As a pictorial introduction to the ASMP’s three new national board members, the ASMP Bulletin’s Spring 2010 issue featured examples of their work at the top of the table of contents page. Featured here, we include more about their backgrounds and outlook plus a portfolio of signature images.
Resides: San Diego, CA
Chapter: San Diego
Photographic Specialty: This has varied throughout my career and seems to change every 3 or 4 years. At present I find myself doing a lot of corporate environmental portraiture.
ASMP Member Since 2003
Web site: www.lockphoto.com
All images in this article are © Kevin Lock
What is your favorite image from your own work to date and why does it appeal to you?
One of my favorite images from my own work is that of “Beto,” included here. This was taken in the early 90’s while I was on assignment assisting a stock photographer in Ensenada, Mexico. At the end of the day’s shoot, we grabbed some fish tacos at Pacifico’s on the coast. While everyone was finishing up their meal, I was able to wander off with my Speed Graphlex 4x5 camera, a tripod and a box of Polaroid 55 film. I decided to shoot some of the boats being worked on along the beach. While I was setting up my camera, a man walked up and began speaking to me in Spanish. My Spanish was poor but I figured out that he wanted me to include him in the scene I had already focused on. He sat down and right before I released the shutter he reached up to grab the propeller. I pulled the Polaroid and handed it to him to keep as I gently placed the negative in a container of water that I had brought along. This was probably the first time an image had come together without me trying to chase or force it. That was a great feeling for me. An unexpected find… It is also my first “award winning” image. Nothing quite like the first time.
What is your favorite image of all time created by another photographer and what do you admire about it?
There are so many images that I love. One of my favorites is called “Mosa- Mohave”. I first saw this print hanging on my godmother’s wall in Washington DC back in the early 70’s. I fell in love with the young girl, who appeared to be crying. I was moved by her elegance and the overall feeling of sadness that I imagined all Native Americans felt having had their land taken from them. Many years later, I was thumbing through one of Edward Curtis’s books on Native Americans and realized that it was the same image. Subsequently I ran across the image in a museum souvenir shop on a post card. As a child I had no idea that it was a famous image taken by a famous photographer. I bought the post card and sent it to my godmother. I shared with her how the image had affected me as a young child and how beautiful I thought it was. The next time I visited with her, I asked if she would consider letting me purchase the print. A few years went by with no answer. On another trip through Texas I stopped in and spent a few days with her. As I prepared to leave her house and head back to California, she presented me with a gift-a book of Curtis’s work. In the book was a note saying that I could have the original print, I just had to pick it up from her beach house on the east coast. I look forward to hours of staring into that young woman’s eyes and sharing her presence with my family and guests.
What is your favorite photographic subject and conditions for image capture?
I began my career in photography as a photojournalist. Almost instantaneously, I fell in love with documentary photography, photo stories and street photography. I find that exploring a new environment brings me back to the fun of discovery and the joy of capturing. It is what drew me to photography in the first place. My preference is wandering the earth, camera in hand.
Please describe your biggest photographic achievement to date.
I have survived.
What was your most challenging shoot and what made it difficult?
One of my most challenging and rewarding shoots was photographing Jackie Chan. Jackie had been giving interviews and promoting the release of his upcoming movie, “Rush Hour 2.” He had been at it all day, giving over 20 interviews. I was squeezed in at the last minute to shoot him as he was heading out to dinner. As Jackie was finishing up his last interview, I was ushered into a hotel room where one of his assistants was staying. The room was a mess, with clothes, luggage, dishes and personal items strewn all over. My two assistants, the art director and I scrambled to clean the room. We picked three different backgrounds in the room, moved an armoire and put in place three separate lighting setups. We made a few Polaroids and nothing seemed to work. I thought my photographic career was about to come to a sudden end. In walks Jackie. I shake his hand and ask him how he is. His response: “Tired.”
Then in came his agent. She inspected each of the lighting set ups and said, “No… No… And no…” I could not believe it. I was dead in the water. I was there to shoot a magazine cover, only had five minutes and all my preparation was in vain. My only response was, “Okay, where would you like me to shoot Mr. Chan?”
On the balcony.
My heart sank. I had looked out there earlier and the sky was a mess and the light was harsh. I knew we would have a very hard time with shadows as I did not have a reflector or any portable strobes with me. I had no choice. My response was, “That will be fine.”
We stepped out on the balcony. To my amazement, the sky had become overcast. The light was now flat and even. Jackie was very animated and sprang to life as the fans below cheered him on. At one point he started to climb up and stand on the edge of the railing. I thought for a minute that I might be taking the last pictures of Jackie as we were on the 10th floor. His agent talked him down. I was relieved as I did not want to be known as the photographer that killed an icon in the action movie industry.
Can you tell us about a particularly troublesome situation involving photography that you’ve encountered in the past with and how you overcame it?
Pricing used to be a troublesome situation for me personally. Ultimately there is no definitive right or wrong way of figuring what one’s personal creativity is worth; however, I have found that surrounding myself with great photographers and being involved with the ASMP has provided an open and ongoing discussion regarding our profession and the markets in which we work. This has helped ease the pain of putting a value on my work. Today I am very comfortable asking for the appropriate compensation.
What are the biggest challenges photographers are facing today, and how do you think the ASMP can help?
The biggest challenges photographers face today are a perpetually changing industry, the protection of their copyrighted creations, and the development of sound business practices. I believe that the ASMP is doing a fantastic job in their programming to address these challenges. I would like to see this continue with the addition of SB3 and the return of annual or biennial Leadership Conference.
What is the ASMP’s role as a trade organization in helping members manage the decline in the photography industry?
The ASMP must continue to reach out to the photographic community at large to provide informative programming and educate our peers. We must show our members new ways to improve their photographic skills, strengthen business practices and enable them to become better-refined photographers. We must assist in learning new techniques and practices that help to sustain our businesses, increase our potential, ultimately augmenting our profession and guiding our members toward success.
How valuable do you think Find A Photographer (FAP) is for members? Should the ASMP continue to promote FAP on a regular basis?
FAP is an invaluable asset that the ASMP should continue to promote vigorously. I believe our members are our best resource, and it is imperative that we reward our members by continuing to advance what I feel is one of the ASMP’s best products, FAP. I hope to be a part of the team that will take FAP to a new level of success. We will convince both those that hire photographers and the photographic community that FAP is where the search begins when seeking exceptional photographers.
How should the ASMP stay current with the changes in how we communicate?
The ASMP is doing very well with regular communication to our membership. In order to stay up-to-date, we must continue to be open to a rapidly changing medium and explore new ways for social media to assist in our daily business.
Directors serve for 3 years, or 6 years if reelected. How do you see the ASMP 3 years from now? 6 years from now?
The ASMP is going strong. In 3-6 years I see the ASMP continuing to be an effective advocate for photographers rights, vigilant in the protection of our members’ copyright, and a dominant resource for promoting photographers on an international level. I believe FAP will become a leading source for finding quality photographers. I believe the ASMP will finally be able to rest contented as the chapter on Orphan Rights comes to a respectable close.
What is your stance on copyright issues? In particular, is there a place for copyright in the “new” economy?
The ASMP’s advocacy and protection of copyright is what originally prompted and persuaded me to join the organization. Copyright in any economy reserves rights for artistic talents and individual creativity as it relates to intellectual property. The ASMP should continue to lead the fight in protecting all photographers’ copyright.
How do you propose to better serve those loyal members who live too far away to make regular weeknight meetings in the big cities?
I would suggest opening the discussion on this matter to the membership as a whole. Create a committee to investigate this situation and ultimately contact the members who live far away and ask them what we can do to better serve them. Initially I believe the chapters should reach out to their respective members and make an effort to include their loyal members. In San Diego we have moved our meetings around town and up to 30 miles away from our regular meeting locations to accommodate those who are geographically challenged. This has made a difference. Our efforts were appreciated and did not go unnoticed.
Do you feel that chapters should receive increased support? If so, how do you propose structuring this?
I believe that ASMP national has been providing excellent support to the San Diego chapter. If the question is about financial support, perhaps it would be appropriate to increase financial support for those chapters that are struggling. I would be willing to explore this possibility with the board of directors.