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October - Michael Halsband.

Fame isn´t what it used to be. Being locked in a house or left on an island with a group of strangers is more than enough to guarantee celebrity these days. As long as the requisite number of television cameras are along for the ride, of course. Fame has become commonplace, fame has become everyday. But as devalued as it may seem, in today´s celebrity saturated society, there´s still something about a certain few that stands out. The ones who have "it". Whatever "it" may be.

The thing that draws your eyes, that perks up your ears, that made fame desirable to begin with. It´s a hard quality to describe, but you´ll know it when you see it.

Michael Halsband has worked with every record label in the music industry and all the magazines and to him every assignment is a challenge. He never gets bored because he loves making pictures of people.

From discovering the magic of the darkroom at age 10 in elementary school through college Michael was involved in the photography department and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 1980. “ I took full advantage of the facilities at art school.  I photographed, developed and printed every day, seven days a week for four years, and enjoyed every minute of the process, getting it all under my skin. It was during these years that I started to realize that I could make a living at photography as I started to get jobs from friends in rock bands and magazines”,

After graduation Michael started working as portrait photographer specializing in musicians, artists and actors. In 1981 he got an assignment, to document Rolling Stones’ Tattoo You, United States Tour. “After some jobs for Rolling Stone Records I was asked by Mick Jagger to be the band’s tour photographer. It was a tremendous experience and I learned so much more about my photography and the music business”.

From 1983 to 1991, Michael changed direction from portraits to fashion photography. By mixing his experiences from these two photographic areas he suddenly had created his own portrait style. “ Shooting fashion enabled me to bring action and spontaneity into my portraits. I always strive for energy and movement.”


When planning an assignment, Michael does as much research as possible on his subject. He always tries to meet or at least talk to the person that he will be photographing, to find out what he or she wants to achieve with their image. The research and the objective, dictates the necessary steps or plan of action and then adjustments are made as new and deeper aspects are discovered. Then comes the shooting procedure. “ I start with a camera on a tripod with a normal lens, one light with an umbrella on a boom aiming straight at the sitter and usually b/w film.  I take the reading from the subject to the camera and I usually set the camera at the most a half a stop hotter then the meter reading.  I make the first few frames like that and I work from there”.

On practically every shoot Michael uses a Hasselblad 553ELX with six magazines, seven Carl Zeiss lenses (50,60,80,100,120,150,250 mm), pro shade and a Hasselblad 500CM body for a back up and extreme situation. 

 


Beside the work Michael does on assignment he has always had personal projects, for instance The School of American Ballet (1986-1991) and nudes of woman in the sex industry (1991-1995). “Since I am self assigning my personal projects I try to come up with different approaches in order to expand my vision in that aspect of the process.  I am always using my personal projects as testing grounds for my commercial work, which keeps all the experimentation out of the commercial work so I am not taking risks at other people’s expense.”

Currently Michael has just completed a 48minute Film titled SURF MOVIE: reels 1-14, which is 14 rolls of Super 8 mm movie film spliced together in their entirety, uncut and unedited with an original soundtrack composed and performed to the film.  He is also finishing a photographic book project on Surfing with text by legendary professional surfer Joel Tudor.


Further information about Michael Halsband can be found at his website.

Kerstin Fiedler