Of all the ways to get your foot in the door at a magazine this is certainly a very good one (of course that depends on what it’s like to be a first assistant but I wouldn’t know about that). I know photographers don’t like to be known as “former first assistants to so and so photographer” (especially when their styles look similar, as they inevitably do) but it certainly has an impact on me when I hear about it.
When I first started working with Martin Schoeller he was Annie’s former first and boy did he have some great stories to tell. Interestingly, Martin’s former first has given up photography to become a helicopter pilot… but I don’t think it has anything to do with his experience as an assistant. Maybe more to do with his experience trying to become a professional photographer.
I’ve recently started working with Dan Winters current first (guess there’s not a lot of work down there in Austin so he’s got two jobs) and I’ve had nothing but great results.
An up and coming young editorial photographer dropped by the office today to give me film from a small shoot he did. He got his start in action sports so when he reached into his pack to show me the new camera he’s been shooting with wasn’t I surprised to see him pull out a brand spankin new 4×5.
Sure, digital has taken over the photography world but I still love seeing film.
Antonin is one of my favorite photographers of all time. I love giving him an assignment, especially something that’s not conflict related, because you’re guaranteed two things. 1. Amazing photography. 2. A fight with the editor. There’s really no two ways about it, Antonin’s photos are not conventional and most of us work at magazines that need and want and mostly publish conventional photography so there’s gonna be a fight with the editor(s) to get the good one’s published. At least, when you’re making the assignment, the fight is a long way off and all you think about is the glorious frames you will receive and the many endless possibilities for amazing 20 page layouts.