A friend did the corner set wall Penn thing recently but he had the subject trying to break out of it, climbing the wall, smashed into it.
He said he was running out of ideas and then went to the corner, feeling shitty about the Penn-esque nature of it and he wanted to break it all down, so he directed teh subject to do just that. I'll find a link and post it up. It actually works.
Now the Hopper thing, well, its a vibe and people take it literally and try to find a diner with that mood, which is a scene that hasn't existed in Manhattan for years. They even try to find THE diner, which was a composit of places and moods, and light it up with strobes and it looks like shit, or rather, it looks cheap.
When photographers look at work from the past, they tend to forget that a lot of the "style" is just the period of the time. Robert Kennedy in Manhattan with a white shirt, small collar and skinny tie and everyone around him is in suits and white shirts with khaki pants makes for an amazing photography regardless of who shoots it with any camera.
Today if you step out on broadway, everybody is wearing sweats with Jet's logos and orange knee socks which is fine, but doesn't make for a cohesive simple, background.
Alsoi people in America have grown really wide, which isn't that pretty.
We were shooting motion in the London Tube and had a simple shot of the talent walking onto a escalator and riding it down, with me tracking in front. Talent was great, lighting was good given the budget, but wrangling civilians was impossible, due to permits and it's almost impossible to find a cut where someone doesn't have a sweatshirt on that says I heart something, but even if you have total control sometimes crazy s--t happens.
The best story I have is when I started this biz I was hired to shoot the advertising and a book for a movie. It was a 4 month project. Getting to the end the production was way over budget and time and we needed a sunny day on a restaurant patio and of course it was a trillion degrees below zero.
Everything was going wrong and it was a big scene where the murder scene happens.
We'd shoot, get close, someone would knock over a light, the director would yell keep rolling and of course we'd run out of film.
This went on and on for hours until at one moment, one very special moment, everything was going perfect. You could feel it and I just knew in thirty minutes I'd be out of there doing something a lot more fun.
The moment the lead actor pulls out the prop gun, points it and is ready to shoot, one of the extras, right in the left center of the camera view pulls out a point and shoot with a flash and fires it.
The director (who was brilliant but insane) goes postal. He leaps over the table, slides across it, grabs the extra by the throat, tumbles to the floor and is choking him to death. Seriously.
Being camera and being at the end of what felt like a tour of occupied Germany, we really had no respect for anything, so when security tried to jump in to stop the real murder, we kept yelling leave them alone, we've bet serious money on this.