Angela Bassett has become one of my favorite people to work with over the years because she is always fun to shoot and the Olay shoot was no exception even thought it started off harder than most of our shoots. Angela Bassett is now on ER for the final season and has a hectic shooting schedule so she came a bit tired from her schedule. However, like all my shoots I had flowers waiting for her in the dressing room and a note that simply said, "here's to another great shoot".
This assignment required a lot of production and prior to the job my producer and I worked on pulling all the elements together to make for a great shoot. In the office my interns and assistant worked on making sure we had all the photo equipment needed to make my vision come to life along with making sure I had the right music on hand. My assistant, Dushyanthi was in charge of making sure she and my interns of put the right music together for the shoot and as it turned out, this was one of the most important parts of the day.
My crew put the set together as I spoke with my clients and Angela. My clients and I looked over and discussed wardrobe with the clothing stylist as the manicurist did Angela's nails and toes. Then we had Angela try on varies garments to find the right one's that worked. I had one of my interns, Hiromi shoot small jpegs of Angela in each garmet to email to P&G for approval. Once that was done Angela went into hair and makeup and then we finally started to shoot.
I shot with the H2 Hasselblad body with a P30 plus digital back and instead of using strobes I decided to use a continuous light source as my main light. I started my career using HMI lights and have always loved the look and quality I get from these lights. It's the closest thing to the sun and was perfect for this shoot.
Finally on set and everything was working except for one thing. Angela was tired and I could see it in her eyes. I stopped often to give her breaks and talked with her to get her energy up and she was a professional in every way but still I could see I wasn't getting the Angela I am used to. My assistant, Dushyanthi whispered that she saw Angela singing to a certain song while her makeup was being done and told me the song she wanted to play but I blew it off and told her to keep with the music I had playing. I again stopped and talked with Angela and started to shoot more when my assistant again came and whispered in my ear. I have come to trust my crew a lot so I said "okay lets play that song" but I wasn't really convinced for some reason. Then the song came on and Angela lit up! I couldn't believe it and all of the sudden the shoot changed and her energy was the Angela I've shoot so many times. That was the turning point of the day and I can only say "thank you Dushyanthi", as this was the second time she's been on point with the music. The magic song was Tina Turner's Proud Mary and I don't know to this day why it didn't click at first when it my assistant mentioned it the first time but Proud Mary turned the day around and made this image possible!
Music: Tina Turners "Proud Mary"
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Makeup by Roxanna Floyd
Personal Assistant: Dushyanthi
Interns: Hiromi San, Ramona
Photo Assistants: 1st asst-Gary, 2nd asst-Robert