My struggles with the first photo session with Genesis (which I have documented previously, see link below), sent shivers down my photographic spine. Even at 800 ISO at F28 they were still not as sharp as I would have liked despite the best efforts of my trusty NikonF. It gave me a shocking reminder that you cannot get sharp pictures using a hand held camera unless you shoot at 125th, or better a 500th of a second. . Previous Genesis Story
Since then, even when using electronic flash, I find the angle I want. My assistants know that when I say ‘This is the angle I want to shoot from” they immediately bolt the camera on a tripod. At one stage on the Pirelli calendar shoot in the desert miles from anywhere and not being able to hire a very low angle tripod, I ordered my assistants to saw the legs off my tripod. People often say to me, how come your images are so crisp? My response is, decide on your shooting angle and then put the camera on a tripod unless of course you’re somewhere bright enough to hold the camera. So choose your angle, set up the tripod and shoot.
On the first Genesis recording studio shoot, I couldn’t use a tripod due to the enormous amount of leads and amps and musical detritus everywhere. Also there wasn’t much time, so I had to speedily and inconspicuously tip toe around the studio as they were rehearsing. I was amazed at the Internet response to the previous Genesis images but they proved extremely popular with people, despite my reservations. If it had not been for my enthusiastic daughter saying ‘No Dad, it doesn’t matter, they are intimate pictures and this is rock history” I would never have shown them. In the end I relented and was really touched by the response.
Due to my technical malaise with the first Genesis shoot, I kept saying to my agent ” I must go back and light a session, because they have such amazing faces, please it’s biblical, I need to do this” As a painter their faces really affected me, I thought if they were in 15th century costumes the images would have had a Renaissance perspective, due to them all having such incredible faces. Sadly I couldn’t imagine them agreeing to cod pieces and tights, so I kept my vision to myself. Although Rick Wakeman and his band did allow me the pleasure of doing a historical themed shoot for The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur but that really is a whole other story and was more like Oktoberfest.
When I drove out to the countryside to shoot Genesis at their Studio I was really delighted to have the chance to work with them again. I set up some lights on a balcony overlooking the forest with trees with the background and a stormy sky. Initially the guys were quite serious but thankfully at the end I got this ‘thank God it’s over smile’ from the band, although as ever Phil Collins is so great to photograph and really knows how to respond in front of the camera.