2020: This was a shoot I needed to be schooled on, even though I lived during the heyday of professional wrestling, I was not aware of Ric Flair. From meeting him, he’s a total character and a living legend of the sport. I brought my lighting kit complete with backdrop but I quickly realized it wasn’t that kind of shoot. I had a short window to photograph him and it was going to be in the lobby of Rosemont’s DoubleTree Hotel. Rick and his wife were in town for the World of Wheels event prior to them heading to Austin for SXSW. However, life changed quickly. SXSW was the first of every major festival and event to be canceled and that was announced as Jim and I arrived. Still, myself and the writer Jim Ryan were there for that brief moment to capture Ric as the world was about to stop completely.
Ric’s wife Wendy Barlow first appeared as Ric slowly made his way down. We already were learning to not shake hands but the first thing Ric did was shake our hands and we reached out without a though. I immediately saw that Ric had cut himself shaving and that was going to be a issue to deal with in post.
Before we even got started, his fans started to hover and try to engage with Ric. He was cordial but clear he was doing a photo shoot and they pulled back. As I tried to conduct the photo shoot I was quickly aware I was the one that was going to figure out how to make the photos pop. Without my lighting or backdrop I realized this was going to be a challenge, as Ric wasn’t going to be too outrageous.
The first setup got the job done but it wasn’t quite right…
We then moved to the interview and immediately I realized this setup made more sense. As Jim began the interview, I leaned in to Wendy and stated I wanted to do one more setup and she said no problem. I tweaked the curtains, the couch and I waited patiently for the interview to conclude.
With that I moved Ric to the new spot and the images speak for themselves.
I was even able to get his wife Wendy to participate in a shot!