Base Camp X: Picasso Needed an Editor

Graeme Cameron

Picasso was a creative genius. He could turn almost any object into a piece of art; his problem was that he did. V. and I spent the afternoon meandering through the Picasso exhibit at the AGO gallery in Toronto. What struck me most about Picasso’s brilliance was that it was most often over-shadowed by his less-than-brilliant work: the man needed an editor. Professional photography is a similar game, insofar as, we take thousands of images and then have to sift through the good and the bad to create a portfolio of the very best. The problem is that we live in a culture where media demands a flood of imagery – the good, the bad and the ugly.

As I finished up the processing from the session with Graeme Cameron from Base Camp X, I had to be especially vigilant about not just tossing in the whole kitchen sink. We came away with a high number of good shots, but frankly, it would be a disservice to let the good clutter the great shots. As Thoreau asserted in Walden: Simplify, simplify, simplify.

The first photograph featured in the blog is everything that a 3/4 portrait should be: clean, crisp, vibrant and very modern in its processing. What I liked most about this is that it matches up well against the first photograph I did for this series wherein he used the same posed, but with an inverted lighting that created a brilliant silhouette. Like the first photograph, this one is iconic and will stand the test of time, I think. I especially love the axe and the way the hands pop on this image.

Finally, I continued to work with the cut-out and produced about six different backgrounds for this particular shot. Why? This image works as an ideal base for a graphic designer to add to in a layout. In my work with Paderno’s packaging designer the number one thing he asks for is for me to leave room for text and copy. By leaving these fairly loose and at high resolution, whoever uses these images later can chop and modify them to suit their needs, whereas the first image is pretty set in stone.

Thus endeth my series with Base Camp X…I do have a hardcore¬†hammer that I am going to work with later in the week, but I am not sure what I might come away with from that experimentation. The hammer is more of a fun shot, than part of this work, but when the work is good, then it is all fun at the end of the day.


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