An Irvine Portrait
If you are not from around here you might not know Irvine has the reputation of being a very safe, well planned, kind of boring city. It is located in safe, boring Orange County. Families live here. Their children have blond hair. Their dogs are Golden Retrievers. I was there last week and I was a bit nervous.
I had an assignment to photograph Craig Monteilh. A man who claims to have history working undercover for the FBI. He said he had some secrets he wanted to share.
Cue up “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” by The Hollies.
He preferred we meet in a park, not his house. He could not give up all his secrets. I wish I could tell you it was midnight and foggy, but no. It was more like noon and very sunny. Birds were chirping. Squirrels were squirreling.
Craig was wearing a trench coat and dark glasses. I was wearing dockers and a knockoff Tommy Bahama shirt. We met under a tree near a bridge. He kept look around like he was expecting someone else to show up invited or not.
I really enjoy photographing people and using light to make them stand out in the photos. I was thinking this might be fun after all.
We started out photographing in a stand of trees. They were good but I knew I could do better. I suggested we try some shots in the shadow and light of a pedestrian tunnel not far off. As we walked there I asked if he had any reason to worry about going public with his clandestine past. He just smiled.
I was right about the tunnel. I used an off camera strobe and made some fun images. As we parted I shook his hand and thanked him for his time. I wished him luck in the future and drove home thinking I might enjoy a martini that night. Shaken, not stirred.