Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Mansell discussed on Eric Metaxas
I commissioned portraits of hundreds of public figures, including world leaders such as Saint Pope, John Paul the second Saint Teresa of Calcutta Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher to entertainers like Ella. Fitzgerald, Mick Jagger, BB king Luchino Pavarotti. His architects of peace project is permanently exhibited at the national civil rights museum. Marquette university, the Hoover institute archives at Stanford and university in Mexico City and Santa Clara university while self taught his early mentors included Ansel Adams, and Richard Avedon. Welcome michael. And thank you for the honor of your time. Let's get started with your early interesting. Photography and your interactions with Ansel Adams and Richard Avedon. We'll Tom first of all it's a pleasure to be here with you. And when it got out of college, I went to Saint Mary's college, just like my father, and I thought I was going to go into the graphic arts field, and I had a really difficult time. Trying to find something creative creative job that would really be inspiring. And it was at that time that I saw an exhibit of Ansel Adams work at the Oakland museum that greatly inspired me. In fact, I was mesmerized by his pictures of Yosemite valley and somebody at the gallery had told me that answer lived in Carmel. So that very next Monday morning. I called four one one information up for a listing on Ansel Adams and sure enough he was listed. I made the phone call. He picked up the phone and invited me to come down. And that's how I got into photography was learning for Mansell himself. And what intrigued you at first? What was it the catcher, Pat, I think it was really the. The sense of black and white the clarity the sharpness the dramatic nature of of the pictures that he took and it was really just stunning. It was almost an epiphany moment for me to view, his photographs and certainly of Yosemite, which was always a favourite family vacation of ours. And you know, something that I was very familiar with. But to see those particular pictures, Tom was just so inspirational to me, and then to meet him was really quite extraordinary. And I really go back to those days thinking that that was really paving the road for me getting into in fact, there are some things that I learned for Mansell that still stick with me today such as the idea of provisional ization, which is almost a faith filled sort of message to visualize in my world to visualize the final picture before you even take it. But that could be applied to anything in business in a way to have that kind of conviction at your heart. Along paired with inspiration and hard work that must be a gift though. I when you talk about visualization being a part-time golfer. Visualization visualization is a big deal and coughing where you can see the ball landing on the green. And so on you hear the pro golfers talk about it a great deal. But I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to visualize a photograph before you've even put it together. And I also do a little oil painting. And I know that in whether it's a photograph or an oil painting. There's a number of problems that have to be solved one is the composition. Values curse black and white such. I've never worked in black and white or maybe talk a little bit about first of all let me stop you right there because I can totally identify with my golf game in the same way, it free virtualization doesn't translate to my golf game either. But I have to say it is almost like a faith based type of precept in terms of provincial association. I choose black and white more often than color, just because I think it strips away the distractions of color, so black and white for me is is much more powerful. In terms of going rate to the subject rate to that emotion bigger trying to translate in terms of photographing somebody, and I would say that there's always a bit of a disconnect with somebody that you meet in person that you might see on the screen or on the stage say it's an entertainer. There's always a little bit of a disconnect when you meet them face to face because their three dimensional and they look different in person. There may be some. Some characteristic that you pick up in person that you didn't notice before. So those things you take into account very quickly. And in regard to provision ation. I would say that probably most of my most favorite photographs were visualized before I even met the individual. So it may be somebody well known that for the most part is a lot of my subjects. They're very well known. So for me, it's very easy to do some research ahead of time. But I would say that I have a notion of the lighting what type of side of the face. I'm gonna light. I what side would go into shadow how I would pose that individual in a way that's going to be natural. But what's most important is really bringing across that particular emotion to make it real. I would never come into a situation with somebody and say tell me cheese or say some particular word back to me just to try to enlighten them in some way to bring across. Promotion that way. I would always want to have a conversation with them face to face with them sitting across the table is if you and I were talking even now and tried to pull out certain emotions in the face. That would be a characteristic of your personality, and how did Richard Avedon across your path will you know, after years of working with Ansel Adams. I really learned. I had a great aptitude of what it took to make a good composition and a good execution of of a photograph. In other words, a good exposure something that was well lit something wasn't underexposed or overexposed. But I realized after years of working with him. There was no way that I was going to be making a living doing nature photography. So I had always been interested in people. So I was very drawn to meet with Richard Avedon on it wasn't as easy as picking up the phone and calling Ansel Adams. It took me a couple of weeks to get a short meeting with him at a studio in New York. But that was really the epitome moment I needed to come back and to be fully immersed in being a portrait photographer. He talked to me a lot about the psychology. Gee that exist between subjects so in other words, really being face to face with that subject as I was saying earlier in terms of pulling out different types of emotions that are really true expressions of that individual as opposed to trying to manipulate the situation. Well, I know that I am an amateur photographer. Like everybody is today now with the smartphone. I guess everybody's taking pictures, but there are certain pictures take of people, I know, and when I see them I really feel good because I feel I really capture who they are. And it would seem to me that when you're doing portraiture that this intimacy emits a very intimate medium, certainly and getting to know them as extremely important to capture them on film. You just don't snap a picture. But you're from what I just heard you say, you're you've already envisioning how you want to shoot this. Maybe you can let us amateurs in a little bit more. What you do to get yourself prepared for the really good little. I always tell people that being a good photography photographer. It's much more about being a good psychologist as opposed to being somebody who's technically well versed or somebody who's going to be good at lighting all those kinds of things can come into play and enhance a picture. But if you don't have the essence of of some particular trait in an individual, then it's all for not. So I really think in terms of of exploring somebody it's a matter of being curious about that individual fortunately in my world. There's a lot of information on the people of the subjects that I photograph. So it's very easy for me to do some research. If it's somebody that I don't know I'm inherently curious about that individual, and I'll ask them questions and soon that space is sort of dispelled to the point that we're just talking face to face. That's great. And we're gonna come back and talk some more about not only the business of photography and how you've built your business. But also about some of the joys you've had along the way we need to take a break. And when we return we'll continue with Michael copy one of our nation's premier portrait,.