One of my heroes in photography is Jay Maisel. If you don’t know his work, run, don’t walk, to your favorite bookseller and get his latest volume, “Light, Gesture & Color.” You’ll thank me later.
Jay is a wonderfully stereotypical New Yorker. On the outside, he acts as rough and crusty as they come, but inside he’s a sweetheart. You can’t see with as much feeling and enlightenment as Jay does without having a beautiful spirit. And I doubt you could stay on top of the game as Jay did for his entire career without some pretty thick skin. In his presence, he inspires you to work harder, see more in-depth and get out there and go.
I met Jay several years ago at a convention in Las Vegas. While other workshops were bulging, Jay’s had fewer than 25 people. That didn’t change how he taught. He described not only the pictures on the screen but his thought process. Oh, and often, the story behind the photos. Jay has great stories. When the workshop was over his final pep talk was as inspirational as I’ve ever heard. I can’t imagine Knute Rockne could have done better. I burst out of the room with renewed passion. I was on a mission to SEE. By the time I traveled from the MGM Grand back to my hotel, I had made at least 100 images, many of which I still use. I photographed color; I photographed light, and I photographed gesture. Everything Jay said to do I did. He got me moving like a double shot of espresso followed by a shot of adrenalin to the heart. It hasn’t worn off yet. That’s the Jay effect.
Here are a few quotes that I’ve found useful, and a few photos I’ve made, inspired by the master.
“Color is seductive. It changes as it interacts with other colors, it changes because of the light falling upon it, and it changes as it becomes larger in size.” – Jay Maisel
“The pictures are everywhere. If you’re open, they will find you.” – Jay Maisel
“You need minimum color for maximum effect.” – Jay Maisel