Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Man, the Myth & the Comb

Here's a favorite tale I wrote after a shoot with Clint Eastwood a couple of years ago...

About the shoot: A couple of years ago I received a call from now defunct, Private Air Magazine. Ever hear of it? Probably not since you were not likely to be in their subscriber demographic - white, male, 40-65, annual household income of millions, oh, and you flew your own jet. They asked if I was available to do a shoot in Carmel, CA with Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood for their next cover.

Of course, I told them I'd have to check my calendar. So after shuffling some papers to simulate that act of checking said calendar whilst performing a frenetic, happy dance quietly around my desk, I replied,
"Uh, yeah I have some free time to photograph Clint." (Duh!)

So fast forward through the emails negotiating cost and logistics... The shoot was scheduled to take place in the middle of a golf course Eastwood owned. And I had 20 minutes to get the shot they needed. No pressure, right?

With a car filled with camera gear, I headed down to Carmel. I remember nothing of the drive down except that I was sketching pictures of what the shot could look like. Then, as if I wasn’t worried enough, Clint’s publicist calls to warn me...

“Clint might show up looking like he just woke from a nap. Wrinkled clothes, sheet lines across his face, messy hair… but you make him look nice.” Click.

I become completely unhinged. We’re going to be in the middle of a golf course. What the heck am I supposed to do to make a disheveled Clint Eastwood look nice for a magazine cover photo?!

I did the only sensible thing I could think of – I bought a black plastic hair comb.

And without further adeiu, the tale...

The Man, the Myth & the Comb

It’s far from mythical, yet too voluminous a story for this piece of parchment. Suffice it to say that a simple warning from a publicist, “He may show up looking like he just got up from a nap,” incited a search of biblical proportion for a tool that would save us all.
And save it did… sort of.

Combing the hair of a Legend takes great audacity and cunning. You don’t, after all, want to make said Legend feel badly, that they cannot be trusted to drag a simple instrument of hair positioning across their cranium before leaving the house – especially before a national magazine photo shoot for which they are the cover item. You just don’t want to do that.
Instead, you summon the gods of wind to gust their mightiest so you’ll have a good reason to approach with comb in hand and ask permission to rearrange the Legend’s bristly coiffure. You also resist the urge to moisten one’s thumb by licking or other such method with the intent to then smooth it across those hairs or entire sections of the scalp which are not swayed by the comb’s influence. Instead you pass the buck to your assistant to play stylist and hope for the best.

When all else fails, you simply take the photo anyway, and chalk it up to experience that in the future you’re smart enough to carry some Aqua Net hairspray too.

Next time, Legend… Next time.

The shoot resulted in these published photos:

Actor Clint Eastwood photographed by Jason Tinacci. Actor Clint Eastwood photographed by Jason Tinacci.

And a couple of outtakes:

Actor Clint Eastwood photographed by Jason Tinacci. Actor Clint Eastwood photographed by Jason Tinacci.
Actor Clint Eastwood photographed by Jason Tinacci. Actor Clint Eastwood photographed by Jason Tinacci.

The experience also resulted in the following frame hanging in my office that includes a photo of Clint Eastwood, my little tale and the actual comb that was dragged across his head. It's a great reminder to always be prepared for whatever combs your way. ;-)

Clint Eastwood's framed photo and hair comb by Jason Tinacci.