I recently started a new category I call Anecdotes. These are funny or interesting stories or photographs that actually took place at one time or another during my forty-five years of taking photographs for editorial, advertising or corporate clients.
Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent, or those people that may not be the brightest star in our Milky Way galaxy. If you take my online class with the PPSOP, or my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” Workshop I conduct around the planet, you’ve probably heard a couple.
I use to be called on by Texas Monthly magazine for all the assignments that were weird or dangerous, These were usually written by their senior writers whose articles were…weird and dangerous. Since they knew I would always come back with something out of the ordinary, I would get first pick.
I absolutely loved the challenge, and to me the weirder or more dangerous the story, the better I liked it. Editorial photography was always my favorite because I would be given the writer’s text, and allowed to do anything I wanted.
The above photo was part of a story on a man living in San Antonio, Texas who offered exorcisms to those whose family members souls were taken over by the devil, or Satan, or Beelzebub, or Lucifer, or The Prince of Darkness, or whatever name you want to give The Evil One!!!
I called him and said that I was the photographer the magazine had hired to come take his portrait. This man, whose name I can’t reveal (not that he’s still alive) had a stroke and his clientele started going elsewhere. He had just returned to a somewhat normal state and had no problem being photographed for PR sake. In fact, he loved the idea of being in a magazine.
My assistant and I drove to San Antonio not knowing what he looked like, where he did his exorcisms, or what to expect. When we arrived, his protege led us into his office, as it were. and I freaked out when I first laid eyes on his outfit. It was just toooooo good to be true. I introduced myself and started up a conversation. I had him explain the complete process of evicting the Devil, and he went over esch and every one of the tools he used to force the demon out of the body…any body. As he was demonstrating each one I had an epiphany.
I asked him if he would preform the entire exorcism on me!!!
He agreed so I put my “forever go to” 20mm lens on, got down on my knees right in front of him and had him go through each step while I shot on continuous. I usually like to light with a soft approach, meaning umbrellas or soft boxes, but this time I wanted it to be as raw as I could make it. I had a couple of one thousand watt quartz lights and I placed one to the left and aimed it right at him with no diffusion in front of it, and the other to bring up the exposure in the room.
What you see in his hand is some incense burning in an old soup can with a bare light socket sticking in it. As he waved it back and forth holding the frazzled exposed wire, and screaming at the devil to leave my body…all in Spanish, I was shooting. After twenty minutes or so, things got weird. All the dogs in the area started howling…not barking but howling. It really creeped my assistant and I out. Goosebumps formed all up and down my arm and I started sweating. My guess was the hot quartz lights in a small room with seven foot ceilings????
It has been one of my all time favorite shoots. One that to this day, I can still conjure up a metal picture of the room clouded with cheap, sweet smelling incense.
Ok, I’m sure I’ll be asked if it worked, and all I can say is who really know for sure.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and be sure to check out my 2013 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime, I got a million stories.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com