One Sunny Afternoon

by Reviewer Rob

Me at 25.
Me at 25, in a “found photo” I’d forgotten about and recently dug out of my archives again.

Cell phone pic of a 4×5 print of me at 25 years-old, summer of 1989: I was driving through La Jolla one day, probably a weekend, and had my Nikon FM2 with a 50mm f1.4 on it with me. I had recently purchased the lens at the local used camera shop in Carlsbad where I lived and was out trying the new hyperfast glass on scenery when I stooped and parked at ‘Euro Beach’, as Windansea came to be called later. From the top of the stairs north of the shack I saw someone I knew sitting on the sand with a couple of girls who I didn’t know, and I walked down to say hi. Robert Maxwell was a local fashion photographer who I met through Trevor Watson at Revolt In Style’s weekly Thursday night “Berlin” DJ night at Sybil’s Down Under where I was shooting club photos for the magazine. He was a few years older than me, a much better photographer and really well known. I can say things haven’t changed in that regard almost 30 years later. I’d only been doing photos of people and models and portraiture seriously for a short while at this point, maybe less than a year, so I was really green and hadn’t started using model’s releases on shoots. I had no idea what they were or why they were important. Robert Maxwell must have known this because he spontaneously handed me a blank model’s release form — which for some reason he had with him on the sand — and said I “should start using models releases”. I kept it, later xerox copied it and immediately began having models sign them during every shoot.

We spoke for a few moments more before he asked to take a picture of me with my camera. Usually when people asked me this I’d say no because at the time I always wanted to ‘take the photo and not be in the photo’ (weird, I know), but this was different, and this is the shot that resulted. The piece of paper in my hand I’m shielding my eyes from the sun with is the blank model’s release Maxwell handed to me. I rarely like photos of me but I like this for these reasons, plus it’s also a good shot… Perfectly in manual focus, exposed correctly and well framed. He got it right the first time.

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