison Funk - Noted Photojournalist, Portrait Photographer, Director & Film Maker (Part 1 of 2)
Dec 09, 2019 Episode 9
Harrison Funk

Harrison Funk is a photojournalist, photographer, and documentary photographer whose name you may be familiar with, but his work you most certainly are, given that some of his images have been seen by billions of people around the globe. Harrison's work includes many of the most notable artists of the 21st century. He has photographed some of the most famous faces and captured moments that no one else would see if it was not for his lens. Harrison's approach to his work has driven him to document and photograph people, times, and events in ways that have not been done before.

In our two part series, Harrison shares his thoughts about how visual arts can define its generation and how some of those efforts have changed over the generations as well.

You can see many of Harrison's portraits on his Instagram page listed in the episode notes below, and you can hear Harrison's thoughts about preparing to be the best that you can be in this first of our two part conversation.


Follow on Twitter @drshepp   

Follow on Instagram @drshepp

See some of Harrison's work on Instagram

Learn more about Harrison at http://www.harrisonfunk.com/

Learn more about Dr. Shepp  at SportandPerform.com

Podcast transcripts coming soon at: ManageTheMoment.net

#ManageTheMoment YouTube Channel

Music by Brad Buxer

Show Notes Transcript

Harrison Funk is a photojournalist, photographer, and documentary photographer whose name you may be familiar with, but his work you most certainly are, given that some of his images have been seen by billions of people around the globe. Harrison's work includes many of the most notable artists of the 21st century. He has photographed some of the most famous faces and captured moments that no one else would see if it was not for his lens. Harrison's approach to his work has driven him to document and photograph people, times, and events in ways that have not been done before.

In our two part series, Harrison shares his thoughts about how visual arts can define its generation and how some of those efforts have changed over the generations as well.

You can see many of Harrison's portraits on his Instagram page listed in the episode notes below, and you can hear Harrison's thoughts about preparing to be the best that you can be in this first of our two part conversation.


Follow on Twitter @drshepp   

Follow on Instagram @drshepp

See some of Harrison's work on Instagram

Learn more about Harrison at http://www.harrisonfunk.com/

Learn more about Dr. Shepp  at SportandPerform.com

Podcast transcripts coming soon at: ManageTheMoment.net

#ManageTheMoment YouTube Channel

Music by Brad Buxer

Dr. Shepp:

Thanks for tuning in to manage the moment conversations in performance psychology. I'm Dr. Sari Shepphird. I was, I was really fortunate because as I told you the stories of how I started, I went right to the top. You know, my clients were huge. If you're a , if you're an artist, any client, singer, painter, poser , um , actor, doesn't matter if you have that talent and , and you can use it and you can and you can draw on all those things that make you talent. Do it.

:

That's Harrison Funk, a portrait photographer, photo journalist, film director and documentary photographer, whose name you may be familiar with, but his work you most certainly are given that some of his images have been seen by billions of people around the globe. Harrison's work includes many of the most notable artists of the 21st century. And his approach to his work has driven him to document and photograph people times and events in ways that have not been done before. In our two part series, Harrison shares his thoughts about how visual arts can define its generation and how some of those efforts have changed over the generations as well. You can see many of Harrison's portraits on his Instagram page listed in the episode notes, photo underscore icon, and you can hear Harrison's thoughts about preparing to be the best that you can be in this first of our two part conversation. Hi Harrison. Thanks for joining me today.

Harrison F.:

Hi Sari. Great to be here .

:

You are a photographer and a historian. You photograph some of the most famous faces and captured moments that no one else would see if it was not for your lens. How did you ready yourself for these encounters?

Harrison F.:

Sleepless nights, many, many, many sleepless nights, lots of prep. Um, honestly, I , I, I can't begin to tell you how difficult it was for me to get on set in the earliest days of my career. I was nervous beyond belief. I, you know, I was never starstruck. I grew up around a lot of stars. I , I knew , um, I think one of the first major, major performers I met when I was a kid was Frank Sinatra. Um, and , and you know, my dad used to say, Hey, when, you know, when you, my dad was an attorney and a judge, and he used to say he knew a lot of, you know , those kinds of people. He said, when, when, when you get tongue tied, when you, or you're , you're meeting somebody you know, of, of fame for the first time, just remember they all go to the bathroom the same way and just picture them when they're with their pants around their ankles. And it's true. I mean, it , it got me over that initial sort of stage fright. Um, I, you know, I don't think there's a, an artist that I haven't met that then if I met today, it would , it would have me tongue tied . Um, and I find, you know, that's helped me. I, I do a fair amount of, of public speaking, lecturing and such. And , um, I found that that helps me as well. I, you know, I, I don't, I don't tend to be , um, challenged by a big group. Um, the challenge is when they ask questions, whether I'll be able to give them answers, especially in an academic setting, if I'll be able to give them answers that actually enhance their experience.

Dr. Shepp:

Some of your preparation, I'm wondering if it came from watching your uncle who was a famous Broadway photographer. Did you learn anything about how to capture a moment from him?

Harrison F.:

You know, he was a very, a blend, very outgoing, very big personality kinda guy that really, I don't think I ever really talked about it with him except, you know, I asked him some stories about , um, actors that , that I admired , um, who he was friends with. And, and the way he discussed them was so casually is as, you know, just as he would be talking about , um, any , uh, any friend , um , didn't matter if they were a star of stage and screen the , you know, they were, they were just, they were just somebody he knew. And, and I kind of realized, I mean, I, I, I adopted that perspective. They're people. And there are people with a talent, there are people with, with an ability, there are people to be admired for that talent and that ability a lot of times, I mean, there are a lot of people out there that , um, who, who, you know, that are, that become stars that I might not be friends with, I might not want to be friends with, but more often than not, I think artists relate to each other. And I think that that's part of what makes it easy. I , I, I think I've drawn on that more than anything. Um, you know, Leo had a , had a great sense of, of, of , uh, understanding people for who they were or who they are. I, I did take something from that, but I think I learned, I learned by doing , uh , I learned by being in front of people. Um , um, I'm trying to think who the first person, the first really famous person I photographed was , um, I think Charles Nelson Reilly, I don't even know if you know who that is,

Dr. Shepp:

Sure. "Match game".

Harrison F.:

Exactly. And Hollywood squares as well. Um, and I, most people don't probably remember him for anything but that, but he was a great Broadway actor. Um, he was in the original hello Dolly. And , um, he, he did a couple of other shows on Broadway and I was in high school and a friend of mine, we all, we all worked for the school paper. And a friend of mine had an aunt who was the telephone operator at, I want to say the Algonquin hotel in New York. And she got to meet a lot of actors and offered my friend to, you know, would we like to interview Charles? And she said, only if I can bring Harrison along to take some pictures. And so they arranged it. We went backstage, he was doing a show , uh, we went down to the theater and, and were led backstage and he was the most just ingratiating person I had had met in , in any position of, of , um , fame or you know , recognition. Um, I mentioned, you know who I mentioned, my, my uncle Leo. And immediately he says, Oh my God, are you gonna put me through the paces? Like he does. So it was easy. It, you know, and I realize I , at that point I kinda got beaten by the bug of shooting celebrities. How do you know how to challenge myself to make portraits of them that were different than other portraits that had previously been done? Um, so it was always a matter of, of really challenging myself and driving myself to do something different and better than something that had previously been done. This turned into , um, the adviser from the paper was really excited that we were able to get, get a major star , um, for an interview. And it turned into a, a , a series that we started doing of, you know, people that were shaping our lives in high school. And the next group was the CBS newsroom in, in New York. So the CBS evening news and I, you know, I got to shoot everybody, including Walter Cronkite. Um, unfortunately, some of those pictures, including the , the images of Walter Cronkite are to the ages. Another story. Uh , but , um, there was a lady that worked for CVS, like, yes. Um , her name was Linda Ellerby. I just thought it was a great name. Um, and she asked if I can photograph her at her desk on the phone. And I kept trying to figure out an angle to take a picture of somebody on the phone at their desk cause they were such, you know, they're kind of trite pictures, but I hadn't planned any of this. I, we just kind of showed up and we weren't sure I had in my mind, okay, I'm going to do this in the newsroom. I never thought that anybody would challenge me, you know. Um , I'm a high school kid. One on one. I think I'm going to take the world by storm. But, but it happened. It was great. Um, and, and the series was successful. We ran, we ran quite a few articles, you know, interviews with people that influenced our lives. Uh, a few years later , um, I had a friends, I guess it was, it was a friend's little sister was doing the same. I carried on, you know, she was quite a few years behind us and I think I was probably in my early twenties. She was doing , uh , an interview with Arlo Guthrie and I knew Arlo because I'd photographed him for, for life magazine shortly before that. And she, she called me and she asked if I would mind, she got permission from the advisor for the paper if I could come back and, and reprise my role photographing, you know, famous people for the paper. And uh, of course I agreed and, and we, you know, went to , uh , when I went out to shoot R , O , N , N she's trying to interview him and he and I are having conversations, side conversations about music history and about New York and upstate New York and the , the folk scene and his father. And, and she's sitting there listening and she, she said , um, can I ask a question? And we both looked at her and said, no. And went right back to the conversation that we both got up. And of course she got her, her questions in and we totally flustered her and he made a great point. He said, there are two things you have to know about interviewing. Number one, never ask a songwriter to explain a song. And always be able to think on your feet and jump right back to where you were before you were interrupted or, or before you got flustered as a photojournalist. And as a photographer, as a portraitist, I realized that was some of the best advice you could ever give a journalist, let alone, you know, someone in the arts. Um, so that's, you know, that was part of part of my, my discovery of how to prep. I know that when I , um, some of the earliest bands I worked with , um, you know, as a teenager, they each led to bigger, bigger artists. And I would lay awake at night the night before I do , uh , a shoot, especially with a band shoot. If I was going on the road, you know, it was like no big deal. Um, I would say say to myself, I've shot, you know, hundreds of shows live, I can do this. What am I going to look for that's different? And that was the thing, I had to figure out what was different about the show that I can photograph that make, that , that would make that artist look amazing. And I learned a trick, which is don't shoot the first show and if he can, if you're going on tour with, I mean, you know, I'm a , I have been a tour photographer for, you know, however many years, 40. Um, and I, I every tour I go on, I want to see minimum five rehearsals before I actually start shooting. If I have to join a tour in the middle, I will go out there and I will, if I haven't seen the show already, I will spend the first night with, with a camera in hand. But mostly just watching and making mental notes about what I want to photograph that makes this unique. And , um, I had a production manager come up to me one time during a , exactly that, the first night of a , of a tour, which I had joined in the middle. And he says, we're paying you a fortune and you're standing here watching the show. What's the deal? And I said, listen, if I don't tell you how to run the staging, please don't tell me how to do my job. And I turned my back on him and walked away and went to watch the show from a different place. Well, the artist having seen this rather tense exchange tells him that he should just let me do what I do because I, you know, I won awards for what I do. Obviously I know what I'm doing and I never, I , I, you know, I've , I , I think that was the one and only time somebody questioned that method, but it's, it's pretty , you know, prep is a big thing. Um, you , you asked the question about how do I prep, well, when I do portrait session , um, if I were going to shoot you, I would want to learn every single thing about you, everything you know, from your, from your earliest days onward, what basically, you know, what makes you who you are and then try to incorporate as much of that with, you know, your present life. Um, as a performance psychologist and maybe one of these days I'll get to do a portrait of you. Um, but I'll, I'll do every bit of research, you know, that I, that I possibly can. And sometimes it's very difficult. Sometimes you're photographing people that, that were nothing. Even with the internet where nothing is available, you know, you're, you're trying to find out something about them and , and, and you just, you just can't. Um, but you know, you, you, the idea for me is I want to go out there and, and know the person that I'm photographing, know what they're about and know, also know how the pictures are going to be used, why they're being used. We know what's, what's, let's say I shoot an artist who's , who's been photographed, you know, by 25 other photographers and, and is , is tremendously famous, has won awards and , and in lauded for their, for their abilities over and over and over again. What am I going to look at? I'm going to look at what makes them unique and what makes, what will make this picture different from everything else that's been done. Or I'm going to look at everything that's been done and see one that I like and improve on that

Speaker 3:

[inaudible]

Harrison F.:

tremendous like tenfold. Um, you have to know, you know, their color palette is important there . Um, yeah. And, and if it's, if it's something that, that I don't feel I can work with, I can often put them in front of a black background in like an an infinity , you know, a background that looks like it goes on infinitely into oblivion , uh, to make that work. I'm giving you all my secrets here.

Dr. Shepp:

Well , it's so , it's so amazing to hear you describe your process because first of all, it's one that you certainly own. You don't hesitate to own your own process, which is important for any performer, but it's also one that you took the time to conceive based on not just the way you wanted your work to be received, but the kind of story you want to tell, the kind of impact that you want to make.

Harrison F.:

It's more than cerebral. So if, I mean, I don't think I could have answered this question as well 30 years ago because I probably hadn't thought about it as much as I have over the course of my career. But sure. It's something that I do think about. I do, I do consider every time I make a picture, I also look at location, including the, the environment of a subject in the picture is often very important. One of my favorite pictures of Michael Jackson is a very impromptu picture taken while I was actually directing a television special at the ranch. It was , um, it , well that, that's another story in itself. Um , MTV had done, had, had agreed with contract with Michael to do a weekend, a weekend at Neverland Valley and that was the name of his ranch. And um, they had, they had sponsored a video contest and we had to photograph all the video winters with Michael , but MTV at the same time was doing a behind the scenes thing at the ranch with Michael. And Michael was concerned that, that he would not like the way they would light him. So he told me to go out and tell them that I was going to light and direct over there , their own people. And I was amazed. The producer just looked at me, draw dropped and said, sure, if that's what, if that's what it takes to get what Michael wants. You know what Michael will give us, we'll do it. So I go out and I said, your lighting is completely wrong. They had very harsh lights on him. I said, I need , um, I knew, I knew they had it because it was, we had a list of requirements that they bring. Um , and if they had an , I had one up at the ranch anyway , um, a 12 by 12 silk, which is a big gigantic, 12 foot by 12 foot , um, uh , soft reflector. Well , um, shoot through , um, to soften the light. And um, I said I need that up and I, you know, I, I want that here and here and here. Uh, and I, I want to remove these lights. And nobody even questioned did they, they went along with it very nicely. Michael comes out, I went inside to tell him that, that , that they were ready for him and we lit it and he said, are you sure? I said, absolutely, you'll love it. And he, he comes out and I had put a Mark down where I wanted him to stand. We were going to lead in the, the winners from these videos. And he's standing there and he's looking around and the wind is blowing his hair and he's looking at the two , a little suicide. And I said, wait, hold on, keep the, keep the talent off the set. I'm going to shoot. Michael and I, I had a still camera as always, and I just picked it up and did some wonderful portraits of Michael in front of the carousel at the ranch. Really just, you know, impromptu, not, not staged real, I mean the lighting was done and , and whatever, but Michael just stood there naturally, you know, in the breeze. And there's a picture of him smiling, which gives away how he felt about the environment. You know, the , the, the carousel and he's looking off to the side and you know, he's got that, that, you know, trademark smile that he would occasionally put on, you know, some of my favorite portraits are just improvised. Um, I have a portrait of, of um, Vincent Price shot the morning after he did the , uh , voiceover for thriller and , uh, it was shot for, it was an afterthought that was wanted by the record label and they wanted him in this very cluttered recording studio with all this, all these light stands and um , microphones, et cetera. And, and I w I came in and I set up lights and I figured out, right, it'll work, but it's not what I really want. What I really want is just Vincent looking mysterious in front of a black backdrop. And , uh , I got a lot of, a lot of pushback from, from Epic , uh, from the , the art department on that. And now we want to use this picture this way and okay, fine. So they, they got their picture and you know, 10 years later I'm working on an exhibition with a friend of mine who is an attorney and also a great photographer. He was one of my students actually, and I helped him set up a, I'm a print lab and , um, a photo studio in his house. And , um, we're working, we're printing , uh , an exhibition that I'm about to do and, and we're talking about this picture and, and um, he remembered that I told him that I really wanted the picture against a stark black backdrop. Two days later I, I come back down to his house and, and ready to start making prints and he shows me he had spent at least 15 hours turning the backdrop black or the background black, perfectly outlining Vinson prices, body. There's, you can't even tell that it was not shot this way. This is, it's one of the greatest retouch jobs I think I've ever seen in my life. And I'm looking at it right now. Um , it , it, it hangs in my office across from my computer and I , you know, it sits in contrast on the wall too . There's a picture of Michael with his arms outstretched in front of a white backdrop, which most people that know Michael's history also know was the cover of the Memorial book from his funeral. And I, I find it fitting that these two pictures hang juxtaposed one with a stark black background and one was a stark white background. Um, the , the picture of Michael was other than other than lighting that had been, you know, determined , um, by years of just knowing how to photograph him. Um, there was, there was no real prep. It was, it was like, okay, Michael, stand there for a second. And he stood there, threw his arms out and he, he kind of turned to each side and started singing to himself and I shot and we were done in 15 minutes. You know, the, the, the, it didn't require a whole lot of major, major prep. How do I prep myself? Um, every time I photograph anybody, it's, it's a challenge. It's knowing, you know, can I, can I make them laugh? I think I've become , uh , a very good standup comedian, but even then, because it's, it's, it's all improv. I have to figure out, I actually took an improv class as it's going to ask back in the day. Yes. I, I studied in and I, I, you know, I, I , um, I wanted to learn, you know, the, the finer points of, of great improv. Um, and, and so I would, you know, part of my prep is knowing that that's that part of knowing about the person. What is it that might make them react?

Dr. Shepp:

Okay .

Harrison F.:

Because you want to, you want to get a genuine reaction out of them. If in a still photograph, you want to draw out their personality. Um , in some cases, drawing out their personality can mean , um , having them resting on a hand or to , uh , contemplating the floor. You just don't want them to appear bored. You know, contemplative is fine, but board is not fine. Well, board buddies you find, depending on the, you know, board might be fine depending on the mood you're , you're trying to, you're trying to depict, it's try it. For me it's, it's knowing the person, knowing what they will react to, what they might find. Um, interesting, sad, happy, whatever. Um, and drawing out that performance.

Speaker 4:

Well, it's interesting because many performers will say that they prepare a great deal in advance for the moment of performance because it allows them to be more spontaneous and present in , in the moment. And it , it sounds like you not only have a spontaneous eye, which of course you do, but part of the way you allow yourself that spontaneity is, is through the preparation that you do about your subject.

Harrison F.:

Absolutely true. And I don't think I could do it. I don't know if I could do it any other way. I think I've been doing this for so many years that I think this is just what comes naturally. [inaudible] um , interesting. It's interesting to know that I , I live a multifaceted life as an artist. I am portraitist photojournalist , video director or film director , um, and documentary photographer and hopefully being a good documentary photographer means also being an adept photojournalist . But when I do a portrait of someone , um, I, my prep is, is, is the same, maybe even greater than when I document an event or shoot stills on a, on a film or video or um, cover candidates on a campaign or whatever it may be. I'll look for those moments within those events where I can make portraits static or maybe not so static looking but, but static images of, of uh , of a person and I don't care how you want to define it. Uh , to me, politicians are our performers. Sure. Because the , they need to communicate and connect in that moment while they have everyone's attention , there has to be an awareness of the delivery of , of their information in , in a particular moment of time. Anyone that that is out there in public presenting themselves is in some way performing. It has to prepare for that performance. And I, in order to make those pictures, have to know enough about what that presentation or performance really is, to know what I have to photograph to , to let the rest of the world know it. Um, and I, that's, you know, part of, part of me is wanting to show behind the scenes more than just what anybody sees by going to a concert. Um, or by going to , uh , to , uh , uh, a speech. Everybody sees that, but my job is to show whatever we doesn't see. Right. Right. And that includes, you know, okay , when I'm hired to photograph, you know , um , Jimmy Smith's band , um, and, and Jimmy Smith, if you're listening, whoever you may be , um, this is for you seriously, because I gather Siri that a lot of your listeners are actually artists and performers. You know, if somebody is listening out there, I don't care if it's me or somebody else that you, that you hire to take your pictures. You've got probably three different kinds of pictures that you need. One is the one that makes you look , um , most like your stage persona most like, or how, how you want the audience to perceive you. The second is your, your approachable persona. The, the that which makes you lovable by your, by your audience. You know, I don't care whether you are like Ozzy biting the heads off of bats or doves or whatever, he bit, he's a lovable guy. He's Ozzy , he is a lovable guy. And, and, and I, I hate to break the bubble here, but, but you know , um, he's great fun to photograph and, and um, he, there's an approachable side to him. Um, then, and the third thing is there is that which defines you for the quality of your performance, your music, whatever. And if you can bring all three of those together in, in a photo shoot or you can bring those three together in a series of shoots, you're doing well, you got people looking at you and understanding you and probably buying your records. And this brings me to, can I bring up what we were discussing the other day? Sure. Of course. Okay. So this brings up a very important point that sadly, and, and I apologize to any , um, any millennials I'm offending because it's not really just aimed at your generation, although it seems like this has happened in the last , um, 20 years that mediocrity has become acceptable. And when we talk about preparing for photography or, or, or video, I don't see how mediocrity can be acceptable. Have you ever looked at, and sorry, feel free to answer, but, but have you ever watched the news and seen a news report shot on a cell phone that is transmitted by satellite from wherever? Sure . Okay. It's taking images of the tornado or whatever it might be. Yeah, exactly. They're pixelated. Um, the signal keeps cutting in and out. That's not quality journalism, nor is shooting a music video on an iPhone quality production. But you're getting it done. And the novelty of doing it might have at one point been acceptable. If I were your manager, your record label, your marketing person, I would say, I think you're daft, you know , um, there are a lot of novelties out there. You can walk down seventh Avenue and find loads of novelty shops. Is it quality merchandise? Now maybe awkward is not, not an not an option to me. Well , especially in your line of work because you're dealing with perfectionist . You're dealing with those who are demanding excellence from themselves and I'm imagining of course demanding excellence from the people that they work with. Without a doubt. Now, I didn't go to school for photography. Okay? By some academic standards, I'm probably not qualified to be a photographer, but you have to know the basics. Now it's great when you meet an artist that knows photography. Michael Jackson knew photography very well to the point where one day he calls me and he says, I need you to go to go to the camera store where we have an account and buy me one of everything. You have what you're going to start photographing yourself. He says, no, I want a full system here at the ranch just in case something ever happens to yours and you can't get out to get what you need or just in case [inaudible] . And I thought it was masterful because from then, then , then forward, he knew so much he asked me, you know, he would ask me for books to give him tips and show him techniques and that I used and he asked this of other photographers too. And I, I just thought that, you know, any client that takes the time to understand really is the, is an easier client to have. And, you know, knowledge is so important and understanding the art form is so important. And I , I just, you know, from, from that point forward, I was just blown away by, by, by his thirst for knowledge in every field. I me, you know , uh , a lot of people don't know that Michael's one of Michael's plans for after this is, it was, he wanted to go back and get a degree in art history. That right. Yeah. And , um, I don't know how serious he was about, about pursuing it, but he, he certainly seemed serious about it when he was talking to me about it. Um, there's no substitute for understanding, you know, how something, how something that you're a tool that you're using to make your career or to enhance your career, how important it is to understand that and , and, and really be, be fluid in the use of it. I was, I was really fortunate because as I told you the stories of, of how I started, I went right to the top. You know, my clients were huge Genesis stones, Billy Joel , uh , you know, Peter Gabriel , um, and then Michael Jackson and the Jacksons and, you know, Commodores. And , um, I can go on, but , um, and I'm not saying that that it's, it's a bad thing to have a talent. You know, if, if you're , uh , if you're an artist of any kind, singer, painter, composer , um, actor, doesn't matter if you have that talent and you can use it and you can, and you can draw on all those things that make you talented. Do it. The one thing I will say to anybody, I don't care if you're 15 or 50, lose the ego or don't acquire the ego. I'd actually love to get into a conversation with you about that. I would love to hear your, your perspective as a psychologist on what I just said. Because you know, to me, you earn, you earn the right to have an ego. There is a , um, there's a belief in the new Testament that pride comes before the fall. Meaning those who are most prideful will probably fall flat on their faces quicker than somebody who's not. I don't know if I believe that wholeheartedly, but I do believe that there's something to it. Um, I think that that maintaining some kind of humility is really important. If, if I go to photograph somebody , I , I can be as commanding and I can direct them. I can tell them this is, this is gorgeous. Oh, I love your smile. You look great. Beautiful. Turn your head a little to the right. Thank you. Beautiful. Now if I say it with humility, like, Hey, you know, I know what I'm doing. Trust me. It's gonna be amazing. And then they fall down and they break their head. I'm a, I'm not, I don't care how they ask them to do it, but I'm an idiot. Right? But if I, if I say it to them and I build up enough, like if I put a couple of Apple boxes on the floor and I have enough, enough, you know, I've built a set for them to do that and they're , and they're , you know, standing on their head, pushing their nose in the air, whatever. I'm thinking of those impossible pose imaginable. But if I do that and , and I take all the precautions necessary to make them , um , comfortable and to look good or even uncomfortable, but you know, but safe and look good. I'm doing my job because I'm creating, you know, I'm creating something unusual. Well , belief in your own ability is different than arrogance, right? Having , having confidence in what you can do is different than arrogance. Right? And that's the difference between, you know, I'm trying to think of two artists to compare, but you know, there are artists out there that are so arrogant that they don't come off. They're , they're talented but they don't come off well. And then there are artists out there that know their abilities, that are self, you know, very , um , very secure in themselves that don't need to be arrogant. And I think that's a very important lesson to learn. Um, Michael Jackson was never arrogant that I could, I remember, I don't think I ever watched him be arrogant. Um, he said some things that I, you know , may not have been perfect, but I , I never detected arrogance. Um, you know, there are other artists out there that are really arrogant. Um, and um , I'm not even going to go down that road because I might have to shoot the next week , but except maybe Kanye West who I just have no intention of shooting next week or week after amongst time. Um, well, among the people you've photographed, there must be a wide range of personality and level of confidence. So just even skimming your Instagram page, we would see David Bowie and Tina Turner and Amy Winehouse. Freddie mercury, Stevie wonder, Johnny Depp, Nelson Mandela, Elizabeth Taylor. You've mentioned Billy Joel, George, Michael, Tina Turner. You've mentioned Mick Jagger , uh , with the stones. Um, France, Aretha van Halen, Bruce Springsteen, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, president Obama. I mean that's a wide range of personality. [inaudible] [inaudible] there's, and there's people missing from that as well. Sure . But sure. Um , that's just a snapshot. Um , I'm just thinking what I, what I , how I want to respond to that. Um, of all the people you mentioned, I never detected tremendous ego or overbearing arrogance and relatively no arrogance in any of them. The man who I think exuded the most humility of that whole group was probably Nelson Mandela. [inaudible] a man who changed the world. And um, president Obama was extremely humble unless you got them talking about playing basketball. He was, he is a very, very kind, decent person. The present occupant of the white house. I've, I've only photographed twice and I photographed him long before he ran for office. Um, and back then he was pretty obnoxious to women, but you know, on a one to one he was fine, you know, he was just, he was fine to, to, to photograph. Um, so people are, people also should have different sites themselves to different people, you know. Um, uh, and I imagine they would to you depending on their level of trust in you. W would you say that's true? I do think that's true. I think that um, one of the people, I , I I had a conversation with um, uh, about role affairs and politics was Bano and um, my, my, my friends and my entity is probably will tell you I'm very political. Um, I'm very, I'm very drawn to the whole subject of politics, world affairs, history. Um, maybe in some cases to my own detriment, maybe not, but I will say something about bono that he knows his stuff and if he disagrees with you, he lets you know, he disagrees with you because he knows his stuff. He is, he's brilliant, but he any , this didn't happen to me, but he can, I saw him put somebody in their place with, with style, but the person really felt like they were let known, you know, that they didn't know what they were talking about. Yeah. So, so of all people that I've met in my lifetime, you know, and the, the vast number who have been people, that's why it's so easy to photograph them because I get to, I get to see them as, as people, not as shining stars. That's talent that they have . That's the, that's their abilities. That's what you want to bring out in the picture. That's the importance of making a picture of somebody and , and showing him or her for what he is or what she is. Um, but honestly , uh , it's, it's the ability to get past that and just see them as a person and then create an image that, that tells a story that is most important is imaging your subjects different when one does, where his or her beliefs and emotions on their shirt sleeves versus one who might have something to hide. You know , I don't, you know, it's, it's, it's interesting I try to get past that when they're in the studio or , or on location. I try to get past the, the thing that they might be trying to hide. Um, and I'm trying to think of somebody who is , who is in that situation that where they were, they were trying to hide a, a personality trait or, or a belief or a , um, or, or something that they had done. Let me ask it differently if I would imagine you want your subjects to feel as relaxed, as relaxed as possible, but are there times when tension makes for the best image? Absolutely true. Yes, for sure. Um , there's a story I read when I was a kid about who was the , uh, uh , Karsh. He was a Canadian photographer, very prominent in the early part of the 20th century for through the, through the middle, middle of the 20th century. He was, he was , uh, assigned to photograph Winston Churchill and Churchill was very relaxed. Karsh didn't like the, didn't like the fact that Churchill seem very relaxed. He wanted to create Ascension . So he walks over to Churchill, yanks the cat, yanks the cigar at a Churchill's mouth, walks back to his camera and takes a picture of Churchill's scowling at the camera. And I, I always thought, what a great, what a great technique. I, I've always looked for somebody I'd have to do that with. And I never, never found it. I never had anybody, you know, that , that I had to, I've had people I've had to loosen up a little bit, but, but never had somebody who I wanted to create the tension with where there was none. Um, but I think that's a masterful technique and I think it's, you know, I think it's great to be able to show kind of tension , especially if, you know, if the person has that personality, demeanor, demeanor. Um, I think, I think, you know, I want people to be comfortable in front of the camera, but I think I want to draw out who they really are, the essence of their personalities in front of the camera. So I, I'm trying to think of somebody who I would have to loosen up. Um, and I can't think of somebody or, you know, off the bat who I would have to make feel more comfortable. I did a , I did a shoot with a band years ago , uh, called , um, love, hate

Dr. Shepp:

[inaudible]

Harrison F.:

and their lead guitarist hated pictures and we ended up screaming, cursing at each other. Right. Because he was like, you know, just take the and picture already. I'm tired of it, you know, and calling me an F in this and F a nd that and the P ISA, you know, w hy? And I just started giving the right back tool. At the end of the shoot, he came, came over and hugged me and he said, I felt so comfortable with you. Comfortable. Y eah. Right. Because you didn't w rite my crap and I was able to let you know what I thought of you. Right. And he said, go ahead. Psychologist has to be that too. Seriously. Y eah, n o, of course. H uh. Interesting. So you kind of match the, you match the person for who they are, right? Yeah. U m, and it, it's amazing c ause he admitted to me at the end, he says, you're a pretty good guy. You to go out for a beer. And I said, well , let's drink here. I got plenty of beer in the fridge and we did it for hours. You know, he was, he was fine. Okay. But how do you manage the way people respond to the final product of your work? I mean, you conceive of something and, and decide what your eye sees. Um, and perhaps you collaborate with your subjects ahead of time. I'm not sure, but I do. But how do you decide what the final shot will be that's used? Is that a collaboration? Is that a decision that is given to you and then if so, how do you not take that? Personally, I , I don't take it personally. Um, but I'm also fortunate in the fact that , um, most of the time the artists agree with my choices. Um , great. And, and I'm, I'm glad I'm, I'm, I'm very thankful for that. I recently shot , um, an artist back in April. Um, I did a portrait shoot with, with him and, and um, um, it was, it was amazing because I chose 300 and something pictures and we shot so many and I chose so many that I said, here are the low Rez images. You tell me what you like and they keep coming back to me with more and more and more and more, you know, and it's been months now. Um, and the thing that got me, I took me back a little bit was the fact that , um, they chose mostly different images to what I chose. I had no idea what they would like, but they liked a lot of the images that I, that I sent them. They just didn't, they just didn't agree that my first choices were their first choices. Um, I can't take that personally. I don't care. You know, I, I mean, I do care, but I , I, I, I, it doesn't matter to me. If somebody likes a specific image, fine. It's very subjective. At the same time, if I think that image is horrible and makes and , and, and makes them look bad and makes me look like a fool for letting that picture out, I'll argue the point. I'll let them know what I think. Um, you know, I don't, I don't believe that anybody should be bound to anything, you know, unless they're, unless they're , um, there's a specific reason or need for that particular image. Some artists let me choose all the pictures. They just say you choose, which I, you know, if I, if I know the artist, I feel perfectly comfortable in doing it. Um, you know, like the Jackson's for instance, you know, I, I, I choose mostly through, through the last, what, 40 years. Um, they've let me choose, you know, the ones that I think are, are the best. Uh, Michael always did. Um, you know, Jermaine always has. Uh , although, you know, with Michael and Jermaine , it's always been a, a real collaboration with Michael. It was always the Michael. It was, it was, he would talk to me about what we were shooting, especially in the studio or portrait wise. Um, what it was going to be used for and we would collaborate. But his attitude was always, let's make magic. Let's just make magic. And , and , and even on live shows after every night he would, he would come to me and he would say, do we make magic tonight? And it wasn't just about did we make magic? Did, did you make magic in the pictures? Did I make magic on stage? Was the audience is excited about the show, you know, as the pictures will show , um, that was the magic. The magic to him was pleasing the people that were there to see him. And the same thing was true with, with, you know, individual shoots. Um, with some things you can't collaborate, you just, you know, documentary or photojournalism. It's, it's just you , you show it for what it is. Anything else is a lie. Anything else is contrived. I was just going to say, it's interesting because you show, you show it for what it is, but the final results of a photo shoot can often be a projective test, can't they? I mean, I'm thinking of the photo that you mentioned earlier today , um, with Michael Jackson and his hands spread out to the side and that photo became a projective test. I remember that. Um, people were saying he had a Jesus complex. He thought of himself as the savior of the world because his hands were outstretched as though he was on a cross. Um, and, and that wasn't at all what you intended or what he intended. I , I read that you were actually taking a picture of his , um, to represent how large his hands for, but , um, that was part of what came out of it. Yes. Okay . Okay . Go ahead. Please continue. I'm sorry. I , no , no, that's okay though . Thank you. Um, but it's interesting how as time goes by and perhaps even when a photo first appears, it can often be a projective test as to what people think of the subject. It can. Um, most of the time projection happens because of a trigger. Um, so am I, am I pretty correct on that? Yes . Okay . You took psych one Oh one I call . I did. Right . And I, I , I failed. I failed. Okay . I , my rat, whose name was Ben, get the damn thing to go through the maze until I rub cheese along the entire maze . Okay. Right. Well, they don't tell you is that many times those experiments are not for the rats. They're experiments on the students. I've gathered that I fell a little with my rat, my rat. I took my ride home. So Ben and I became friends and his name was Ben. Okay. Where did I named him? Ben?

Speaker 5:

So ,

Harrison F.:

uh, here's, here's the , the, the thing about , um, that shot, first of all, it, it, it did indeed project something about Michael. It was, it was Michael projecting his own desire to heal the world because we shot for heal the world. Remember the song, so can't sing. I don't pretend it was shot for that particular purpose. It just got used for all sorts of other things. But it was shot for that. And um, yes, I, I liked, I was always amazed at the size of Michael's hands. He had huge hands and , and he had this gesture that I thought was, was one of his enduring traits, which was he would wave to somebody or wave somebody over with his hands. But it, how do I explain it? It was like, it's very fatherly. It was very, it was, it was , um, it was a comforting feeling about, about him. The way he would gesture to you to come over to him or, or to, you know, he would wave to you. It wasn't a wave . Actual was a wave was an a wave. Um, basically was an ingratiating wave. It was a wave of, of inclusion. And , um, I said at one point, I, as I remember the way that shoot evolves , I said , um, I had an impure wedding. I had him, I had him with his arms up in the air. Um, and he said, okay. He had a , he had a dance move. He did on stage at the end of a man in the mirror where he would stomp his foot and throw his arms out. And that's, that's what that is. That's, that's that move . That's exactly that move. And, and I said, so works for man in the mirror, works for heal the world. It works for the four it would work for, we are the world. And he said, yeah, it's all about healing, right man. And the mirror is about healing, you know, just like heal the world. Um, and you know, the, the picture was later used for , uh , heal the world promotion. And , um, I think what I, I think what I love about it is that it , it, it really, you had to know Michael to know that that really depicted his personality and how he felt about the world. I don't think it was a Jesus complex by any, by any stretch of the imagination. I don't think Michael considered himself to be God or godlike or, or, you know, a , a, a second coming or anything. Um, I don't think that was his, that was his intention. I think his, his sole intention was that of inclusion of saying we working together can, can make a change, you know , um, heal the world, make it a better place for you and for me and the entire human race. And don't ask me why I know lyrics because I usually don't remember what you're expecting . But you know, that's the kind of, that's the kind of perspective that Michael brought to, to a shoot. Like, you know, we're, we're where he would do a move like that, especially if he knew that that was kind of what it was for and where it was going. Um, I think that he had a lot of, he had a lot of moves choreographed that , um, said a lot. And I think a lot of what he stood for was , um, exactly that, you know, he, he SWI he wrote, heal the world. That's why he wrote earth song. That's why he wrote , um, you know, we are the world. I , um, got to give Lionel part of the credit for that, but you know , um, and you saw him during this as it , the preparation. I did not know. I, I actually came back here from, from England with the intention of doing it. And , um, through politics I ended up doing something completely different for him that I still won't talk about. But , um, I , I was, I was not able to shoot , uh, I was going to be doing the tour. Um, there were some weird politics with AEG , um, that I think relate a lot to everything that happened to Michael after that. Um, I did not want to be caught up in those, but I, you know , um, I did not end up shooting rehearsals and honestly, I can't think of many , um, many jobs that I, I was affected where I was affected by political silly political decisions. Some of the artists that you worked with , um , some of the artists that you worked with, you saw evolve over large spans of time because you would work with them consistently over the years. Yeah, quite a few. And, and I, I remember seeing artists in, in the 80s, early eighties, who , um, maybe in the late seventies, and then not seeing them for years and then picking up again and seeing, you know, seeing them again , um , and seeing how they had evolved. Um, uh, Pat Benatar was one of them. I never, I never really, really worked with her other than on , uh, her first. Her first tour , uh, back in what , 1978. You know, I, I, I kinda did a , a club tour with her and a couple other artists. And then really I liked her. I liked, I liked , um, I need a lover who won't drive me crazy. Um, and I liked her version better than John Mellencamp version. Um, although I got to like his version too . But , um, I then I didn't see her for six or seven years and I was pretty amazed to see how she'd blown up. Um, I got to see Whitney Houston from, from, you know, the very early days. Um, and it was amazing to see how she, you know, how she blew up. Um, she was brilliant. I mean, one of the, if one of the greatest singers of, if not the greatest female vocalist of my, of my lifetime , um, I got to see, you know, but I got to see her as a , um, as a fledgling artist , uh, doing small venues and , and, and , um, I photographed her on a TV appearance, I think was it young and the restless , um, with Jermaine Jackson. And , um, that was, that was pretty cool. And then I, you know , um, I worked with her on some bigger, bigger gigs and some bigger venues later on. Um, and , uh, Amy Winehouse , um, you know, I, I watched for the first three years of her, of her career as she started out , um, right up until right up until she got really big and , and was reluctant to do much of anything publicly. Um, and I think that was, you know, the results of her addiction. Um, it was very, she is very sad. I w I thought Amy was just a wonderful person. Um, there was a day that I'm on, on a bus going from , uh , um, I was coming down from King's cross or I was going up to King's cross on, on , um, on, on this bus in London. And she gets on with her guitar and her and her in Camden with her guitar in her amp and she's kind of struggling, you know, she's little girl, she's not, not huge. And I, I, I knew her pretty well and I jumped up and ran, grabbed her amp, and she's like, what? And then she realized who it was and, and , um, she says, I could get it all. And I said, no, no, no. Let me get it. And she , okay, where are you going? She said she was going to do a gig at , at , um, um, university college, which is , uh , I went to school there for a time and , and , um, so I said, Oh, I know where you're, where you're playing. Well , I , uh , you know, I, I kinda guessed she was in , um, uh, the , this building straight up from the gate. And , and , um, I said, I'll help you get the, you know, get your stuff there. You have to do that. It's fine. No, no , no, no, I'll help you. And she was really grateful because it was, he could tell she was like struggling with her backpack and her guitar and her, her, her amp, and, and there was nobody to help her . Nobody showed up at the gig to help her, you know, and I said, just, just wait here with your stuff and I'll be right back. And I went inside, I got the , um, one of the custodial staff to, to help her drag it into the , uh, into the venue. Um , and she says, are you going to stay? You know, so I said, yeah, you know, I'll stay in , stayed watch the gig. And that was, you know, it was just, it was fun cause I got to see the gig instead of actually taking pictures of it. Um , very lost soul I think. And , and um, you know, it's , it's just very sad to see somebody not make it to, to, you know, the , um, the peak of their career of course . And , um, I think she would have been, if she were alive today. I mean, who knows, but, but I think she would be as big as Whitney, as big as , uh , you know, I, I mean, I don't really want to compare it to anybody. I don't know who , um, but I think she would have been an absolute superstar.

Speaker 4:

This has been managed the moment with dr Shep, my physic collection of moments. It's how you manage the moments that makes the difference. In part two of our conversation, Harrison and I chat about the cultural significance of not only his work, but also of music and other art forms as well, and he also shares his advice for performers about learning from failure. That's next time on the manage the moment podcast. Thanks again for listening. I hope you'll join us for those moments . You can subscribe to the manage the moment podcast for free just by clicking the subscribe button wherever you're listening to this podcast, and then you'll be sure to get the newest episodes as soon as they're uploaded. And for more information about manage the moment podcast, you can see the episode notes for this broadcast. You will also find us on social media, and I'm on Twitter and Instagram at dr Shep. Thanks so much for listening and taking the time to share these moments with us. Until next time.

Speaker 6:

Right .