Posts Tagged ‘photographer’

“Spending too much energy romanticizing the past or dreaming about the future can come at the expense of appreciating today.”
Casey Neistat
What Just Happened? 


Many years ago I crossed paths with Orlando-based photographer Bill Bachmann who had one of those jobs that creative people dream about—get paid to travel around the world taking photos. He was a tall guy with a dynamic personality, and incredibly talented.

He invited me to his home studio to talk about a project and I was instantly impressed with his photos that were from everywhere on your bucket list (and a few that aren’t). He gave me a signed copy of one of his travel books before I left that day and our paths unfortunately never crossed again.

Last year, I wondered what he was up to and I found out he died from cancer in 2017. (His obituary said that he’d traveled to 200 countries, authored 15 books, and photographed five U.S. presidents.)

On the last day of 2019 I found myself driving by a cemetery where I knew he was buried and I decided to pull into the cemetery to see if I could find his mausoleum. Because mausoleums have a way of standing out it only took me about a two minutes to find it.

I’m one of those people who finds peace in cemeteries. They remind us of the people who’ve gone before us, and of our own mortality. It puts things in perspective.

This puts things in perspective, too . . . a few days ago I was working out when a old movie started on TCM and I realized as I watched the opening credits that I did not recognize a single name of anyone who worked on the movie.

Let’s all get back to work this new year, not forgetting to work on building lasting relationships with the ones we love.

Scott W. Smith




Read Full Post »

“If Indiana Jones were a cameraman his name would be Scott Duncan.”
Moe Shore
Abel Cine blog post by Moe Shore 

“I have several cameraman that I’m close to—that I respect and love, but there’s Scott [Duncan]—and then there’s everyone great, and then there’s everyone else.”
Natalie Jowett
Producer-ESPN/Maggie Vision

There are some talented shooters who have made a bigger name for themselves by being on the forefront of embracing social media. These days some of those creative people probably make more money teaching workshops and getting paid equipment endorsements than actual shooting assignments.

Then there’s Scott Duncan. A true director/cameraman/photographer rock star. And though he’s kind of mix of Lance Armstrong and Bob Marley, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of him or his companies Scott Duncan Films/Other Films. But he’s a good source of inspiration of what one can do with a camera, so I’ll spend two or three days showing some of his work.

His resume is deep. He’s shot for ESPN, Survivor, The Apprentice, BMW, Ford, IZOD, and five different Olympics. His work has taken him around the world working with not only high-profile clients, but with a diverse group of high-profile people.

Once you see his work, you won’t be surprised that he’s also won eight Emmy Awards—but you may be surprised that he’s based in Iowa City, Iowa. (With a presence in L.A.)

And though we only live an hour a part, I’ve actually never met him. I first heard his name in 2004 when I was on a shoot in Colorado Springs and met an ABC producer who when she found I was from Iowa said, “Oh, you must know Scott Duncan.” I had never heard his name before that. I then became aware of his work and have even had two cameraman friends in Orlando (Mike Murray & Mike McAleenan) who’ve worked with Scott on various Survivor gigs around the world.

Enjoy. (The best seven minutes you’ll probably have today.)

Related post: 10 Cinematography TIps (Roger Deakins) 

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »


You may not know the name Michael Muller, but you probably know his work. It would be hard to miss the ubiquitous face and claw of Hugh Jackman on the movie poster for X-Men Origins; Wolverine. Muller is the photographer who took that photo.

Muller started out getting paid to shoot as a fifteen year old shooting snowboarders.  He eventually found his way to L.A. where he attended Otis College of Art and Design.  But like a lot of creative and passionate souls he didn’t quite flourish in the classroom.

“After that first semester I went to the guidance consoler and I said what do I need a diploma for? And he said basically to teach.  So I don’t need to show a diploma or a piece of paper from Brooks or the Art Center or some school to get a job? And they we’re like. ‘no.’ And I was like great. And I left.

And I went right from there and I started testing models and friends of mine that were actors and in bands. I had a lot of problems with school because I had a lot teachers tell me what I was doing wrong or ‘Don’t do it this way.’ I never got the zone system… And so I quit and basically was paid to learn by shooting up-and-coming models and they’d pay me. And I’d try new films and I’d learn that way. So I sort of got paid to learn instead of paying to learn.

My experience with school is they teach you the box. They teach you the laws, they teach you the rules and they critique you. So by the time you walk out of there -–you’re so insecure—because they put your photo up in front of the class and everyone critiques it. What’s wrong with it is that you question everything you do – and you’re left with a quarter million-dollar debt…so I just went out and did it on my own.” 
Micheal Muller
                                                                      LightSource Photography Podcast 
                                                                      with Bill Crawford & Ed Hidden


Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: