Magician and mentalist Ryan Michael popped into CAT this term to update his website photos with the Digital Photography students, and treated us all to a free magic show at the same time!
Here at CAT, we love it when our favorite people drop in for a visit. Magician Ryan Michael is certainly one of those people, and this term he dropped in to put on a private show for students and staff, and then stay on in the studio to work with Digital Photography students on new promotional materials for his website as a part of DP’s LFS1 (Lighting for Stills) class.
“We started by looking at Renaissance paintings and the technique of chiaroscuro,” explains Grant Robinson, lead instructor. “Chiaroscuro is about light and dark, which seemed to fit this particular project perfectly. The ‘sneaky’ quality of the light works really well with the ‘sneakiness’ of close-up magic. This type of lighting works with the subject and his props to create images with an almost 3D quality.”
“What’s challenging about photographing magic,” adds Robinson, “is that everything moves really quickly and you have to be ready to capture it. Also, it’s difficult to try to come up with something that hasn’t already been done before.”
What’s challenging about photographing magic is that everything moves really quickly and you have to be ready to capture it. Also, it’s difficult to try to come up with something that hasn’t already been done before.Grant Robinson
“Working with the students was an absolutely phenomenal experience,” says Ryan Michael. “They are all dedicated, extremely skilled and have amazing attention to detail, and are bursting with creativity. The students were very engaging and easy to work with, all of them very approachable.”
As this was Ryan’s second time in the studio with us, we wondered if he found any differences in the students, or the experience, between the two different year groups?
“Last time we spent quite a while trying to get one shot of cards falling over my head, which is the main photo on my website now,” explains Michael. “It was a learning experience, and this time we got all of the other shots we wanted to get done first before playing with ‘live action’ shots – which turned out fantastic. One of the students had an ingenious idea to make a card vortex and I’m sure you will see in the pictures that it looks amazing!”
Working with the students was an absolutely phenomenal experience. They are all dedicated, extremely skilled and have amazing attention to detail and are bursting with creativity.Ryan Michael
And what was Ryan’s favorite part of the experience?
“I really enjoyed having the action shots taken, and the freedom they allowed me to have with my own creativity and getting the shots that I wanted for my website (pictures with my medals, plaques, and wearing different outfits). I was also extremely impressed with Grant Robinson and his ability to see the finished product before the pictures were even taken. He is teaching this to his students extremely well as they all had a vision of my website, my needs, and what I wanted overall with these photos – and were able to make it happen with ease.”
“I can already tell you I am going to love the photos,” says Michael. “I went through all of them the day of the shoot. They were fantastic quality, variety, and exactly what I need for my website!”
The students also loved working with Ryan.
“The shoot was really fun,” says Whitney Louie. “Using depth of field to focus on his magic tricks was really cool.
The shoot also put students through their paces, producing some magic-related photographic challenges.
“Near the end, we were all working together to get a shot with him surrounded by falling cards,” explains Whitney, “and it was really hard to get the perfect shot with everything moving!”
You can check out Ryan Michael’s website – along with CAT’s Digital Photography students work – at: http://www.ryanmichaelmagic.com/
Words: Deborah Lampitt-McConnachie