[ Posted: Sep 05, 2012 ]
By Kristina Feliciano
For the key art for season 3 of Treme, HBO commissioned Jim Fiscus to shoot individual portraits of each of the primary cast members—a total of 12 portraits. Jim had two days to shoot it all and very little time to prepare: HBO called him on a Thursday to offer him the job, he flew to New Orleans the next day, and he shot on Saturday. (The second shoot day was the following Thursday; and he shot a cast member who was out of town during the shoot in a separate session in New York City.)
This was an extra-challenging assignment from a production point of view because, says Jim, it's pretty much impossible to rent equipment in New Orleans, so he had to have it all together before he left his home in Athens, Georgia. And then there was the puzzle of how to photograph these actors in a consistent way—with the light the same for all of them—but not make the images look like "12 headshots."
So Jim shot the backplates separately, having developed his lighting and color balance (he had a specific process for that), and then he shot the portraits in a studio. He also brainstormed with David Simon, the show's creator (he also created The Wire), on how to achieve a character-appropriate feel in each of the portraits.
Watch a preview of season 3, which premiers September 23 at HBO.