I'm not sure how much of a fan I am of that title. I'm not about to change it though because, too much work right there.
Recently I began working with a better photographer than myself in hopes of acquiring more knowledge. I also would like to be able to help out in some way so it's not just a one-way transaction because who likes those? What this opportunity has given me, is the chance to work in a fully functioning studio with professional mentorship. I can't even begin to describe what a great feeling it is to be able to be around a creative sphere. Carlton Wolfe has essentially become my mentor, advisor, teacher, and friend and it all started with a mutual understanding that we both don't like stupid.
My first time working with him was a few weeks go assisting on a shoot he had. That day was an eye-opening experience for me. I've assisted on shoots before, but the photographers I assisted were, for lack of a better term, horrible people. The first person I assisted was doing a nude shoot and when I asked about his thinking behind some of his shots his answer was so displeasing and disheartening that I just left. "I'm just doing this so I can sleep with her or at the very least get some good p***y shots". Why the hell would you feel so comfortable with that being a good enough answer to tell anyone? Even if that's your reason, keep that shit to yourself man. It's people like that guy why I began realising how hard it is to be able to get models willing to do nude photography without the sense of feeling scared.
"I'm just doing this so I can sleep with her or at the very least get some good p***y shots"
The other person I worked with just didn't teach me anything professional. As in he didn't/wouldn't teach me the technical aspects behind some of his choices. In his words "you're going to have to figure shit out on your own. I'm not going to tell you my secrets so you can copy them and get jobs that should be mine. I'll sue you if you ever do". After that experience, I realised that there are two types of people I want to stay away from. I damn sure don't want to be around the perv who wants to just sleep with women and the I'm too scared of teaching people my tricks person. These kinds of people I realised are only in photography for themselves and go about doing the craft the wrong way. What I also learned is that the professional arena is full of people like this. Oy Vey!
I'm not going to tell you my secrets so you can copy them and get jobs that should be mine. I'll sue you if you ever do"
In steps Mr Wolfe and immediately I found a person who is not only willing to teach but is all about helping. I first met him after I was invited to participate in a portraiture project with IGDC for ExposedDC. Carlton was the one supplying the equipment for myself, James Jackson and Phil Martin to use. For the event, we were going to be using a lot of equipment (which turns out wasn't that much and I wanted a lot more than needed) and I had to drive out to HOIST (Carlton's Studio) to pick up the gear. You ever walk into a candy shop and just want everything? Yea that was me when I walked into HOIST and no shit I immediately fell in love (with the equipment) and I was beside myself with joy. I'm not the bravest person when it comes to asking people for things but I was so full of joy that I made the decision to ask Carlton if I could be his assistant.
It all started with a mutual understanding that we both don't like stupid...
So no shit there I was a few weeks later helping out on a shoot and guess what, I LEARNED SO MUCH! I didn't even have to ask questions, Carlton began explaining why he was doing what he was doing and what effect he was going for. Let me tell you, it was such a breath of fresh air being around a creative person and learning something. Fast-forward a few weeks later and I'm doing a shoot and here he was, the professional shooter assisting me on my shoot. I later learned there is a third kind of photographer and that kind of photographer is the kind I want to be around and will help out if I ever am needed.
On the shoot I did for myself that Carlton was my assistant for, I learned so many things. I thought I had an understand of light and how light fall off works and even thought I knew a thing or two about the exposure triangle. Yea no, it turns out I didn't know jack and shit but all I had to do was ask questions and Carlton was there helping me set up. What I love the most about how he teaches, is that he lets me do my thing and then either criticizes or asks me what I want to achieve. Then you know what he does, he helps me. GO FIGURE!
It's thanks to him that I was able to walk away from that studio session with images that I am proud of and excited to spend hours editing. Now, not only am I his assistant, but I am also going to be managing his social media. So I've moved on up in the world and making plans for some huge things coming up in the future.