While in Soufriere, St. Lucia, John and I visited a firehouse on the other side of town. After meeting and photographing one of the other firefighters, this young firefighter came in, saw our cameras and exclaimed, “Canon, I’m a Canon shooter too!”. We asked him about his camera and who did he follow on the internet and he said “Scott Kelby and Joe McNally, when I have the time” Well, we knew what was about to happen because the main group was on its way to shoot there, so as they approached, John mentioned it to Scott who introduced himself and Joe to Garvey Charlemagne, who became the happiest person on the island. We could imagine his delight, since we felt the same way ourselves having the opportunity to work with Joe for the week and with Scott for the day.
Joe took over the firehouse at that point. There is something about Joe’s style that puts everyone at ease and wanting to help out in any way that is possible. He asked Garvey if he wanted to model (like he would say “Oh, no, I’ve got better things to do”) and would he get his turnout gear and pose. Needless to say, within a few minutes, Garvey was ready. Joe has an ongoing relationship with the firefighters who responded to 9/11 and knows a lot about the profession. He was speaking Garvey’s language and we could see how well he was able to direct him, and how well Garvey responded.
We shot a couple of set-ups around the equipment using the natural light that was coming through the large garage doorways. After these were done, I watched Joe looking around and thinking about the next shot. He asks the fire chief if he would mind moving one of the trucks out of the garage so that the light would be unblocked and would flow against the wall. The truck was moved which created a giant softbox effect. Joe posed Garvey against the wall, asked him to collapse to the floor as if he had just gotten back from a fire and was exhausted. Wearing all that equipment in the 90 degree humidity, it was not a stretch to look totally wiped out. We shot more, then Joe and Scott posed with him and Joe posted the picture on his blog.