I recently spent a beautiful autumn Sunday with friend and photographer Richard Krall, who has been shooting incredible fashion work for almost three decades. Richard apprenticed in Paris for Hemut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and a host of other photographers that helped make French Vogue what it is today. Needless to say, his understanding of light and color is inspiring.
I don’t normally enjoy the company of other photographers. Most want to talk obsessively about cameras, which is a topic I find frustrating (the camera’s role in the photographic process is insignificant at best). I generally find it far more interesting to chat with professionals working in other areas: architects, mathematicians, sculptors, musicians, transportation engineers, and, perhaps most of all, painters. Breakthroughs happen most often at the intersection of disciplines, and there are few things more satisfying than finding a common professional language with practitioners of a completely different field.
Richard began his career as a painter of the realist genre, which comes as no surprise given how refined his visual sensibilities are. He is also a fellow Texan and a gifted conversationalist. We talked about our practice, about the bizarre challenges of Hollywood, about close mutual friends and loves lost. The conversation wasn’t completely without a technical thread, as we ruminated at length on lighting challenges that neither of us have been able to master. We both appreciate soft top-lighting when done well, but neither of us have figured out how to introduce an eyelight that doesn’t also corrupt the exposure of the subject’s face. I found it immensely comforting to know that someone of Richard’s experience struggles with these same challenges.
By the end of the day the Pacific Ocean had achieved the rare color it reserves for its most spectacular autumn sunsets, a crisp mix of midnight blue and the deepest cyan, speckled with flashes of brilliant white.
The view from Anchorage Street: a clear and uncertain vista. The blankest of slates.