Dennis Kucinich - Like, or Dislike... This guy is great!
May 22, 2018
About a month back I was given a wonderful opportunity to photograph Dennis Kucinich in my studio for Cleveland Magazine. This was a shoot that initially I was excited to do, and with that, I was also very apprehensive. I have photographed a few politicians, and even though I have had pretty good luck with getting nice individuals, I know that some politicians can be a bit difficult to work with, and therefore was iffy as far as how this shoot was going to go.
Leading up to this shoot there were plenty of schedule changes, contact changes, and overall unease. I originally was under the impression that Dennis would have a few people with him… then one person with him…and then the day of the shoot, I learned that my contact person lived and worked hours away, and therefore was not attending the shoot. So… it was going to be just Dennis and myself at the studio (as my assistant was unavailable that day). Per usual, I set up for 4 shots hoping to get one or two. Again, assuming this was going to be a quick hitter, and absolutely expecting someone who would be in a very big hurry.
To my delight Dennis came in with a big smile and a great attitude! He was interested in all my work hanging around the studio, particularly my international non-profit work. It took me all of a minute to realize this was going to be a pleasant, memorable shoot. We chatted a bit before getting to work, and even though I was way more at ease knowing he was a pleasant guy, I wanted to have respect for his time. I explained what I wanted to do, and if that if he had time the little extra shots I would like to do. Dennis replied, “I have whatever time you need”. To me, this was a very generous comment from him knowing he is a very busy individual.
Dennis was very at ease in-front of the lens, and didn’t make comments like, “is that good? Are we done yet?” like you might get from very busy individuals. Instead, we chatted for long periods of time in-between shots, which was great. I feel like I actually got to know him a bit, which is always my goal in a portrait session like that. We talked about politics, why he does what he does, and vise versa, about health, why he chose to become vegan, and many other topics.
It’s shoots like these that I live for. I got to meet someone who was so interesting, and while making images I was pretty happy with got to know a bit about the person, and what their life is like.
I can’t thank you enough, Dennis!
The four sets consisted of the gold backdrop shot which was a three lights setup that yes, totally resembles A 40 Year Old Virgin (Not intended), a close-up natural window light setup, a wider angle natural light setup, utilizing the gold color background again, and the final one that was a bit more my style was using the movable walls in my studio, and went for a more muted tone portrait of Dennis. The Gold is the color that Kucinich is currently using out on the campaign trails. I used: Profoto 2x B1, Profoto B4 with Pro-B heads, Profoto D4 with Acute/D4 heads Canon: EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS 5D Mark IV