Herman Leonard: Coolest Guy in the World.

Filed under Uncategorized • Written by Philip DeFalco @ 12:13 am

Herman Leonard

Last Friday night I was lucky enough to attend the opening of the Herman Leonard exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prospect Street in La Jolla. Herman Leonard is perhaps best known for his iconic images of Jazz musicians in the during the 1940’s and 50’s. His love of photography and music combined to inspire a beautiful backlit style with incredible feeling. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Leonard by name, no doubt you have seen his images: Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Duke Ellington….and on and on. (Oh, and Albert Einstein.)

It is worth whatever you have to do to see prints like his first-hand. I have to confess that I haven’t unwrapped a roll of film in almost ten years, but one minute in the gallery suddenly made me homesick for it. Herman shot with sheet film using the speed-graph cameras of the day. That large piece of film yields just stunning amounts of detail. The beauty is in the details almost as much as it is in the character of his subjects. His approach and the depth he creates with backlight is timeless.

You can imagine what a joy it was to actually meet the photographer himself during the reception! Herman came out for the opening, kindly answering any and all questions and laughing non-stop. He allowed me to impose on him for a picture in the gallery, which I had to work up the nerve to ask for. He couldn’t have been nicer. He said in an interview on KPBS the other day that people often take photographs with little regard for the backgrounds and they wind up with telophone poles coming out of people’s heads….well, I just wound up with picture frames instead. (check out the interview from “These Days”) I believe most in attendance took advantage of the opportunity to pick up a copy of Mr. Leonards’ most recent book “Jazz, Giants, and Journeys” I have to share what my inscription reads: “For Philip- Keep shooting, use film, but above all, Enjoy the music!” How cool is that?

Best Year Ever

Filed under Uncategorized • Written by Philip DeFalco @ 12:10 am

Even though January isn’t exactly the busiest month of the year for weddings, I’m still keeping busy with all kinds of projects. 2008 is shaping up to be my best year yet as I already have twice as many weddings on the books as I did last year at this time. (Whooo Hooo!) I’m looking forward to shooting in some places that I haven’t shot before, like the La Jolla Country Club and the Park Plaza in Los Angeles. Some of the familiar places are changing too, such as the new ceremony space (with waterfall!) going in at L’Auberge in Del Mar. If you’re thinking of inquiring about your date, please do. I’ll be happy to check my calendar for you asap.

I’ve been doing more and more portrait work these days and I’m enjoying it immensely. For photographers, weddings are about making very quick technical and creative decisioins in order to keep up with the pace of events. It’s one of my favorite aspects of my job: I never shoot the same event twice! Photographing portraits on location is similar in some ways, but the pace is definitely more relaxed. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing several kids and families in recent weeks and it’s inspired me to want to do more.

This is Jakob at the park. He’s six, going on twelve.

jakob jakob2 Jakob with his Mom, Jacqueline. (I can’t remember how many languages she speaks, but it’s a lot!)

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