Where the Good Stuff Happens

“The unknown is where the good stuff happens,” says photographer Trinette Reed. “Not knowing what you are doing is an integral part of being a good artist.”

Trinette Reed and Chris Grawly
Trinette Reed and Chris Gramly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visual storytellers Trinette Reed and her partner Chris Gramly are commercial photographers who frequently contribute to the online Storehouse app. Their posts take the form of short stories featuring text, photos and video. Reed offers advice on putting together an engaging story.

“I think it is really about finding a balance,” says Reed, “between allowing for the unknown and at the same time being as prepared as possible for your shoot ahead of time. That is always our goal.

On set
On set

“First we do a brainstorm and a shot list and figure out what is the intention and story of this shoot. Then we hire talented people to support us in realizing our vision: producers, stylists, talent, hair and makeup, and great assistants. Having a rock-solid crew allows you to really focus more on the creative on shoot day.

“Once you are on the shoot,” she continues, “then I think it is good to allow space for the unknown and unplanned to happen.  Some of the best shots happen that way when you don’t try to over control things and just go with the flow and be there to capture the moment.”

The Right Moment

Reed shares, “Once we were photographing a little girl who was adorable, but also had quite a large personality. We were directing her, and as kids do, she took the direction quite literally. I think we were just taking a few quick portraits of her and we asked her to do something with her hands (a lot to ask of a small kid but you never know) and she put her fist up under her chin in the cutest/funniest fashion and it was nothing you could have ever gotten her to do.

“Another example: a motion shot that Chris grabbed just following a model down a pathway to the next setup. It was slow motion and the wind came at the right moment to create a beautiful visual moment that would have been hard to create intentionally.”

Authentic Emotion

Reed says, “Visual storytelling crosses all cultural divides and helps to communicate without the barrier of language. The common threads we find to be most significant are authentic emotion and perhaps timing.

getting the shot
Spa luxury

“Capturing a great moment, whether it be still or motion, requires the presence of a believable emotional element and the right timing. In our corporate work this is also true, but there is a lot more orchestration happening around the moment to be captured. Some of it is set up, some of it just happens and being present for both is probably the most important thing a visual artist can be. Knowing when to let things happen and when to step in and direct is an acquired skill that I believe comes only with experience.”

Creating the Story

Reed and Gramly’s commercial work specializes in luxury resorts, hotels, and spa photography, as well as fashion, food, travel, lifestyle, and film/motion video production. How does a photographer stay open to finding the story without the risk of imposing a concept and not seeing the real story?

food shot
Food art
bowl
Appeal

“It depends on the project really,” says Reed. “We are more often than not creating the story before a shoot, not simply documenting it and this requires the intention we mentioned. I would liken it to a journalist preparing for an interview. They research their subject/current issues and then formulate questions to ask, but ultimately the story will unfold depending on how the interviewee responds to those questions.

“Sometimes in the flow the initial concept is abandoned for an entirely new story, but the intention still remains. When striking a balance between the intent to tell a story and letting one unfold there is little risk of imposing a concept. Instead the real story reveals itself.”

 

 

Check out Trinette Reed and Chris Gramly’s portfolio.

Excerpt from “Apart”

Here’s a teaser excerpt from “Apart,” my short-form novel. Enjoy.

“Kelsey. What do you want?”

“I’ve got two tickets for a dance performance tomorrow night. Katie and I got the tickets a while back. Someone will cover my shift. Like to go with me?”

“What is this, some kind of pity thing?”

“No, Cabe. I’d like to restore our working relationship.”

Cabe took a moment to consider the invitation. “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve gone out anywhere with a woman?”

“I’d guess a long time.”

“And you play for the other team.”

“Think of it this way. You don’t have to spend money on condoms.”

Cabe smiled. Weakly. “Okay, I’m in. Where and what time?”

“Starts at eight. Near Hollywood and Highland, at the Stella Adler Theater. If you meet me at six at the restaurant, you can leave your car there and I’ll drive.”

“Apart” is available on Amazon.

From the Bronx to Dublin

play poster
Play poster

Stephen Adly Guirgis’s play “The Motherfucker with the Hat”
is running through December 20th in Dublin. See Orion Productions for details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In earlier posts I interviewed three of the Dublin cast:

Laoisa Sexton

Laoisa Sexton
Laoisa Sexton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sinead O’Riordan

Sinead O'Riordan
Sinead O’Riordan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Lynch

Andrew Lynch
Andrew Lynch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the play:  The Motherfucker With the Hat