Six years ago my buddy Matt Smigiel got together and did a Wolverine-inspired photography shoot. I'm a big comic-book fan and I had a ton of fun with Matt that day, and I knew someday I'd like to get around to doing another one.
Well, after a lot of procrastinating and seeing the "Noir" version of the latest Wolverine movie "Logan" I dusted off the claws and got Matt to come down to Nashua for another day of *snikt!"-ing claws and saying "bub" a lot.
I'm a fairly big Wolverine fan. I remember when the original mini-series came out and trying to trade for issues when I was in middle-school as a kid, and then in the late 80's Wolvie got his own on-going monthly comic series, although it wasn't very good; he wasn't even wearing the traditional Wolverine outfit - just a black outfit with some hashmarks across his face
1988's Wolverine #1 - not very good.
Over the last two decades (gasp! has it really been that long?) Wolverine has developed a new more commercial following because of all the X-Men and Wolverine movies.
Earlier this year the last of the Hugh Jackman Wolverine movies, "Logan" was released. It's probably the best of the solo-Wolverine films made, but as a comic nerd, I have a few issues with it. But when Logan was released on home video (dvd/blu-ray) the director included a black & white version of the film that I kinda fell in love with. It didn't change any of the bad story, but, man, did the film look incredible in black & white.
So right around this time I'm digging the black & white print, and I've got my Wolverine claws sitting in a drawer at the studio, and then Matt posts a picture on Facebook and he's got this big bushy beard that he's been growing for some time. Immediately I knew that it was time for a follow up to our Wolverine images from 2011. It was time for LOGAN.
Matt was totally on board and we lined up our schedules and on a nice Autumn Saturday he and I along with my good buddy Jeff spent the afternoon making images. At first, we started down behind the Picker Building, which is where my studio had been from 2004-2016. We did a set up behind the building next to the Picker Building:
The setup was simple, and I wanted something that would help get me warmed up. I had Matt do a few poses:
I asked him to get a little vicious for me ...
Hair flying, claws popping, beard being big - this looked fantastic. I also liked that over the last six years, Matt has filled out a little. He's got more girth to him - he looks more like a big angry animal than a slim, muscular guy like in our first series. An older Logan. More damaged, more forlorn. Totally awesome.
Then I grabbed him and had him do some simple shots walking down the alleyway next to where we were set up. I wanted natural light and to catch a little motion has he walked by.
After we got these shots, we hopped in the car and started driving around. I wasn't in the "zone" yet and I was worried that the other two were picking up on it. Something hadn't connected with me yet. I just wasn't totally feeling it.
We ended up near the Dam in Mine Falls Park, and we walked out to a rocky ledge and got things set up.
We spent a little time here and I liked the Dam in the background as it felt kinda destroyed and post-apocalyptic. I like him staring off to camera right. We back lit him for this shot; the softbox is to camera left. It puts his face in a little bit of shadow.
But I was still not totally in the moment. I felt like I was forcing myself to get shots. I was happy with these, but I had this nagging notion in the back of my head that was chipping away at me.
It was getting hot, and Matt was getting tired and so we headed back to the car. And then all of a sudden, there it was.
The sun was starting to go down, and this little bridge area that was down a little path was being illuminated with little swatches of light. I grabbed my Lomography Petzval lens which had been unused in the bag up till this point. I told Matt to pop the claws again, and go stand on the bridge, and I busted out some cans of Atmosphere Aerosol that I had in my bag.
Then I just had him relax. I had him look down a bit. He was breathing heavy and ...
There it was. That was the shot I was looking for. The light, the smoke, the swirls in the background, his face, looking down - something is going on in that shot. He's feeling something. Maybe he's just finished fighting. Maybe he's searching for himself. Whatever it is, it's in that shot, and I knew I had what I wanted. We were good. We were done.
Before we packed everything up, I wanted to get a few minutes of video footage of Matt in this space. I thought it would make a neat 1 minute of video footage.
Unfortunately, because I was SO excited, I forgot to bring the camera back to a horizontal position.
Here is 1 minute of awesome HD vertical video of Logan:
I think it looks awesome; the swirling of the smoke, his heavy breathing. If you look closely, you can see the heat coming off his head - it's pretty awesome.
I want to thank Matt for always being willing to "play" and let me make things that are dear to my heart. And thanks to Jeff for hanging out with us and for his ability to keep me motivated and, hopefully, it's both ways.
Shoot the stuff you are passionate about. Whatever your background and loves are - shoot them. Comics, or movies, or toys, or thimbles, or wood, or buildings, or crayons - shoot the things you love, and shoot the things that help make you who you are as a person.