Firefighters pose for photo session

DOWNEY - Eric Curry is no ordinary photographer. In the first place, he has a BA (class of 1980) in photography from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. In the second place, he honed his photographic skills during a twelve-year gig in Copenhagen, Denmark running his own advertising photography studio.Upon his return to the U.S. in 1992, he photographed still-lifes at first for a while, then, finding the field getting moré and more competitive, made the transition to location industrial photography, shooting 'big' and 'moving' machines this time, such as automobiles and trucks (a Corvette, a '56 Ford pickup), planes (a B-25 Bomber, a crop duster, a DC-3), a small submarine, etc., etc.) or, in the case of a really big object such as a jumbo jet, a section or sections of their interiors - using his own unique 'light painting', multiple-exposure technique and huge investments of time and resources. This affords him, he once said, "a much broader pallet of avenues for creativity." This bread-and-butter activity takes him all over the place, in search of the 'right material', the proper props, whatever. Because of the meticulous care with which he endows every finished shot, he has built a loyal following and become a respected and increasingly popular 'artist-photographer'. Curry has given demonstrations of his photographic concepts and technique, and has had his works exhibited. His clientele is thus select (among them, Gulfstream Aircraft). As a release (and taking about 10 percent of his time), Curry pursues this passion for creating art photography for its own sake. He takes an idea, develops a theme, ranges far and wide to find the right material, and otherwise, using oodles and oodles of time and approaching a photo shoot like a general would, finally shoots his subject--his artistic moment of truth-and gives, gratis, the finished product away. (He, however, retains all rights to the picture). Last week, Redlands resident Glenn Dunham, who knew about Curry's desire to include a little girl (and a dog) in his picture of three firefighters against a red fire engine when he attended one of Curry's demonstrations in Riverside, visited with Downey Fire Department engineer Frank Culhmo, firefighter Raul Ochoa and firefighter/paramedic Sergio Zavala to please his 3-year-old granddaughter, Josie Bergsma. In pursuit of his theme of three firefighters rescuing a little girl's Raggedy Ann doll from a fire, and using a real red fire engine, Curry was able, after numerous inquiries with fire departments in and around Los Angeles, to track down just such a red fire engine here in Downey (it turns out DFD has a fiery red Pierce Quantum model, including a reserve unit, at Station I). After the usual back-and-forth discussions as to why, where, when, and how a photo shoot of the engine could be taken (negotiations were handled by Capt. Brad Van Ert), one day last November was agreed upon as the day of the shoot. The photo shoot took all of 12 hours, mainly due to Curry's painstaking light painting technique. The firefighters were photographed individually, later made to appear in various poses at various strategic places with the fire engine as a backdrop (Curry uses two digital cameras, both made by Canon: a Mark II and Mark III EOS-I-DS model). . A shot of Josie shows her in the center of the picture reaching out to take the doll from firefighter Ochoa. Curry said post-production editing takes a lot of time, too. "To Josie the photograph obviously won't mean anything now because of her age," said Dunham. "But with the passage of time, she'll get to know its significance."

********** Published: June 23, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 10