SHOWCase #2 was the 4th full magazine issue I produced in its entirety. I think I had gotten the publisher of SHOW hooked on desert shoots just like I was, so we shot the “sequel” to SHOWCase #1 within 60 days of shooting its predecessor.
For those of you who know my background as a cinematographer, it’s no surprise why I get so excited shooting on location. I mean, no photographer LOVES being inside the studio every day…it’s like letting a dog out of the house to run free. So as SHOW became more successful (which is 100% shot on seamless), I found myself pushing to shoot the special issues as far away from SlickforceStudio as possible.
I had just bought my property in the desert (which would become Ultimate Graveyard), but I hadn’t been able to put any real time into it, so I felt it wasn’t yet camera-ready. Instead, I chose Club Ed, one of my favorite desert locations as a DP. They’ve shot a billion movies here, most notably Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects,” and “Nothing to Lose” starring Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins.
One of the reasons I like shooting in the desert so much is that it forces you to be on your A-game. You’ve got no water, no power and no restaurants for miles, so you have to run a really tight production. We brought in RVs, generators, and of course I had my crack team of super-assistants making runs around the Antelope Valley all day (my assistant Cherry got a speeding ticket that day too…sorry, Cherry!) I sometimes get a lot of flack for my super-sized productions, but I’ve never been a minimalist—it’s just not my style. My inspirations have always been larger-than-life directors and photographers, like Michael Bay, James Cameron, Antoine Verglas, and Herb Ritts.
The models for SHOWCase #2 were soon-to-be-Playmate Jessica Burciaga and urban-superstar-model Jesikah Maximus. I labeled my Capture folder “Jes².” I had worked with them both on countless issues before and I knew they were both great models (J-Max and I were in Puerto Rico shooting her “SHOW: In Paradise” issue exactly one year earlier) so I already had their trust. And that’s very important, because when the models trust you, you can push them very, very far.
These girls both had crazy bodies, and when J-Max showed up with her fire-engine-red hair, I decided was going to photograph them as if I were shooting a comic-book. I had them kneel on scorching-hot gas pumps, pour buckets of water on themselves, crawl on trucks, and roll around in the dirt. But man, did this issue kill. I have to say that this is probably the first issue I’ve shot that turned out exactly like I saw it in my head. And that’s not easy for 100+ pages of content. And although the day was long (15+ hours) and everyone was beat to sh*t, it was some of the most fun I’ve ever head on set. I think it was probably in my top 3 days of 2008. It’s one of those rare moments where you stop to reflect, take a look around, and realize you’re doing exactly what you dreamed of doing when you were a kid.