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Photographing Jack Nicholson

Lesson 44 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

Photographing Jack Nicholson

Lesson 44 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

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Lesson Info

44. Photographing Jack Nicholson

A Jack Nicholson photoshoot for Rolling Stone. Albert explains how the legendary snowy shot came to be, and gives you an insight into how he photographed the iconic actor and filmmaker.

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

Photographing Jack Nicholson

(uptempo music) So, this is another shot of mine from quite a few years ago of Jack Nicholson, and it's quite a funny story because I arrived at his house in Aspen. I was told to be there at 8:30 and we arrived right on time. This shooting was for Rolling Stone. And I arrived at 8:30 and nobody replied and I checked the address and so eventually he came to the door. And his hair was all over the place, he was still sleeping. And he said, "Who the hell are you?" So I said, "Well, we're here to photograph you for Rolling Stone." And he said, "Oh my God, I forgot all about it." He said, "Come in, come in." So, we went into the kitchen and he's halfway up a mountain there. And his kitchen had a big window looking outside to the mountains. And he looked outside and he said, "Oh my God," he said, "it's snowing." Now, this was wintertime in Aspen and they had not had any snow, so, of course, it was a disaster. Then the snow started really coming down, so, this was a little bit of luck that ...

I had this. So I did a couple of shots with him, and I said, "Let's do a shot in the garden in a chair." We went out there and he said, I was looking a little bit worried, and he said, "What's wrong?" I said, "Well, it's going to take a while for you there to just get covered in snow and I like the idea that you've been sitting in the snow for a long time." It was close to the time of the movie The Shining, so, I said, "It will take a little bit of time." He said, "Oh, that's fine, don't worry about it." He took me back into his kitchen and his maid arrived and he had the maid cook me and my assistant pancakes, bacon and eggs. So I actually sat in his kitchen having pancakes, bacon and eggs when he went out and sat in the garden for half an hour, just sitting still, not really moving at all, sitting in the snow, waiting for the snow to pile up on him. So of course, I wolfed down the breakfast and then went out with the camera, it was a Hasselblad shot. I remember it as being a 60mm lens and we got - we got the shot. And of course, he's a wonderful guy to shoot because he's a little bit magical, he's charismatic, and he just had that little smile and he was, of course, totally happy about the snow. So in this case here, of course, the lighting's natural, it's just what was there and of course by the time the snow fell, I had a beautiful fill, it just was white everywhere, so that made it very easy. There's no artificial lighting, there's no strobe in this or anything, it's just basically natural light. Sometimes you get a little bit of luck and here the luck that I had was that it was snowing, so not only did I get a nice breakfast, but I also got a good shot of Jack Nicholson. (uptempo music) Very often, you're faced with, "Are you going to do it in color or black and white?" Now, of course, it's really, for a young photographer now, that is a digital camera is not really a consideration because when I'm shooting now, I'm shooting all color files and keeping in mind I might want to go to black and white, but it's very easy to make that transition in digital between color and black and white. Now back then, when I did the Jack Nicholson shot, I simply shot two rolls of color and two rolls of black and white. And in the end, the magazine used the shot in color because it was for the cover of Rolling Stone and I covered the shot, more or less, for myself. I was pretty sure that they would use the color so I wanted to make sure that I had at least two rolls of film in black and white. And you say, "Well why not just convert the color?" Back then, converting color film to black and white shots was a little bit painful and there was definitely a loss, you would lose resolution if you did that. So back then, a lot of times, you shot color film and some black and white coverage or black and white and some color coverage. (uptempo music)

Ratings and 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.

Student Work

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