Behind The Picture


One more shoot to go, and the daylight is dropping out quick, here on our last day of taking pictures in Los Angeles as part of a commissioned project.

As always, we hurriedly packed and shipped off via our production van to the next shoot location. In the van, our driver was on his phone (on speaker) breaking the news to his girlfriend that he’ll be late getting in because of this job, how he’d have to wait for the shoot to be over, he’d have to take everyone back to the hotel, blah blah blah. The rest of our crew, me, my partner in crime, some clients, wardrobe people, you name it, we all had our head in our phones. I kept having flashbacks of some sci-fi thriller “Total Recall”, video chatting with the phone embedded in your hand – this phone stuff is getting totally out of control people! Think about it, implantable technology. Crazy stuff.

Setting the scene: The driver, now totally getting bitched out (on speaker) by his girlfriend, and of course, there’s us robots in the back, faces buried in our phones. Rumble, Rumble, Rumble the van whacking pot holes, comes to a stoplight and I peer up. And there he was, this boy, and his what could have been his grandmother, standing outside of a shul. I do love me some grandma, but for the sake of this picture I envisioned before me “please please move away” I thought, and she did, she moved. I pulled up and out the camera, pushing through the window catching this boy’s attention. And so… we did spend the next 5 to 10 seconds of our lives trading eyeballs,curiously. The light turns green, the driver, who is now busy returning bitch favors, and my people stuck in the phone – we drive away. Never to see each other again.


Shul, Los Angeles


A lady statue. Nina. Strong, independent, and just downright impressive. On a rainy day, this particular assignment had us focusing around health and fitness, as we all know it’s an important part of our well-being.

I knew that I wanted to frame Nina against anything that would help guide the viewers eyes to what is truly the hero of this shot, her striking physique. I simply opened up the garage door of the gym, and using the opening, framed her out with the natural light falling off into darkness behind her. I had Nina get up on a jump box that’s commonly use for CrossFit training. The natural light acted like a curtain to the show.

Nina, Reebok  

Nina, Reebok



Among photography being included in my bag of tricks, I’m also a boxing coach, but that’s a whole other story in itself that I’ll save for another day. It’s relevant here because this is a photo of one of my girls from the gym, and a great athlete! True to much of the work I do, I always have an idea or concept going in, and then – whamo… something unexpected happens and that usually ends up being the shot.

As I broke for a sec, off camera, I notice her starting to play with her hair, tussling it around, holding it up, letting it fall.

There was something really beautiful as I watched her, so I went with it and asked her to replicate a bit of what she was doing, which of course I get from her “what do you mean, do what I was doing?” I’m like you know “play with your hair” and I could see it in her eyes “ok freak boy, what ever you say” – and there you have it, after 30 secs or so, with a little direction the picture started to fall into place, the higher she pulled that hair up, and the softer she let go of it, it started to shape and form– like a little black octopus.  Beauty is omnipresence.


Tania, Pennsylvania

David Troy