The Shay Rebellion | Christopher Shay

Eventful Photos

As a journalist, you run around with a sense of joyful entitlement. This feeling of self-righteousness is usually what encourages journalists to sneak into places or to not be pushed around by the rich and powerful. You might be struggling to pay the rent, but when you’re holding a notebook or a camera, you can act like a little emperor. You get to ask the rude questions, to pop your flash in someone’s face and demand time with veryimportantpeople. Sure, it’s crucial to be nice as well, but you also get to be stubborn.

Being an event photographer is very different. I’ve started doing some event photography on the side, and it’s been fun to assume a different professional demeanor. If you acted like a journalist while shooting a party, you’d be a real jerk. One can’t constantly, rudely butt into an event’s most precious moments. Instead of being a little emperor, you’re a member of the waitstaff, anticipating the right moment to jump in. You’re always courteous, always smiling, and there’s none of that cowboy swagger I sometimes try to fake as journalist.

Unlike being a waiter, however, I secretly hope for accidents at events. Not bad ones of course, but something a little different or unexpected to happen. I shot a party recently, and there were the usual shots of people dancing and hugging—but my favorite photo was one when someone dropped his wineglass on the floor (see above).

I shot some photos for John and Elle’s Save the Date mailings. They wanted something to send back to States that captured the massive crowds in Hong Kong. The most romantic shot was when they stopped and kissed as hordes of shoppers flowed around them. I placed them in small pool of light at the top of a hill and shot from about a half block away.

But my personal favorite is this one:

The lighting isn’t anything special, but I think the symmetry of the five heads makes the shot particularly absurd. You can’t control crowds of pedestrians, and sometimes they’re going to step into your shot. It’s not something I meant to do—and I’m not sure exactly why—but I find the five heads with hanging meat in the background really funny.

Here’s another shot caused by an accident. My flash ran our of batteries while covering the announcement of a new fashion award. My replacement batteries were across the auditorium, and I didn’t want to miss photographing one of the celebrity judges before she left. The solution? The TV cameras had a mounted light on them so I photographed her using the TV lights, which gave her face a nice little glow.

The client liked it since the cameras and mics showed off how much media up at the launch of the EcoChic Design award. Accidents are good, because they force you to shoot something different in a different manner.

Category: Behind the Scenes, Blog Entries

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One Response

  1. Greg says:

    the heads one is really fun- love how it makes their kiss this unexpectedly private moment.

    nice job on the “real” one, too– that’s some Ghandi shit right there!

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