Wes Anderson Photography Club
Our goal for this weeks challenge was to become Wes Anderson for a shot and capture an image in his signature vibe.
One of my favorite Wes Anderson movies of all time is Rushmore. There is something special about this slow-moving film. It’s packed full of witty lines, great music, and Anderson’s iconic framing, composition, and color grading. But some of the best parts of the movie are the awkward moments. Moments that seem to go on just a little longer than they should. Moments that build a unique kind of suspense and anxiety.
As I set out to capture my challenge picture, I knew I needed some essential Anderson elements: center composition, symmetry, vintage vibe/colors, and of course, something a little strange.
I decided on a studio shot using a yellow paper background, a single strobe with a large umbrella, and three plastic toys I’ve collected over the years. I’ve used the two people before, but photographing the bear has been on my bucket list for a while. I intentionally kept the picture simple without any background distractions to allow for all of your focus to be on the three characters. After a little vintage color grading in Photoshop, I managed to create an image that could be used for the poster of Wes Anderson’s new movie, “Going no Bear.”
“Going no Bear” is a love story about a couple that picks up a hitchhiking bear outside of Yosemite National Park on route 120 just outside of Gloveland. They drove for hours West towards the coast, but when the sun began to rise the next day they were driving through Benton and approaching the East entrance of Yosemite National Park, the opposite side of the park they left hours before. The lovebirds were baffled and a little scared. They pulled out maps trying to figure if they took a wrong turn or how this was happened. While they frantically tried to figure out the mystery the bear sat giggling in the backseat eating handfuls of gummy bears from a 5lb bucket. As they entered the park, the bear stopped giggling, turned his head slowly to the left window, and winked at a bird flying low next to the car. The bird soared off into the air and started notifying the rest of the forest that operation “lovebirds” was about to begin…
This week was one that I planned for and looked forward to..and yet I still failed to get the shot, because I didn’t go out and do it straight away. I looked for weeks and was having such a good time doing so! I watched a few Wes Anderson films for inspiration. I looked around Los Angeles and Denver. I found the perfect little spot in Denver, but then I kept telling myself I would go photograph it the next morning, when the sun was in the prime spot. The next day, I told myself I would go shoot it the next morning, and the next. Then life happened and I was on my way back to Los Angeles, the day before this challenge was due and guess what? I’d never gone back to shoot that perfect shot on the busy corner in downtown Denver.
Sunday I was in Los Angeles, trying to find this shot. I used google and found a really great old building that was practically perfect, if I could get into the outdoor pool area..however, it turns out this building is now luxury lofts..Johnny Depp lived in them at one point, I probably wasn’t going to get in and I didn’t have the guts to go try (working on my gut back-for another story).
I was ready to admit defeat and then on a trip out to watch the sunset in Malibu, my friend Rachel pointed out that this Hindu Temple looked kind of like the photos I’d showed her of Wes Anderson films. So, we pulled over and looked around. It does kind of look like Wes Anderson’s style, but mostly not. However, this was my last chance to not fail this challenge and I took it.
It isn’t perfect, just like the others in this series of challenges thus far, but it’s definitely showing up. Showing up counts for something, but it’s still not good enough for me..and I am getting sick of my own bs. This is process and where the changes happen..getting sick of your own bs.
I am glad I showed up, didn’t give up, and I will work harder for next weeks challenge. I am glad I had the adventures I had while looking for the shot.
Lesson for me this week is one I have learned many times over, take the shot. Take the chance, take the action..straight away, otherwise, it might not happen.
Until next week!