Over the past
with BASS PLAYER,
Art Director and
a shelf full of
and some dusty
the next few
either he can't
more or they fail
to be interesting,
| Photograph, from March 1997
HERE AT BASS PLAYER WE ARE A PROFESSIONAL OUTFIT.
We use computers, and telephones, and many other trappings of a sophisticated,
multi-national publication. One of the many wonderful devices we
employ is the “creative brief,” with which editors impart to the staff the
essence of the story necessary for the clearest graphic
In this particular case in 1997, I saw Scott Thunes’ name on the
for March, and without looking up, shouted, “Hey, what’s the deal with
Scott Thunes?” I couldn’t tell who shouted back that he is a monster player
who had toured and recorded with the demanding likes of Frank Zappa,
but had lately become disillusioned with the industry to the point where he
refused to play anymore . . . .
That’s a creative brief.
Excellent! I’ve got it. Given that Scott is kind of separated from
I will photograph him with a bass, but it won’t be an actual bass—it will be
a drawing he will make and hold for the portrait.
I pitch the idea over the phone to Scott, who seems interested.
“Excellent!” I continue, “I picture you drawing it with your finger in the
windswept sand on the beach.” A moment of silence on the other end makes me
want to reassure him that it’s okay, that I went to art school
for a few months, but he interrupts me and actually agrees to meet me at
Ocean Beach. Excellent!
It was cold and wet on the beach, and after a couple attempts at
rendering a bass in the sand, Scott said, “I don’t want to do this
“But why?” I whined.
Scott thought his drawing wasn’t good enough (despite using the
classic finger-and-sand medium), and after studying both of his works,
I realized that it is hard to argue with someone who is right. Fortunately
for me, since the drawing thing didn’t work out, Scott wisely had
brought his 1959 Precision Bass with him, and we decided to plunk it
down on the wet sand, our thinking being that standing away from the
instrument satisfied the separation idea (yeah, I know—art school).
Combined with the sight of a valuable bass lying on the beach, it was
enough to make a compelling image.
There are two possible feelings with which I leave a photoshoot:
or satisfaction. In this case, Scott liked the results, I liked the results,
creativity served—we have a bingo! —PAUL HAGGARD