PIERRE VD WALT - Shooting Richard Stirton

PIERRE VD WALT - Shooting Richard Stirton

The phone call came in at exactly the right time in the afternoon after a particularly difficult morning in the office… “Can you make time for a shoot with Richard Stirton, the musician who just won The Voice, you know?” “Of course I know who Richard Stirton is!” I quite defensively exclaimed back into the phone…and so started the tricky task of aligning schedules and times and availability with one of South Africa’s newest big music stars to date. Unfortunately, as is often the case with these types of shoots, the only date which matched both our diaries meant that we barely had just over an hour to complete our shoot at a weird little auto repairs workshop which seems to specialise in old American muscle cars and pick-up trucks, close to the Diepsloot Informal Settlement.

I was a bit nervous about meeting Mr. Stirton for the first time as we weren’t able to exchange e-mails before the shoot so I couldn’t even be sure he’d be okay with the location I chose… The nervousness soon abated when Richard arrived and his handshake revealed a warm and friendly, almost easy going personality which put everyone at ease. After a quick explanation of what we were going for and getting input from Richard on his preferences, we quickly set out to shoot the four different sets I had in mind. This was a great experience as not only did I get to shoot some more great South African musical talent but Richard also treated the crew to a few choice songs in an intimate acoustic performance at this interesting “junk yard” setting where we were shooting.

Although a huge rush it was a fantastic experience and again another reason why I love the FujiFilm X-series for this type of work when time, complexity and logistics are all working against you. The new X-T2 coupled to the 56mm F1.2 and the 35mm F1.4 did the trick without a hitch and for the very first time in my life, I needed to use the Electronic Shutter at around 1/12 000 sec to curb the middle of the day ambient light at wide open aperture settings.

A big thanks to Mr. Richard Stirton for his huge talent and easy manner, the ever glamorous Courtney Chadwick for make-up and styling, Shaye Scheepers as 2nd Photographic Assistant and talented fellow photographer Timothy Griesel as 1st Photographic Assistant.

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