10 Questions for photographer Adam Yurman

Tiara @ PacificBeauty.com

I am very proud to present to you a new series on Asian-Sirens called: “10 Questions for…”. We’ll be starting with photographers. Our first guest is the famous Adam Yurman from Pacific Beauty and Pacific USA. He discovered Indonesian ‘supermodel’ Tiara Lestar not very long ago.

Take your time to read about Adam’s vision on glamour photography, his successes, his failures, and his ‘way with the models’. And to top it off, Adam is offering two free wallpapers! Yes, one with Tiara, and one with Issariya. (Available for members only, membership is free!)

Asian-Sirens: What kind of photography do you like?
Adam Yurman: For me, it’s not the subject matter so much that draws my attention to a photo but rather the use of contrast, texture, color and lighting that pulls me in. If all the elements are combined artistically to create an interesting effect, then I want to take a second look. Of course a sexy or cute model’s photo will get my attention like anyone else, but then it’s not photography I’m thinking about there.

Asian-Sirens: When did you decide to become a photographer?
Adam Yurman: I was convinced I was going to be a musician for life and it was going along pretty well until I found out how much freedom one can have from being a successful photographer. Photography offers travel, open ended earning potential, new people to meet all the time, so many styles of work to explore from food to cars to women.In contrast, being a successful studio and touring musician put me entirely under the control of a few ego maniac managers and record company executives that cared little about my well being. Being a photographer means being your own boss and everything is up to you regarding success or failure. Commercial Photography is also a creative field where you can feel like an artist although it is much more about business then art if you compare it to being a musician.

Asian-Sirens: Which photographers do you admire and why?
Adam Yurman: Hmm, for sexy glamour photography I like Stephen Wayda and a few other top Playboy photographers but for scenery and for black and white it’s the obvious choice, Ansel Adams. Maybe because Ansel Adams introduced the idea of scenery in black and white as fine art and advanced the idea of manipulating the tones in the composition for balance. By the way, about glamour photographers, I feel I should say that in this arena it is not only the photographer one should be rooting for as a favorite but the photographer’s team. I mean the makeup artist, hair stylist, clothing stylist and photo shoot coordinator, if there is one. Busy professional shooters all have a preferred team and strongly prefer not to shoot without them if it is an important assignment where their name is on the line.

Asian-Sirens: What makes a good photo?
Adam Yurman: I will assume we are talking specifically about sexy glamour photography since we are at Asian Sirens after all. My opinion is that a good glamour has a few different purposes and the intended use should shape the creative style. You would not fire a gun without knowing where the target is? Well not unless you were an intoxicated Issarn farmer on New Year’s day out celebrating.

Here are a few specific targets I have found myself looking at over the years.

The portfolio shooting: If you are shooting a model’s portfolio, a “great photo’ in that style will make her or him look both interesting and nicely balanced both in facial features and in the bodies’ proportions. Remember, they have to go out and promote herself with these photos so a close up of a butt in black and white may please the artistically inclined and recent graduate of Art Center, (and indeed be a great photo!), but may not get your wanna be model/actor any jobs.

The Men’s adult magazine shoot: If it’s an erotic glamour shoot for a mainstream magazine or website, then the “great photo” is what the majority of the rest of the world thinks is sexy and erotic. If you can grasp this, then you are going to be a commercial success. You have to include not only good composition, use of color and lighting but also capture something sexy in the way of movements and expressions from the model to bring out the mood of sensuality. Every shooter has his or her own way of controlling a photoshoot to move in the right direction but this varies a lot. Some models actually bring all the hot moves and moods to your photoshoot and you can just worry about your lighting while she does all the work. We love those! Others are shy and inexperienced and this is where your skills and experience will come in handy. To elaborate on that would take another few pages, maybe next time. There are also the hard core porno mags that are more like a medical journal then any kind of glamour but this is not my area. They tend to just feature the same ten basic poses on different sofas.

The Portrait: Then there is the “great photo” of your girlfriend or worse, someone you wish was your girlfriend and you have to keep it to yourself for various reasons. This is what I call a portrait. To make a “great photo” in this arena will be to capture his or her greatest qualities in a single image which may not be erotic or glamorous if they are a writer or an athlete. If you want to please yourself, capture what you think is their greatest attribute but if you want to please them, shoot from their perspective of what means the most to them. If it’s writer, make them look intelligent, not sexy and coy. If it’s an athlete, capture a hot moment of extreme action to make them happy. If it’s your girlfriend, better make sure she looks great no matter what or she will never let you shoot her photo again. Professional makeup is advised if glamour is an issue. Makeup for photography is different from clubbing makeup.

Asian-Sirens: What makes a good model?
Adam Yurman: This is a fun question. Few models are what we would call a “good model” as it takes a lot of time and experience to be a truly great model and by that time she is just about moving on to acting, law school or marriage. The real question should be, how do you make a hot looking woman look like a model? Some women look amazing but have low self esteem and are horribly shy in front of the camera. This is a tough job but a smart shooter can still get the right photos done. First, you have to talk with her to convince her that you can make up where nature left off and you won’t let her down. Show her your portfolio, your retouching, brag about your genius makeup artist, even some show her some before and afters! This will get her thinking that in your capable hands she will be safe and look hot like other models she has seen in magazines. If you were going in for a scary surgery wouldn’t you want to meet your Doc and be reassured that he or she was tops in his or her field? This helps a lot even with top pro models but is especially important for shy first timers. But in the end, it’s perfectly balanced features in the face and sexy curves in the body that comprise the best ingredients for you to cook with. If she has passion and natural confidence, all the better but this is rare. You have to inspire those things with music, conversation and most importantly, a comfortable working environment. Even if you are at the beach with high winds and nosey onlookers, make sure she has water to drink, a wrap to wear in between shots and her Cell phone nearby which will all help to make her feel at home and deliver more for you.

Asian-Sirens: Is there an Asian model you really would like to work with?
Adam Yurman: I thought about this for a while. The answer is, how can I know if I want to work with them if I have never met them and talked? They all look great, don’t they? It’s their attitude in person that will make them stand out for me and who knows what that is until you get to meet them. One can not tell that much from a picture other then that they look really nice. Who knows what went into making that shooting happen on the part of the team working on that photoshoot. It may have been a Hellish day for all but still there were great photos. I will try to avoid prima donnas, that is for sure.

Asian-Sirens: Did you ever screw up an assignment? (please do elaborate if so! ;-))
Adam Yurman: Oh yeah! Every shooter has screwed up and if they say they never have , they are lying.
My worst story was centered around a Nikon FM2, all manual camera that developed a, (silent but deadly), frozen shudder blade which left a thick black line across 20 rolls of film. This was for a swim-wear clothing company out of California and we were over in Hawaii shooting on location with some very expensive models including Nadine Tenega who was Miss Hawaii at the time. My client was quite eager to review her beautiful swim-wear shots. You can imagine my client’s disappointment when he saw the thick black shudder lines in the film instead of Miss Tenega’s shapely curves. My paycheck also had a thick black line through it, or was that red?

Asian-Sirens: Did you ever get intimate with a model you worked with? (feel free to elaborate! ;-))
Adam Yurman: There is a saying in Thai that the monk should not eat the chickens that live inside the temple. And thusly I have a golden rule that parallels that. But there is no such rule that says that I can not make a model out of someone I have been together with for a while already. And this has become a happy accident a few times over the last 15 years. I want to clarify this by saying that I never tell anyone I am dating that I am a photographer or that I would possibly like to take their picture until long after they have gotten to know me. I usually say I am in some kind of media production work and then turn the conversation towards something less incriminating. If much later we become close, it is only natural that I would want to take a picture. If the photo turns out looking like she is actually quite photogenic, then you can imagine what will happen next as I am forced to confess my true profession and persuade her to give it a try. I can also say that this has brought nothing but joy and success to all involved over the years. I never use photography as a pick up line. It would just be so cliche and I would lose my self respect.

Asian-Sirens: What kind of camera and lighting equipment do you use?
Adam Yurman: I used to be a die hard Nikon addict but I have gone Canon these days as they own digital photography currently. I am secretly rooting for Nikon to catch up but Nikon releases one big Goose Egg after another while Canon has truly made my life easier with their friendly and effective technology. I do not get subsidized for saying this. Come on Nikon, stop outsourcing all your chips and software!

Asian-Sirens: What are your future ambitions as a photographer?
Adam Yurman: That is simple to answer but it is only a fantasy. It will not happen. I would like to slow down and produce only a few great shootings rather then be under pressure to meet grueling deadlines. Yeah, I know, sounds like moaning but it is scary, the pace I work at sometimes and you are only as good as your last photoshoot. That is why people like Doc Lee have mentioned that some of my photography work is good but not great. If I could only display my best work and not produce so much. maybe I could hide my “good” work and only show the great stuff but all of it has a market and a place, even the test shootings!

I am offering a shot for wallpaper use (available for members only) of Tiara Lestar which is part of a series we shot that appeared in Playboy Magazine Spain and Penthouse Magazine, Holland and Thailand entitled, “Weekend in Bali”. I will shamelessly add that you can find the complete Tiara Lestar collections at www.pacificbeauty.com

Asian-Sirens: Thank You Adam Yurman, and all the best! We hope to see many more beautiful models photographed by you.

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0 thoughts on “10 Questions for photographer Adam Yurman”

  1. Fans of Adam’s work will probably also want to read my previous article which focuses on some of Adam’s earlier classic work, and also discusses the problem he mentions in his last answer.

    For those of you who don’t know, Adam was the electric guitarist in Al Stewart’s backup band in the early 80s. No he didn’t play on “Year of the Cat”, but he did play on a couple of arguably better but less well known albums (“24 Carrots” and “Russians and Americans”).

  2. Looking at this Tiara wallpaper has made me realise why I’m not so fond of a lot of Adam’s recent work, even though I love his early stuff. This photo is similar to the classic Sung Hi pic I featured in my earlier article in as much as Adam is using flowers to enhance the model. But whereas Sung Hi looks like she just picked them up herself to have fun with them, in the case of the Tiara pic it really looks like they’ve been put there – she just doesn’t interact with them in a natural way.

    In Adam’s earlier work, it looks as though he managed to capture a beautiful moment in time – although he obviously put a lot of work into those photos, they still look very natural. On the other hand, a lot of his more recent work (including this Tiara pic) looks very ‘staged’. Given the immense popularity of this style of photography, I guess other people aren’t as bothered by this as I am (and as I mentioned in my previous article, Adam has to give the market what it wants to pay the bills). But I strongly suspect there’s a market for high quality naturalistic glamour photography (like many of the Japanese photo albums, for example).

  3. It’s a great shot of Tiara and I definitely like the wallpaper.

    And Lee, there is no market for high quality naturalistic glamour photography. How long are you in business now? And how many of these photographers do you know who can live from high quality naturalistic glamour photography? Exactly.

  4. But is this just because nobody dares to do it? People spend a lot of money to import those Japanese photo albums I mention, for example.

    I think the market is there, it’s just that nobody is geared toward it – including the magazines that employ the photographers. So in pratice there isn’t any money in it, but a magazine publisher with vision could make money from this I think.

  5. Tiara , Tiara ..she is not great…move on ..there are lots of other hot Indo beauties…who are beautiful enough to be famous….Tiara…It’s all photoshop..check out her candid photo without make up , hairdos, she is just an average looking javanese Muslim girl , who for us Indonesian men can easily find lots of similar look. here is the link , see the one entitled “Party Girls ” :http://pub33.bravenet.com/photocenter/album.php?img=94715&usernum=2821462647

  6. I think she looks pretty good if she isn’t wearing makeup! I doubt many other models would look this good without it – Sachiko is the only girl I know of who dares to model without makeup.

  7. He certainly does. He was the electric guitarist in Al Stewart’s backup band in the early 80s, and as I have all the albums he played on I can confirm he did great work.

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