The Agony and the Ecstasy
Working with Ross Halfin has always been an experience. Not only were we in awe of him in the beginning (do you really know the guys in Iron Maiden ?!!) but we were taken aback at how good he made us four young, hairy fleabags look !! His live shots were epic even though he was constantly complaining about the lights, constantly complaining about the songs (you lot are bloody horrible!!) and constantly complaining about how we could never be hustled together for a 5 minute shot (though that 5 minute shot would always turn into 25 minutes). He usually was able to come up with a group shot that somehow defined us as personalities and as a band.
You could always expect him to drag you around to some location (sometimes exotic, sometimes not so exotic) start screaming at the locals, insult someone on the way, get us both pissed off and doubling over in laughter simultaneously and end up questioning each other why we hired this guy and if it was worth the effort or not. But as soon as we would see the proofsheets we would always be more than pleased with the results... Eventually we realized that it was the price to pay for these amazing shots that often looked liked they could go into a classy travel magazine if it wasn't for the four scruffy characters leering back at you...
Ross has a way of capturing the moment remarkably and when I look back at all those pictures it just reminds me of how much fun all that actually was. Of course, we had to start drinking just to put up with all the tedium that goes along with photo sessions or just to put up with Ross himself but the results were always consistently superb. Of course, you never knew which Ross you would get - the cranky Brit with the browbeaten assistant, complaining about everything to anyone within earshot, or the personable, highly entertaining gentleman. "OK Lars, it's time to paint yourself silver!" and telling us how great the shot looked while trying to talk up and sell the next exotic location to us for future sessions. Later on I realized that these sunny locations were just an excuse for him to work on his tan during the down time! Not to mention that wherever we traveled in the world, Ross always had a knack for finding a white wall for us to line up in front of... Just take a look through the book and tell me how many times you see us standing, rather cluelessly in front of aforementioned white wall in some far reach of the globe...
All in all, Ross did his job and did it well. Over the years a lot of his images have become synonymous with Metallica, and his shots have stood the test of time. Now all we have to do is convince him to work with us again.
Kirk Hammett, San Francisco, 19 - 7 – 05