Thursday, April 24, 2008

B B King

As the old saying goes, the third time is the charm. I shot this of B B King on my third time to shoot him in performance. The first two shoots went ok but I never felt like I got anything that hadn't been shot by everyone else. Nice shot of his expressive face, of Lucille. But I always hoped for something a bit more unique and special, trying to create THE iconic image of the artist. Few shoots every work out that way but it's always an aim.

On this third time to shoot him, I was in a convention center. I had shot the usual and, not seeing anything else, had given up. I was leaving the show through a side door stage-left when I turned back as I went out and saw, just for a moment, the main spotlight rim-light BB and his famed guitar Lucille. I immediately moved into position with the hope that the light and moment would come back and it did. I managed about 15 frames on Tri-X 400 speed black and white film before he moved to a different area of the stage. Most likely I was shooting with a Nikon FM2 with either a 180mm 2.8 or a 80-200mm 2.8.

B B has become a personal favorite to shoot. I've sense had a chance to shoot him in his club on Beale St. in Memphis. I was able to spend a day with him. When I went to that shoot and show, I made two archival 11X14 prints of this photograph. I never believed in asking for autographs usually but on this one, I gave him one print and he signed the other for me. It's a cherished framed print. At that shoot, I wanted to get a shot of him out front with 'lucille' with his neon BB KING sign over his head. By the time we made it happen, it was raining. He said he didn't care at all and said "come on!" I asked about getting Lucille wet. He grinned and said "no problem. I've got another in the back". He has to be one of the nicest gentlemen in the music industry. I'll post other shots and memories of him later.

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