“Remember, there is no ‘winging it’ in professional photography….” Playboy Centerfold photographer Arny Freytag stated clearly to the rapt crowd before him. I quickly glanced around the room and you could have heard a pin drop. A few squirmed in their chairs, perhaps recalling a previous moment or two back at their photo studio, thereby reminding themselves again why they had traveled from around the world to attend this event. It was the 3rd installment of the Shoot the Centerfold seminar, this time in Las Vegas, Nevada, from September 14 -16 and Bullz-Eye was there. Here, top photographers from around the world gathered to learn how to shoot centerfold-quality images from Playboy Magazine’s best shooters, and with three stunning and current Playboy Playmates as their subjects. The newly remodeled Tropicana Hotel once again was the featured showcase venue. Jarmo Pohjaniemi, Arny Freytag and David Mecey were the three keynote instructors and, for the first time, both editors Jeff Cohan and Gary Cole added editorial guidance to the photographers who attended the event.
The three ringleaders have honed their craft even more since the first Shoot the Centerfold event took place in Hollywood, Florida, at the Hard Rock Casino & Resort. As before, each had their own stunning glamour photo set, with flexible lighting change-ups to instruct the lensmen how to best capture beauty, figure and form.
David Mecey continues to amaze the shooters in attendance with his trademark “less is more” lighting direction style. His accurate tips on “model communication” were some of the best I’ve heard, giving his insight into his near Zen-like intuition of how best to communicate with models, their diverse and unpredictable mind-sets and how to foresee consequences when dealing with new, inexperienced and unpredictable talent. His model, Miss March 2011 Ashley Mattingly, was remarkable.
Jarmo’s side by side instruction was even more spot on and thorough then before, standing mere feet from the photographers on his set, making sure everyone of the hundreds of images the attendee was creating was as best it could possibly be. Seen here, Canadian pro photog Peter Robinson gets Jarmo’s keen eye and tutorial. His post modern set was superb and his Playboy Playmate Olivia Page, Miss September 2010, was informally voted “best of show” by PA’s and crew on assignment (present editor included. lol)
Arny Freytag went completely all out with a 38 light head set up, where he built a spectacular garage set, complete with custom Harley Davidson right on the trade show floor. Posing on set was Miss July 2011 Jessa Hinton, who wowed all the shooters with her classic bomb shell look and sex appeal. A new “bull-pen” was cordoned off to prevent encroachment onto the shooting area, as all attendees were eager to press closer to see and hear Arny give one on one instruction. This allowed photographers greater freedom of movement so shot angles could be perfected. Clearly making the case that ‘winging it’ wasn’t in the program, Arny demonstrated a perfection of the mastery of lighting, pose and form, which knows no peer.
As an added bonus, two of Playboy’s most experienced and professional editors were on hand to give exclusive one on one consultation and portfolio review of the shooters best work. Gary Cole, Playboys’ Director of Photography since 1970, and Jeff Cohen, Playboy Special Editions editor and Playmate Casting Calls producer, were exceptional in their instruction and insight, patiently reviewing each photo in the portfolios and offering their opinions and advice. Toronto’s own photo wiz kid Simon Mah is seen in the slideshow above getting a thumbs-up from the editors. One had the impression that you were seated in front of the editorial essence of what the “Playboy Girl” visually is, with Hef as the only missing piece to this iconic puzzle. The two, friends for decades, frequently supplied humorous anecdotes and banter to their portfolio review of each photographer. This surely gave comic relief to the individuals who patiently waited for their turn, many of which felt that this was their most nerve racking moment in their professional lives!
Bullz-Eye was offered once again to have special access of this remarkable event, including all the sets and playmates. Bullz-Eye Featured Models Rose Chiauzzi and Laurie Woodruff flew in for this event and tore up Las Vegas as only the most frisky Bullz-Eye models can! At the Tropicana, they were seen on the red carpet, VIP cocktail parties, and at” Staff only” pre-event meetings. The Bullz-Eye girls were quite busy networking, posing with fans as well as with Playboy Playmates Ashley Mattingly, Olivia Page and legendary Centerfold shooter Arny Freytag.
The next Shoot the Centerfold event will be at Glamourcon, November 5-6, in long Beach, California. Look for our shoot the centerfold interview series to continue, with interview profile coverage on editors Jeff Cohen and Gary Cole in future issues of Bullz-Eye, and special thanks once again to STC business manager Jon Paulson for all the invaluable PR assistance!
Tags: Arny Freytag, Ashley Mattingly, centerfold photography, David Mecey, Gary Cole, girl next door, glamour photography, glamour photography workshop, Jarmo Pohjaniemi, Jeff Cohen, Jessa Hinton, Las Vegas, lighting techniques, Olivia Page, photo composition, photography seminar, photography techniques, photography workshops, Playboy, Playboy Centerfold, Rose Chiauzzi, Shoot the Centerfold Seminar