I happened to stumble upon Jim Fiscus' work a couple of years ago. I forget which website I was passing by when I noticed an ad for on of my all time favorite TV shows, "Dexter." For anyone that doesn't know, Dexter Morgan is one of the coolest serial killers to date. There was one recent Philadelphia based serial killer, trying to follow in Dexter's footsteps. He was given the moniker of "The Kensington Strangler." This murderer was similar to Dexter for the fact that he only killed other criminals such as, prostitutes and drug dealers. When this first hit the headlines I could only think that this guy was trying to emulate the great Dexter Morgan. Turns out that this guy was nothing like our prime time vigilante. I'd rather not share his oddities here so if you don't already know, check out the [link]. On top of the strange ritualistic murders, he is busted in a matter of weeks. And the winner is. . . Dexter, by unanimous decision. Wow, I must need some Aderall or something, I sure do get off topic sometimes. I know I have a bit of OCD but I guess you can throw in some ADD as well. While the Kensington Strangler could have stirred up some interesting thoughts, I'd rather get back to the photography stuff. Jim Fiscus, watch the video and then come back to read the rest.
Finished? Ok, so I discovered the work of Jim Fiscus on some random website. Most likely, I was surfing (wonder if that term is still used) for some new gear or looking for a new inspirational website. Whatever the case was, I found the portraits of Dexter. They were clean and beautiful. Light was very interesting. It was soon after that while driving on some highway that I noticed a large billboard on the side of the road with Dexter's face plastered across the enormous signage. Although I was driving rather quickly, I had enough time to notice that this was undoubtedly the work of Jim Fiscus. I was intrigued to say the least.
Upon arriving at my home one Saturday afternoon, I had to do some research on this guy, Jim Fiscus. Who was he? How was he shooting and with what? First things first. I Googled his name and found a link to his website. My mouth immediately watered at the sight of his portrait work. At first glance, very simplistic approach to photography. As I studied each photograph closer, I could tell there was more than meets the eye. The lighting scenarios are obviously very complex. I don't think he was using any Vivitar 285 HV's (although I love these strobes) on these sets. These photo shoots look like they require power, and lots of it. I wouldn't be surprised if all of the strobes he uses are powered by the ultra expensive Profoto line of generators. Although I'm not quite sure, but if you pay close attention to the video, it seems as if he is shooting with a equally cool and just as expensive, Hasselblad camera. Hasselblad gear is not to be used by anyone with preexisting heart conditions. Why? In the price range equivalent to that of a small SUV, anyone who handles one may experience rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure due to the induced stress from holding such an extravagant piece of photographic equipment.
In the digital darkroom, well, Jim Fiscus is no stranger. With complex composites and CGI (more later), Jim has taken his work to a level that would make grown men cry. Whether he is using Photoshop, Light room or some other photo processing software, the work is nothing less than spectacular.
Fiscus' was originally from Texas but is now based out of Georgia (state, not the country). His work has gained him recognition worldwide. He won many awards in the photography world, in the last few years. He is now known for his work with Hollywood stars and athletes, shooting for the likes of Showtime, ESPN and Nike. Not a shabby resume if you ask me.
Ok, so what the hell was going on in the video?! CGI, 3d, huh? The answer is, all of the above. Talk about taking things to a new level. The photographs produced incorporate every element that is mentioned. Through careful planning, his team has created the extraordinary. Talk about OCD, this team needs to be sure that every single little detail is perfect. And to make things worse, Jim has to take what they have created and add the most important part of the photo, the photo.
Let me explain. First, you have the CGI (computer generated imagery . . . you never know), where a team is creating, on a computer, the digital elements to the photo. Next, you have the 3d team. This team is building sets based on the ideas of the CGI people. Finally, you have the photographer, Fiscus, who will then take the subjects and combine all of the other elements to make one photograph. Complex? You can say that. Hell, it's hard for me to even put into words, what I've seen in that video.
Something that I happened to notice while watching this video. Did you see all of the freaking people working on this thing?! Jeez, for just about every single element in each photo there was a team assigned to work on it. Teams, people! Am I overusing the exclamations? I don't think so. His set is nothing short of spectacular. Ever sit through the end of a movie and actually watch all of the names in the credits? The sheer amount of manpower used is one for the record books. Yes, these shoots are more resembling of a movie project rather than a photo shoot. If you have teams of people putting your ideas onto paper, well, you know you're kicking ass. This guy is no joke.
You can find the final photographs [here] on Jim's website. Enjoy and make sure to keep some tissues handy. You will likely have to wipe your tears and your drool, simultaneously.