My “Day” with Michael Vick

I’m lying if I call it a day. Technically speaking, we were only in the same room for eight minutes and he was only in front of my lens for three. However, this was the third day this year that I thought we might photograph him. It’s all about where you draw the line.

Now most of you probably are probably thinking, “3 minutes? That’s crazy!” – In a sense it is. It’s clearly not enough time to establish a connection with your subject, right? Luckily it’s also not enough time for me to say something to piss Michael Vick off. The reason this shoot was so short is complicated. Even though this was the third go, we still weren’t 100% sure the shoot was going to happen. We knew that Vick was in town, we learned that he was shooting with another magazine (their story isn’t out so I can’t tell you who). We went ahead and booked assistants, gear, and the studio literally next door to his shoot in the hope of grabbing him after the other wrapped. Luckily, the plan worked out.

If you’ve only got three minutes with someone, you better have your shit together. I knew exactly what the magazine needed and exactly what I wanted from the shoot. I also knew to dial my expectations to “simple and classic.” It’s not wise to try accomplishing something complex or far-reaching when you only have a few minutes.

All this talk if time and nothing about our man himself – Michael Vick is a loaded subject in any respect and I wanted to cover that thoroughly. My personal opinion on him is that he has paid for his crimes and is currently (to my knowledge) doing the best he can with his second chance. I am a lover of dogs and a lover of sports. My mother has been a dog groomer my entire life; her groom shop still lives in the house I grew up in. Beyond the five or six dogs that visited our home everyday for grooming, we always had two or three of our own. I grew up around dogs, and loved them. I also grew up playing football. Some of my best memories are from a few years of high school football – to this day, I still have dreams at night about playing.

All of my personal history considered, I wanted to make a portrait that hints at Michael Vick’s criminal past while focusing on his hopefully peaceful intentions for the future. A subject’s history viewed through my own personal biases and history is a lot to capture in three minutes – do you think these shots begin to give this story justice?

18 replies to “My “Day” with Michael Vick”

  1. I sincerely wished everyone Had the mentality that once someone has paid for their crimes then hey are beginning anew with better intentions. Is he respected only because he is a celebrity? I think so, my thoughts though.

    However for myself I was charge with “Escaping from a Juvenile Facility” when I was 15 years old in 1998. Last week I was refused a work at home tech support job because if hat ONE charge, that is 13 years ago.

    Sorry to rant, just upsets me when I’m tryin and I’m labeled as a convict.

    On topic, these photos are sincerely griping and tell a great story 🙂

    Go figure… I’m always frowned upon and judge front that. Even after completing college and aquiring my first college degree. Explain that please?

  2. These are great pictures especially the one with his son. @Will Cardso, if you can’t stand Mike why did you bother to take the time to look at these pictures and take even more time to write a comment?

  3. Thanks Andrew. I assume you’re referring to the lighting and retouching? I don’t know if I’m going to do a lighting diagram for this one. However, I’m trying to convince my retoucher to post every once in awhile here. I think she’ll have some insight in to your question.

  4. @ Peace, same reason that you took the time to reply to my comment, because they are there. The fact that I enjoy looking at Chris’ work doesn’t mean I have to like or enjoy the subject.

  5. Excellent work! Minimal yet complex in the subject matter. I love how you were able to portray what you wanted to accomplish. I see the cross between a criminal’s mugshot and a peaceful/living in the moment in these portraits.

  6. @will cardoso, no its not the same reason at all, I was reading all comments I didn’t seek out yours nor did I know it was there until I came across it. However you knew the pictures were there, and you took the time to make look at them and make a commnet not the same thing at all. If I didn’t like a person I don’t think I would sit and look at pictures of that person and then take even more time to write a comment. I guess you thought someone cared whether you liked or disliked Vick.

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