The Crew, Intimate Portraits From The Credit List by Tom Lowe


When I was twelve my father took me to see the Steven Spielberg film, Jaws. We sat in the center of an old ornate theater where the screen seemed taller than any building in downtown. As the shark attacked swimmer after swimmer the now iconic pulsating soundtrack seemed to take control of my heartbeat and elevate my excitement and terror.

Toward the end of the film when the character of Quint spits out blood as the shark chomps down one last time and pulls him from his sinking vessel into the red soaked sea I nearly vomited into my popcorn.

So visceral was the experience that I couldn’t believe I was still safe inside a movie theatre. And then the relentless music signaled that the shark was coming back one more time and Chief Brody takes out the big fish at the last second. The excitement in the theater was palpable. I remember wanting more of the same and like a junky I’ve been looking for that thrill ever since.
I graduated college with a Film and TV degree and have since worked as an assistant director in feature films, produced over 100 music videos and seemingly countless TV commercials all over the world. Every project brings something new, wether a car stunt, a love scene, comedy bit, celebrity beauty or some rock legend standing on an amp performing a guitar solo, I always find it thrilling to be on a film set. To me, it is the place where almost anything can happen and it feeds my need for excitement. After thirty years in the entertainment business I often find myself watching the crew behind the camera wondering if any of them are still pursuing some form of childhood fantasy. More often than not, it is in their faces that I find that sense of wonder and awe. What is universal is that young or old they are all putting in time and effort expending their talent to create a piece of art that will become part of an ever growing media landscape.
In this series of black and white environmental portraits, I have turned my camera on the people who work behind the scenes in Hollywood, to focus on their lives inside and outside of the film set. These filmmakers are freelance, not tied to a 9-5 desk job. Their existence is a combination of skill, luck and perseverance. What does that mean? Like the line in the Kinks song, “Fame walks hand in hand with failure along Hollywood  Boulevard,” freelance film work is out on the edge of fame and total catastrophe.

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Decisions made in times of passion can make or break an entire career. The stoic film noir quality of these portraits exemplifies the drama inherent in every freelance artist’s life.
I have found these artists in their place of work and at home or in a surrounding they use as an escape from the rigors of their professions. They have become accustomed to living behind the lens and by placing them in front of the camera I have sought to  capture a vulnerable honesty, a visceral moment of contemplation or a glimmer of the  next thing. Like a film junky, a taste of the next fix. [Official Website]

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