We here at SYNC are constantly juggling many hats, so who better to chat with about balancing a multi-hyphenated career than photographer/actress/director (and SYNC client) Denice Duff.
Question: How would you describe your photographic style?
Denice: Fun, spontaneous, natural, not too produced or retouched, and very personal!
What is your favorite camera (or equipment) to use?
Denice: I am in love with my 5D Mark 2 and my prime 85mm 1.8lens. I’ve been shooting music videos with it as well, and its just heaven. It’s so easy to make an impact with that full frame and the great Canon fast lenses.
Does being an actress yourself help you connect with the actors and musicians you shoot?
Denice: Absolutely! I am able to cut to the chase to get the emotional response I need. I know how to give the direction that will keep them extroverted. For example, I usually won’t say, “Think of something that makes you happy.” I’ll first test the professionalism of my talent by saying “Laugh!” or “Look a little angrier” and you’d be surprised how easy it is to snap in and out and not get overly emotional. It makes for a quick productive shoot. Also, when I shoot an actor, I always find out if they are a musician as well because I personally find musicians intensely interesting. Their art is not usually about their exterior looks and when I find the “musician” in an actor they tend to free up and become a more relaxed subject.
Are acting and photography similar in any respect?
Denice: Hmmmm….. well photography is more fun but acting pays better! Hah! I have directed as well and on my first feature film, Vampire Resurrection, I was so exhilarated at the end of 12 hour work days, and I realized that directing incorporated everything I loved about acting, photography and motherhood! As a photographer and filmmaker you are capturing the human condition and as an actress you are conveying it. So yes, they are very intertwined. But what I love about photography is the actor/actress can be …well… bad, inexperienced and nervous, but, through my direction and styling I will make him or her look like a confident genius artist. Whereas in film you cannot get away with bad acting, usually. 🙂
How do you juggle both as a career?
Denice: Hell if I know?!!!! I used to try and hide it but more and more I’ll be booking a client and they will say, “So I really liked you in Subspecies….How was it working in Romania?” And I’m like, “D’oh!” Or a parent will ask me as I am organizing a shoot with their kid, “I see you’ve have done a lot of commercials; how should I approach getting her an agent….?” In a town where people usually poo poo someone who doesn’t specialize in ONE thing, I have managed to have a creatively fun life and have passed that down to my 16 year old daughter who is a 5 ft 11 model with NEXT, an intern with Center Studios as a web designer and a celeb interviewer and who knows Photoshop like the back of her hand….I guess I’m to blame…or thank!! 🙂