1986. I went down and did the project, a plexiglass sculpture in the shape of a red “O” from a Mobile sign, a gas station sign—just the “O” on its side, tilted on a 2 x 4 laid on the floor with a fluorescent light behind it. And they couldn’t get a good balance between the object and the environment, so I figured out how to do that. It was challenging. I like that story a lot because it goes back to your father’s influence on you in terms of solving technical problems. You’re right. It was rewarding work, and that fact is what had me gravitating toward doing professional photography for the art world—the work was interesting and challenging, not at all routine. It wasn’t long before you became known as the go-to guy for difficult shoots. Can you give me an example of a recent assignment that was both technically challenging and rewarding for you as a photographer? I was challenged recently to produce a photo of an artist’s studio floor. Now, he has this great studio in Long Island City, and we’d shoot all his paintings out there where he paints. The studio is about 24’ x 30’—that’s one room in a gigantic 10,000 square foot building that’s like a giant warehouse. The studio is basically covered with plywood panels, 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood that are seamed with autobody Bondo, like a grout almost, and it’s got cigarettes and paint and all kinds of blots and stuff ground into the surfaces. And he wanted to create a photo of the floor that was large enough so he could create literally a 1:1 reproduction in scale of his floor. Now, there’s no camera, even if you split it up into six or eight images, 89
The Art World and the World Wide Web. Essays, Interviews and Case Studies.