Anxiety, perhaps even call it nerves, has always been a part of my workflow. I thrive on it and, oddly enough, even dread the shoots that don’t stress me to a certain degree. Sometimes it is the worry of failure, the worry of safety, the worry that Murphy and his law will show up on set. However, on rare occasions, the anxiety is born out of the possibility that the subject might be … less than accommodating.
There are always going to be athletes, CEO’s and celebrities that can make even the best photographer’s life a living hell. I have been witness to it on many occasions and it is sad when it happens, because the art is instantly killed for conformity to the norm. What’s worse is that the arrival of the superego on set is unannounced, and no matter the preparation or research that goes into the shoot, many campaigns have collapsed from it.
Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “this preface is exactly what I expected for Danica, she seems like “that type”.”
I have to admit, going into the shoot, I felt the same way. She is a strong female in a male dominated sport, she has to put up with endless appearance requests, photoshoots and interviews. Heck, if there is anyone I have photographed that “deserved” to be a diva, it would be her.
During set prep I was trying to play it cool, but inside I was running through every scenario that could happen, from the “I only want to be photographed from this angle,” to a complete walk off.
And then she showed up…
Beyond the initial observations of her racing suit, physical appearance and how firm her handshake was, I was completely taken back by how damn cool she was. In the first 30 seconds of talking to her about life in general I can consciously remember thinking how stupid I was to have worried so much. While there were a couple requests for the shoot, they were completely reasonable and made it clear that she knows what she’s doing.
Photographing Danica is surprisingly simple. I would say that her driving ability is on par with her experience as a model. You could shoot thirty frames and get thirty different looks, each unique and strong in its own right. Once we talked over where the key light was and what angle I was shooting from I let her take it from there and she was a rockstar.
Behind the wheel or in front of the camera, she knows what she’s doing. Here’s to wishing I had even half of her driving skill.