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Masters of Photography

Lesson 36 of 54

Creating the Maroc shoot

Albert Watson

Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

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Lesson Info

36. Creating the Maroc shoot
Albert describes his own, personal methods and ethos in creating the Maroc project. Find out what equipment he used, how he documented his journey, and what he shot to create this iconic book.

Lessons

Class Trailer
1

Meet your Master

01:26
2

Learn from the journey

15:24
3

Using inspirations

08:43
4

Photography is stopping time

09:27
5

Albert's library of ideas

08:30
6

Tips on preparing for a portrait shoot

12:10
7

Setting up the studio

04:56
8

Understanding studio collaboration

07:35
9

The importance of casting and hair & make-up

08:59
10

Foreground studio set up

08:46
11

Studio session with a model - set up 1

11:23
12

Studio session with a model - set up 2

05:55
13

Studio session with a model - set up 3

08:01
14

Picking the best shot

03:36
15

Working with photoshop

13:14
16

Creating a portrait of Alfred Hitchcock

04:18
17

The gigantic question... Colour or black and white?

07:55
18

One day with Kate Moss

05:06
19

Learn to have your ideas ready

06:14
20

Using Polariods

06:29
21

Creating beautiful photographs of hands

04:45
22

Controlling natural light

05:38
23

Shooting a monkey with a gun

06:27
24

Choosing your format

07:13
25

Composition and lens

04:47
26

Shooting landscapes. The Isle of Skye

15:18
27

Planning and ideas for a landscape shoot

06:32
28

Creating still life images

13:48
29

Photographing the Lost Diary

10:53
30

Shooting album covers

03:09
31

The Strip Search Project

10:28
32

Shooting Las Vegas landscapes

08:24
33

Photographing Breaunna

07:21
34

Balancing daylight, God bless America

03:45
35

Creating the Maroc Project

10:21
36

Creating the Maroc shoot

08:11
37

Photographing sand dunes

04:09
38

Photographing Moroccan children

10:42
39

Advice on making portraits

10:12
40

How to be alert to finding photographs

07:36
41

Making a portrait of Mike Tyson

02:40
42

Creating intense colour in a photograph

03:05
43

Portraits of rap stars and a Golden Boy

08:40
44

Photographing Jack Nicholson

04:21
45

Creating a portrait of David Cronenberg

02:14
46

How to light only using two $10 bulbs

07:30
47

Studio fashion set up 4

10:48
48

Studio session with a model. The geography of a face

13:05
49

Look inside the picture

02:57
50

Creating memorability in an image

02:54
51

Combining nudes and landscapes

04:52
52

A perfect print

07:51
53

The business side of things

06:51
54

Conclusion and farewell

03:55

Lesson Info

Creating the Maroc shoot

(Soothing drum music) So how did I proceed with the project when I first started shooting? Basically, we had two vans. That's not true, I had my own. I had a Toyota Land Cruiser and we then had a van with all the equipment in it. So what was I traveling with? Well, when I do a shooting like this, I'm usually traveling with about six, four foot by eight foot flats. That is what we call books, where one side is black and one side is white. So I travel with that. And that's very handy for using natural light reflectors or killing light. Sometimes you want to get rid of light. And I was traveling with portable strobes that I always travel with just in case you'd need them. And also, I was traveling with a small generator and a couple of one K lights that I was able to use with the generator. And I had two assistants. And I had a Moroccan driver and I did the driving of my car. So one of the assistants that I had kept really the diary, which is really important of where you were. So when ...

you take a picture of a tree, for me it was essential to, not just it's a tree. In the end, could've been in California or India. It was important for me to register where that tree was. So we kept a very strict Polaroid book of the names of people, the names of the mountains, the names of the desert, the titles of politicians. If I stopped and photographed a child on the side of a road, we had to name of the child written down there and that went alongside the Polaroid because just one thing regarding the mechanics of the job, at this time I'm shooting film, it's not digital. So you shoot a Polaroid, stick it in what we call the "Polaroid Book" and that was basically our daily diary of you know, what we were doing and what we'd done. So later, when we came to do the captions for the book, we had all of that information written down. I find a lot of the time, very interesting to have all of that. And of course, later when we translated into Arabic, then that was also very nice to have that as additional information in the project. So I think that modus operandi is really important that you get all of that together. And certainly my way of doing things. For some photographers, say well, "I couldn't be bothered with all of that." But then, really that's up to the individual. In these series of talks, I'm really letting you know the way I do things and how I've done things and how I was able to achieve what I achieve. (soothing music) As for the cameras, at that time I was working mainly with the Hasselblad, which I felt was, you know, a good enough quality for me to shoot with. But also, I was also traveling with a Canon. And a 35 millimeter. But a lot of times I would sit with a 35 millimeter camera on my knee as I was going along as the driver and I would pull over, shoot something, and then sometimes I would have one of the Moroccan people that work for me here take over the driving and I would shoot with the Canon. But a lot of the portraiture was done with the Hasselblad, which I like very much. I thought about four by five and eight by 10, which I've shot vast amounts with, especially four by five, which's really my favorite camera before digital. And I just felt that sometimes set up was going to be a little bit time consuming with a four by five or an eight by so I stuck with the Hasselblad mainly and a lot of my lighter work I was doing with a Canon. In the Hasselblad case, I was traveling with, I think I had three, four bodies altogether. And I was traveling with 50 millimeter, 60 millimeter, 80 millimeter, 100 millimeter, 120, 150, and a 250. And we actually had a 500 millimeter Hasselblad lens in the, kind of buried deep in the case. I think I used once or twice for landscape work in the sand dunes. But those are the lenses I travel with, which is kind of, I don't think it's a full kit but it's quite extensive. So the real shooting time on the Maroc project was probably about 24 days. But with travel it was about 39 days. However, to be absolutely honest about this project, I actually spent another six weeks solid on this project, in the darkroom, creating these images. Now this was really the last project that I did that was an analog, entirely an analog project in other words. Everything was created with silver prints, platinum prints, sienna type prints and also inks. Working directly on top of some of the images. So it was a real analog project and is a kind of funny thing that happened. We actually, the designer that I worked with on the book, he put the book together with a Xerox machine, if you remember those. And of course the Xerox, the pictures were just stuck on a Xerox, copied and you remember Xerox images, some black, some white and so on. Which I didn't realize that the publisher sent this Xerox book to the king. And the message I got back from the King, which I was horrified that he was sent the Xerox book, the message I got back from the king was that the book is wonderful, but he notices that there were some hairs and smudges on some of the pictures. Was that how it was going to be in the final book? So of course he's looking at all these Xeroxes thinking it's the final printer's proof. So there was a funny conclusion in that. But the nice thing was, the book was presented to the king and he absolutely loved this book. I mean, he was gigantically enthusiastic about the book. He said it was everything that he hoped it would be. So it was a successful project. It was successful for me because it was typical of me to do landscape, still life, portraits of famous people in Morocco, but also porters, you know, porters to kings you know. So it was a real mountains to sand dunes to the bark of a palm tree, you know. That was how I approached it. It was a true kaiya diary of that period I had in Morocco. And it really showed my love of the country and the people. (soothing drum music)

Class Description



IN THIS CLASS YOU'LL LEARN:

  • Albert’s tips and tricks on landscape, fashion, portraiture and still life photography.
  • Simple lighting techniques using natural light and studio light
  • Simple tips on preparing for portrait shoots
  • How to create incredible portraits using just two $10 bulbs
  • Albert’s tips and tricks on landscape, fashion, portraiture and still life photography.
  • Simple lighting techniques using natural light and studio light
  • Simple tips on preparing for portrait shoots
  • How to create incredible portraits using just two $10 bulbs


ABOUT ALBERT’S CLASS:

Learn how Albert creates his amazing photographs on location and in the studio using simple explanations.

Albert reveals his shoot secrets on how he photographs Presidents, Hollywood stars, music’s greatest artists, landscapes, nudes, chimpanzees and still life. We follow him on location in Morocco, Paris and in his studio in New York. You will find out where he suggests you look to get inspiration, how to approach a portrait session, see how to light like Albert.

We show you exactly how Albert works on these images after the shoot, it’s all about Albert giving you his ideas and advice and helping you see and create better images for yourself.

It’s not about what camera to use, it’s about how to see and develop ideas, concepts and narrative to make stunning photographs.

As Albert says..."You have to stay switched on"

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Reviews

Richard A. Heckler
 

"Unless you're Mozart"...this course is an invaluable asset. I'm a pro, humanitarian/documentary photographer, & wilderness...and I've learned much from the 40+ sessions here. This is truly a Master Class...next best thing to being with Albert. And although I could watch studio sessions forever, this course offered a very balanced curriculum of technical information, artistic encouragement and guidance, and a open, generous window into the thinking of a gifted artist and photographer, sifted from decades of first class experience. Kudos to all involved. Excellent!

a Creativelive Student
 

I purchased my first CreativeLive class in 2011 and have continued to purchase many classes over the years. I have learned so much from the many great instructors. This one is not a technical class that will tell you to set your camera at f4, 1/60, ISO 400 and you can get this shot. If you are looking for that, there are many other options. If you have a solid working knowledge of photography, this class is so much more. The way it was filmed is like you are there with him in conversation or in the room with him watching him shoot. To see and understand the how and why he does what he does. Not to take anything away from other classes that have helped to give me a strong understanding of photography, this is my favorite CreativeLive class so far.