There Goes the Neighborhood

I first got to know Drew Gardner by reputation before I ever met him. I was standing in The Flash Centre's London store and I saw these amazing, humongous photos on the wall. They were beautifully lit, but they also had a unique personal style and were full of humor. Anyone who makes shots like this has got to be fun to hang around with, I remember thinking.

The first time I met Drew in person, we had both just arrived at a hotel in Dubai in the middle of the night. I knew he would be there and recognized him from the accent and the clean-shaven head from the back.

We were both dog-tired from the flight. He did not know who I was. We had not yet even met. Perfect time to have a little fun...

So, here's drag-assed Drew, looking like a boneless chicken trying to get registered at the hotel. The only thing he is still carrying is his California Sunbounce kit, which only weighs a few pounds. But we can fix that.

As he talks with the desk clerk, I very lightly place a hand on the CSB kit hanging on his shoulder. If you are going to do this kind of thing, always start with a very light touch. Then add just the tiniest amount of weight to your hand. A little more. A little more.

The object is to make that thing go from a couple of pounds to twenty or thirty pounds without the guy noticing the change. One's goal is to boil the frong, as they say.

About 30 seconds into it, he finally gives up on resisting the pressure. He collapses his shoulder, turns around saying "What the...?" and sees a smartass photographer whom he had never met smiling at him with a hand still on his CSB.

I am happy to report that Drew didn't punch me in the face. Which, of course, means that he truly is a guy who you'd want to hang out and have beers with. And we have tested that beers thing on several occasions since.

But Drew is more than just a good guy, he is a helluva photographer. He is an A-lister out of the UK, and I am very pleased to welcome him to the world of photographers who are blogging with the goal of teaching others.

The guys makes some amazing photos, and has a wonderful sense of humor and whimsy that shows in his work.

He likes to play with the big toys, as shown in this video of him testing out the brand new Phase P65+ medium format digital back:

Drew's world is one of big lights and big ideas. I mean, when is the last time you rented a water buffalo for a shoot?

He has been blogging for a little while now at "The Dark Art," his quirky little corner of the photo world.

I very much hope you'll put him on your rounds / RSS feeds / whatever, as I can tell you from experience that you'll learn a lot hanging out with him.

Right out of the blocks, he has pieces on subtractive fill for white-on-white, the anatomy of a composite shot and a test drive of the new P65+ back.

He even takes you back to a time long ago, when he had youthful idealism and hair, to tell you how it all began.

The world of photographers educating other photographers just got a little bit better. I hope you'll join me in welcoming him to the neighborhood. And if you want to see more of Drew's work, his main photography website is here.


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