DWF – Let’s start off with a little bio, tell us a little bit about yourself.
CHUCK – I’ve been married to my MAC makeup artist wife for 9 years this October. We have 2 kids. Lachlann is almost 4 and Olivia just turned 1. Oh and call me Chuckie I was born and raised in South Kansas City and still consider it home. I always dreamed of being a rock star and it took 20 years (84-04) to figure out that it isn’t going to happen. I play guitar. As far as photography goes, I have always been interested in fashion. I can remember when I was around 7 or 8 discovering Vogue, Harper’s Bizarre and Seventeen. I loved the photos and did my best to realistically draw them. that kind of went hand in hand with me being in a Glam rock band.
I became interested in cameras when I first saw the new local 1 hour photo lab that you could watch the photos come out of the machine. That was cool. Someone had a display in the store of some macro shots of Star Wars action figures and they looked like real life stuff to a 8 year old. The photographer had all of the props and lit it really cool.
My parents bought me a Kodak Disk camera and off I went shooting all of my action figures. I was a little discouraged when they did not turn out like I thought. Eventually I would date a girl who’s father was fine artist and photographer. My Dad also liked taking photos. I borrowed his camera, a Pentax ME super and off I went shooting girls and musicians. I was accepted to the Kansas City Art Institute, where after a half of semester I joined a rock band and dropped out. I played with them for 5 years. After the band split I moved to Nashville Tennessee and got a BS degree in Recording Industry Business. I wanted to be a A&R rep for a label. Of course I was in many other bands also but decided to stay in college this time.
After graduation I met my wife to be and convinced her to move back to Kansas City. I worked in a camera Pro Store where I learned more about camera’s and lighting than in college. That job also led to me wanting to teach. I loved to explain how a camera worked, lighting or really anything to customers. I also managed to get a job as an Advertising photographer with the Kansas City Star. I did everything from Perfume Ads to Corporate Portraiture. We published 3 magazines at the time. THere came a point that I decided to move to NYC to join yet another rock band or be a fashion photographer. I told the paper I was moving and I lost my job. Thing is, my wife and I did not move, instead I became a web designer for my church and started doing photography on the side. And now you know the rest of the story…
DWF – How did you become a wedding photographer?
CHUCK – I photographed a bridal show for the Kansas City Star. We published the Kansas City wedding magazine and one of my assignments was to shoot the big bridal show. As I walked around I noticed a photographers booth that I really liked his work. It was fashion and journalist based. I introduced myself and he ended up being someone I had called when I had first moved back to KC. He had offered me some jobs shooting some models. He was a local agencies go to photographer at the time. There was no money in the KC model market, so he had no desire to do that. His wedding work was inspiring and when I found out what he charged I understood why he did not want to photograph models. Another reason I thought about wedding photography is, I had helped photographers out at the camera store who were shooting weddings and to be honest, they should not have been shooting weddings. I had never even considered photographing a wedding until then.
One of my co-workers shot weddings on the side for a studio and he gave me some tips and he also shot my own wedding out in Vegas. I used images of my wife that I shot to get my first gig. My wife was working as a hair stylist and she told a client about me. They hired me, and luckily it was a expensive wedding in a great location. I had some wonderful images to start a portfolio with.
DWF- Who or what inspires you as an artist?
CHUCK – Fashion photography always inspired me. I was also really into pop art in high school. Nagal, Warhol and that kind of stuff but I usually only looked at Fashion. I always considered it art. The Hair band photographers I also loved. Neil Zlozower shot the cover of Ratt’s, Invasion of Your Privacy album cover, that made me start thinking about actually being a photographer for a living at some point. Rock and Roll is always first. When I first went to college I became obsessed with Herb Ritts and from there I am still discovering photographers that I love. I am inspired by movies and rock videos, mainly because of the lighting. The drama good light can create.
Off the top of my head, Ellen Von Unwerth and Sante D’Orazio are huge inspiration. I am also really into the obscene grain that David Baily shot the Rolling Stones with. Those images are haunting.
DWF- If we needed a photographer today why would we book you? What makes you unique?
CHUCK – I assume you are talking for a wedding. I believe I have a great ability to put my couples at ease and by doing that I can get them to really look like they are totally hot for each other. Not the blank stares or posed looks at each other that I see a lot of.
I shoot fashion. I think there is a big difference between portrait and wedding fashion and real fashion. Look at a fashion magazine and tell me if it looks over photoshopped? We all know it is but there is a clarity to it that is not so painterly. To me, now it seems that many photographs are becoming more like paintings and I personally think that a photo should look like a photo, especially for weddings. The reason being this, I personally believe that this photoshop look is a fad that might look really dated in a few years and I would hate for a couples kids to look at their parents album and say. “Oh my God that is so turn of the century”. Star filters were cool at one point and even some fashion guys used them.
I was looking at a some images that Cecil Beaton and David Bailey did in the 50′s and 60′s that for all purposes If I showed you those photo’s you would think they was taken today. That is what I feel I can give a client, timelessness. I am also a lot of fun to hang out with I’m told.
Have I fallen into the trends of the day, of course but I feel I do it with some resistance.
DWF- If you had to pick a favorite “Tool of the Trade” what would it be? and why?
CHUCK – Um, the camera. Without it, well I would not be making photos. Say that with tongue in cheek sarcasm. But seriously, I do not get caught up in the toys. Give me a 50 1.4 and I’m happy. I do like the full frame sensor. If it was not such a pain in the rear to get medium format scanned, I’d be shooting a lot more film. On day I’ll have a nice film scanner. The video light opened up a lot of cool images for me. I always used hot lights but did not know they made a portable one. Thanks to Jerry Ghionis for that insight. I am pretty cheap when it comes to equipment.
You know, this might sound cheesy but it is something I do work on, personality and talking and interacting with subjects. I am a VERY shy person and I am always working on this. I read about how David Baily came to Vogue and he was so different because he did not talk to the models using words like Doll and baby. All of those photographer cliche’s. He had an impact.
DWF – Care to share your favorite photographs?
CHUCK – (see even more of Chuck’s work below)
DWF – How about some final words to live by?
CHUCK – Be fearless. Sometimes you just have to feel the photo. Just like music, feel it. Forget about histograms and lighting ratios and blah blah, de blah blah. and just feel the photo. “Be the Ball Noonan.” I know this sounds a little strange. Jack Spencer told me he can look at a photo and can tell if the photographer was afraid. It’s when you are not afraid that you make a great photo.
So be fearless.
Location – Nashville
Business Name – Arlund Imagery
Years in Business – 5 Years
Websites - www.arlundimagery.com – wedding | www.chuckarlund.com – commercial
Blog - www.arlundblog.com – client | arlundphoto.com/wordpress – personal and photographer