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Jay Maisel on Color

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Photographer Jay Maisel shares the stories behind some of his photographs, in this excerpt from Light, Gesture, and Color.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

I Really Have to Get This

When we got above the clouds and I saw this, I turned to the helicopter pilot and said, “Let’s do a 360° around this and then come in tighter a little bit at a time.”

“What the hell are you doing?”

I had forgotten there was an art director in the back seat and that I was on my way to a shoot. “I really have to get this shot.” “Why? It has nothing to do with the shot we have to do.” “On the contrary, it has everything to do with that shot.” “How so?”

“Well, you’ve got a choice of doing that shot with a happy photographer or a pissed off photographer. Which would you rather have?”

He let me get my shots. I wouldn’t have let it happen any other way.

When I saw this image, I knew I had to shoot it. It was a visceral thing, totally beautiful and real. It was unplanned and, as we came up through the clouds, I was stunned—literally.

The fog was, of course, the base of the image. The mountains, the bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, the Bank of America building, all these few interruptions, all meaningful and identifying San Francisco.

Of course, we also got the art director his shot.

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