Joseph Dobrian is a writer in Iowa City, Iowa. He contacted me to be a part of my Create Iowa City project. We set up a time to shoot in his home office a few days after he contacted me. When I got to his home, I knocked on the door and waited a few minutes. Knock again, wait. No answer. Pull out the phone and double check the date and time. Everything was correct, so I called him. "Hey Joseph. I'm outside your door, are you home?" I asked being cautious that I might have had the wrong time or day.
"Oh hi, I didn't hear you knock. I was listening to some Brazilian music a little loud." he responded. That's the way I like to start photo shoots, good loud music. When he got to the door, he apologized and welcomed me in. We go to his small office. Surrounded by art and books, it was a nice setting for a writer that obviously researches their writing. I had never met Joseph before, and we got to talking about what he writes and what peaks his interests. He told me he is a somewhat controversial figure in Iowa City, because he is politically to the right, but involved in the arts and theater crowd. I could see how that would make somebody stand out here.
For the images, I really wanted to capture his surroundings, especially the George Washington portrait that hangs behind him. Dressed in a vest and tie, Joseph was sophisticated and had a very noir feel. This was amplified by his well worn leather chair and classic wooden desk. Now we can make some pictures. I used my octagonal softbox, which gave a good coverage of light, but let me light him in a way where he stood out against the background.
As I got set up and started to make some images, we talked about his translation of a French true crime novel, The Butcher of Paris, by Jean-François Dominique. I am really into true crime, and a pretty big history buff. Joseph has a way of speaking that makes you want to listen. Detailed and informed, he knows his stuff, and makes you want to learn more about whatever topic you are discussing.
The shoot went quick. I knew the look I wanted and I got it easily. Joseph was a good model and photographed naturally. I knew the shoot was over when one of his cats jumped up and demanded attention. Can't let the humans have all the fun.
You can get more of Joseph on the Create Iowa City blog: HERE
If you want to buy a book, or see his works, you can go to his website: HERE
Thanks to Joseph for giving his time for this.
More to come...