Picture Editor: Rachael Clark
Art Director: Will Jack
Photographer: Emily Shur
Heidi: What was it like to direct the talent, I’d imagine it’s like flipping a switch, and he’s on. How much interaction did you two have?
Emily: We had a good amount of interaction. It’s true that photographing someone at Will’s level is a lot like flipping a switch, but there has to be a good relationship between photographer and subject regardless. He doesn’t need much direction from me, but I do think that he (and most talent) is relying on me to let him know if something isn’t working. I think a thumbs up, a thumbs down, or a suggestion on how to make the picture better is always appreciated, and that’s part of the trust one builds as a photographer. The concepts had been approved ahead of time so we were all aware of the different shots. We would shoot a little, and then sometimes Will would want to see the pictures. Sometimes he would make adjustments after he looked at a few. We’d go back to shooting and he would slightly change his face or body language. I think of subjects like Will as a gift. It’s so amazing to photograph someone who is so naturally talented as a performer. The trick is to make sure the end result is worthy of such a generous gift.
Since he’s been so heavily photographed was there pressure to try and make this shoot stand out?
There’s always pressure to make a shoot stand out. Always. One thing I had going for me with this one was that this shoot was in character as Ron Burgundy which hadn’t been done that much (at least in the past 10 years or so) at the time. I LOVE Anchorman and was beyond excited to shoot Ron Burgundy in all of his glory. I mean, Baxter was there and everything. I was admittedly very nervous before the shoot which is pretty normal for me. I hate that I get so nervous, but I suppose that means I care a lot.
What sort of direction did the magazine give you?
The magazine actually gave quite a bit of direction, which I like. They came up with most of the shots we did ahead of time. The general idea was to do an old school “At Home With…” shoot you might have seen in past issues of Life Magazine with someone like Frank Sinatra. The shoot would be Frank, or in this case Ron, going about his daily business at home being effortlessly cool, but of course with a sense of humor. They sent a pretty detailed PDF with reference images and a shot list. I loved all of it which made me even more excited about the shoot.
A lot of your work has a sparkle of humor, but I wouldn’t call you overtly animated / funny. How does your own personality transcend your work?
Hey, I am funny! It’s true that I’m not overly animated, loud, or hyper….I’m pretty mellow, but I am funny and more importantly, I think I can recognize funny in photographic form. I don’t take pictures because I aspire to be a comedian or an actor or a model. I take pictures because I want to be the best photographer I can be. Photographing a joke is very different than hearing a joke or seeing a sequence of events that results in a laugh. The viewer is seeing a single frame and that’s it. So, the joke needs to be readable in that one frame. It’s not easy, and not even all funny people are good at being funny in still photographs. So, it’s especially awesome when I have the opportunity to photograph someone who gets the process of still photography.
You regularly update your blog, with long written entries as well which I enjoy. Describe this creative outlet for you, do you update on a schedule or when it strikes you?
I really only write when the mood strikes. I used to do it more than I do now, but I try to keep up with it as much as I can. It’s pretty time consuming because I don’t just write stream of consciousness style. I go back re-read things like 4-5 times and make little changes each time. If I don’t have time to write I’ll just post images – outtakes, published images, and personal work. I post images that I like and see which ones other people respond to the most. I think blogs are a good sounding board for new work.