Friday, July 29, 2016

Chris Buck

Chris Buck, Parkdale, Oct. 1989

IT'S MY FRIEND CHRIS BUCK'S BIRTHDAY TODAY, and in keeping with a tradition at this blog, I'm posting some more photos of him. As I wrote in the first birthday post, Chris was my subject more than anyone else in our early years as photographers, and I have this surplus of photos of him, back when we were under the influence (of Irving Penn.)

The shot at the top was taken in my Parkdale loft not long after we moved in, after I'd bought my first roll of white seamless paper and a set of strobes and started trying to figure out high-key lighting. If it looks like an album cover shoot outtake, that's probably because a lot of the photography I looked at was on record jackets and CD booklets; at this point in my career getting my work on an album sleeve was a cherished ambition.

I suppose you'd call this sort of pose "mock heroic." we tried on a lot of poses while shooting each other for our lighting and film tests; just how heroic or mocking we looked was usually a hit and miss matter.

Chris Buck, Toronto, Sept. 1988

This shot was taken a year earlier, in the hallway of a hotel (I'm guessing the Park Plaza, now the Park Hyatt) while Chris and I waited around to shoot actors and directors at the film festival. A pretty smoldering look, don't you think? It didn't have anything to do with me.

Chris Buck, Parkdale, Oct. 1989

Back in my Parkdale studio again, and another shot from the same session that produced the photo at the top. These were attempts to solve two problems - capturing action, and copying the look of Robert Longo's "Men in the Cities" series. I was a big fan of Longo at the time, and knew that this series of drawings had begun with photos he took on the roof of his New York City apartment, and I wanted to see if I could catch the halfway point - photos that looked more like the drawings.

What can I say - it was the '80s.

Chris Buck, Toronto, Sept. 2015

The final shot is more recent - part of a portrait session we did last year to go with an interview I made with Chris (still unpublished.) He was in town for a job, staying at an Airbnb in the east end, and I sat down with him for an hour-long chat, inspired mostly by a similar interview we did twenty-five years earlier, just before Chris moved to New York City.

After the interview and shoot, Chris and I went for lunch and he showed me his rough edit of photos for Uneasy, the retrospective collection of his portraits that he's publishing later this year. His Kickstarter for the project did very well, and after teasing us with a book of portraits of invisible celebrities, we'll finally get a chance to see the best of Chris' portrait work collected in one place.

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