What I'm doing. Where I've been. What I saw. And why I shot it.


Monday, August 20, 2012

RIP Phyllis Diller: a photo shoot to remember

A decade ago I was assigned to shoot a portrait of Phyllis Diller, the great comedian. I walked in to her hotel suite at the arranged time.  No fuss, no publicist.   Just me, my assistant and her famous big laugh. After talking for a few minutes, one thing was clear. Phyllis Diller was a brilliant woman. Trained as a concert pianist, she became a comedian to support her family, at a time when women just didn't do that. All the domestic ineptness, over-the-top shtik? A persona. Phyllis Diller was a performance artist, before we knew what that was.
She was wearing a perfectly tailored royal blue suit. After making some photos in the sitting area, we decided to play around with the location--a large suite at a spa hotel. A fluffy robe was borrowed from the gift shop, my assistant  overfilled a bath with bubbles, Ms Diller made a wardrobe  change.  Somewhere in the mix, I found myself standing there talking to her, in a marble and brass bathroom, with my camera in one hand and her bra in the other. I'm glad to say I had the presence of mind to stop and just appreciate the moment, before we started shooting again.
What an honor.  Rest in peace, Ms Diller.
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See more portraits of brilliant people (some funnier than others) on my website.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

the joy of organization

There are people who organize linearly. Everything in a row, filed away off the desk, alphabetized and outlined using roman numerals and letters. Then there are those  who need some randomness to function. Maybe they just don't like to follow rules?
sept 99 1st day of kindergarten........last day of high school 2012
I might be one of those people. But yesterday, having a system made my day.
The concept: It was my younger son's last day of high school. On his way out, I insisted he stop to pose on the front step, just like he did starting kindergarten. Maybe, um,  a little less eagerly.

Next idea: I'd pair the photos. The kindergarten shot was 1999, pre-digital. I had to really think hard to recall what my filing system was for color negs then- and there they were, in the 8/99 box

Mission accomplished. 


see more family life moments sprinkled in my portfolio at www.gzucker.com

Saturday, April 28, 2012

the wait

A few months ago--6 to be precise- I was in Minneapolis for a few days photographing for a new book of knitwear designs.  It was a joy of a shoot.  And it's a beaut of a book.
Full Image
Working with the Wear With All creative team was what the joy was all about --from the big concepts, to the marathon photo shoot, to the very last detail.  Not to mention the post-shoot celebratory local beer and tater tots dinner.
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More  photos of wooly subjects over on my website , in the She Shoots Sheep Shots portfolio.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


So, I took a writing workshop from Beverly Army Williams  and was all inspired. I mind-mapped! I have ideas! I shall create regular features! New blogposts will go up weekly! ...and then I left to work in California for a week. 
Sweetest little motel ever,  in Los Angeles.
In LA, I upgraded my phone. My long established Hipsta addiction is back. See what I mean? Consistency.

Monday, February 20, 2012

verrrry pinteresting*

I'd like to be the braggy early adopter, but in truth, I am more of a 2nd waver.   I joined Pinterest in late 2010. It was quirky, below the radar and totally visual.  I liked pinning what made me happy, not what might be good for my so-called social media presence: DIY projects, typefaces, places I want to visit, images with light that made me swoon, and over-the-top craft gestures.
This image of mine is all over the boards on Pinterest, with nary a photo credit. 
Baaaaad pinning. (and punning.)
On the downside are people who pin to blatantly promote themselves, or a political agenda (esp, ahem, one I disagree with), or scary points of view, like praise for anorexia.  There's also, sometimes, a downward spiral of conformity.  Witness the many many weird naked newborns photoshopped heavily and wearing ginormous knit headgear. (And I say this as someone who loves all of these elements but please god, not together.)

Anyway, now Pinterest has hit the big time, commercialization is imminent. Word is out. And you know what else is out? Linking credit to the creators. You can diligently (but not always reliably) click back to the source, but face it, how much diligence is going around these days? Watermarks (yuck)  aren't the answer if our work is being pinned from a publication, like a book or magazine or website that isn't our own. The answer? I don't know. But I'm trying my best to give credit, and to pass it on.
see more sheep & farm & wool & fuzziness on my website, in the she shoots sheep shots portfolio

*yes! the title is a Hogan's Heroes reference.