The Wildlife Assignment
The first assignment challenged the photographers to handle "less than cooperative talent," namely a camel, a monkey and a fanged tarantula. The contestants chose cards to see which animal they were shooting, and then had 15 minutes to capture the creatures -- which host Russell James (who we still haven't seen wearing shoes, by the way) pointed out had an even shorter attention span than those in the fashion industry. The camel sent a model running with some interesting vocal vibrations and decided to relieve himself during John's time, the trainer would not allow the unusually agitated monkey (unsettled by the camel) to be near the model, and the tarantula nearly gave Piper a nervous breakdown. Dean seemingly made a critical error by shooting with his "trademark" wide aperture, which served to give only the hairy arachnid focus while leaving the clothes, the true commercial value of the picture, buried in a blurred background. Meanwhile Piper spent most of her time adjusting the lighting, and failing to get a single shot of the model and the tarantula in her 15 minutes of shooting time. Airic, however, followed the spider all over the brave model's body, changing his angle with every click. The lesson learned? If an animal moves, flow with it because those images might be the best shots you get. And remember to keep most your the focus on the clothes, or your editors will bite.