Behind the Scenes: David Choi’s Fire Guitar

MellyLee-DavidChoiFire-BTSWhenever I get a change to photograph a subject repeatedly over time I feel I start to develop an intimate director and performer relationship. By relationship I mean that I know that I’ve earned a certain level of trust and comfortability with my on-camera subject. When this kind of bond has developed I instinctively get a sense of how far I can take my artistic direction and how far is my subject will to go to make some images. I’ve been privileged to photograph David Choi over the course of the last few years for various media outlets and promotion/press things.  Being a creative person himself David has always been a great person to conceptualize ideas for: underwater, sitting on top of a car, repeatedly pushing him off a chair…) During the beginning of 2013 I’ve been going through this odd phase of wanting to break every single prop I’ve brought on set. Going with this theme I pitched the idea of photographing David with his instruments on fire. He was down, so that’s what we did.

Read on to see the behind the scenes or check out the photo set here.

Material for setting instruments on fire:

  • Microphone
  • Guitar
  • Ice cubes
  • Lighter fluid
  • Paper towels
  • Hardware tool
  • Fire extinguisher (in our case a backyard hose)

First I had to find a cheap guitar that I’d have no problem with destroying.


My friend, Daniel Nguyen, came along to assist and picked up some flammable goodies along the way.


Next we prepped both the guitar and the microphone to be lit.


Talent: David Choi
Photo Assistant: Daniel Nguyen

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