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Matinee: 'Portrait of a Photographer: McNally & Ghionis' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

28 September 2019

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 221st in our series of Saturday matinees today: Portrait of a Photographer: Joe McNally & Jerry Ghionis.

Nikon had a bright idea. Hire factotum Joe McNally to shot a portrait of portraitist Jerry Ghionis. And, by the way, have Ghionis return the favor. At some swanky spot in Malibu. All day.

In 5:51 you can see what high jinx these two characters get up to. It looks to us like the pilot for a new sitcom (and it's a good bit funnier than any of the current network shows).

They get along like Steve Martin and Martin Short.

Nikon, of course, had an ulterior motive. It wanted to show off the Nikkor Z 85mm f1.8 S portrait lens. Not to mention the full-frame mirrorless Z 7. But it's tastefully done.

The video starts with the two photographers arriving on location and taking turns explaining the assignment. Ghionis gets the best laugh, describing his assignment: "That's like cooking for Gordon Ramsey." Except, you know, McNally is a pussycat.

After a few plugs for the new portrait lens, they go to work. McNally first.

He puts Ghionis in a tuxedo on a yellow surfboard in the pool. Ghionis's revenge will be to shoot second. And dress McNally in Ghionis's own wardrobe.

They're flattering portraits. McNally makes Ghionis look hilariously cool. And Ghionis goes hilarious too, making McNally look like Robert Redford. And no, we don't mean "retired."

They get along like Steve Martin and Martin Short.

When they show each other their favorite shots, all we can do it pause the video and say, "Wow." They are good.

There's a nice, long, leisurely post mortem on the escapade, too.

As Nikon points out in the post mortem, "Joe and Jerry are not only photographers, they're teachers. If you're looking to sharpen your portrait skills, there are clues in the video."

And these are two guys who know how to knock you over with clues.

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