Sunday, January 27, 2008

Swiss Chris: Drums, Grammies, Pop Stars, Photos with Will

Today I had a shoot in Tampa with Swiss Chris, the young & talented Musical Director & drummer for 5 time grammy winning pop/R&B star John Legend.

Swiss, a native of Switzerland (of course), has a lot of attitude & personality.  It was important that we let it show through.

Swiss and I met up in the Los Angeles area last week at NAMM.  While we were out there, he let me know that he'd be in Tampa the following weekend to play a private party on Derek Jeter's boat with John Legend.  He didn't know his schedule but I was to call him on the weekend.

I drop a line yesterday - he wasn't certain... but overnight, he sent a txt "Shoot @ 2 or 3."  It was set!

It was time to arrange some tech-savvy help.  Seeing as it was already 11am on the day of, arranging talent was going to be tough.
I called my trusty photographer-friend Shem up - she was on day 5 or 6 of being sick!  Yikes!  I called ABC News video/cameraman John Fulton - unavailable.  I drop a line to Bobby Blish - recovering from Gasparilla still.  

My creative & motivated girlfriend Kristen decided to step-up and pitch-in, as well as another amazingly talented drummer Eunitee.  

We loaded up the gear, picked Swiss up at the Hard Rock (after dealing with some serious hotel security), and pointed the car towards Downtown Tampa.

Shem had recently discovered a small location on the North side of Downtown Tampa and shared it with me.  This place worked well - every 10 feet you have different textures, colors, layers, etc.  

After getting a few different scenes finished up, we then shot multi-image sequences!  With the tripod-mounted camera going at the fairly slow 3fps, and Swiss going at near-full speed, we let Swiss go through a series of sticking sequences, rhythms, and tricks!  The resulting 6fps videos are fun to watch!  (I may not be posting them here)

Just before finishing up, we took a couple of shots of ourselves with the artist & Kristen snapped some shots of me playing the cans with Chris.

We shot until the absolute deadline to get Swiss back to the rest of the band, rushed him back, picked up some much-needed Gatorade, and called it an afternoon.

Some photos -

Swiss Chris, drummer for John Legend
Swiss Chris, drummer for John Legend
Swiss Chris, drummer for John Legend
Swiss Chris, drummer for John Legend
Swiss Chris, drummer for John Legend

Swiss Chris, drummer for John Legend
Swiss Chris, drummer for John Legend

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Welcome to my new blog!

Welcome to my new blog!

I will be sharing photos, stories, and technical information from photoshoots and other experiences on this blog.

A little about myself -
I have been involved with cameras for nearly 12 years. First being published in 1999, I wouldn't say that I was a "part-time professional" until several years later.

One of my passions in life is music and my path in photography closely followed that passion, working with musicians, makers of musical instruments, and music magazines.
Recently I began to branch out of the music industry, but I am certain that musicians & their instruments will always be at the center of my professional work.

Here is a mini-bio that my lovely Kristen wrote up for me to be included in my recent hardcover book which was shown around to various music industry clients (and potential clients):

Will Hawkins has been photographing musicians since 1996. His overwhelming passion and joy for music, combined with his love of photography made the match simply irresistible. For more than 10 years now, Hawkins has scoured the music scene to capture artists, their passion for music, and their love for their equipment. Hawkins has built a niche' in the drummer world as a long time photographer for Promark Drum Sticks. He is best known for his work with some of the world's most renowned drummers including Jason Bittner, Dave Lombardo, John Blackwell, and Keith Harris.

Will Hawkins Photography Highlights:
- Featured on over 10 magazine covers
- Published in over 300 magazines overall
- Featured in over 20 CDs
- Featured on retail posters
- Featured on 3 DVDs
- Photographer for world renowned Six String Masterpieces: The Dimebag Darrel Art Tribute

As an aspiring drummer himself, Hawkins continues his passion in music and has hopes to continue capturing the moments and memories in music for years to come.