Veronica Mars fans know Chris Lowell as Stosh "Piz" Piznarski, the teenage sleuth's college boyfriend, but on the set of the show's Kickstarted movie, out today, Lowell demonstrated his off-screen talents. A talented photographer, Lowell documented the antics of a cast that was just happy to be all together again.
Lowell told The Wire in an interview that he was first introduced to photography on the set of his first acting job, the short-lived series Life as We Know It. "The producer of the show [Gabe Sachs] is an amazing photographer, and my character was a photographer, so Gabe gave me this beautiful Leica M3 and taught me how to use it, and because it was so old school manual and didn’t have a light meter on it I just had to learn how to read the light," he explained.
Lowell soon began studying the art and fell for the work of photographers like Robert Frank, Walker Evans, and Sally Mann. "More than anything in acting you have no control over when or how you get a job," he explained. "It feels like you have very little control over your career a lot of times, you’re just waiting for an audition. What I loved about photography was it was a way for me to have this creative outlet that I control so I could do it my way, how I want it." He now has both gallery representation as a photographer and images from most of the sets he's been on from The Help to Up in the Air to now Veronica Mars. His Instagram currently also features shots from his current gig on Fox's military comedy Enlisted.
The team behind the Veronica Mars movie asked if he would post some of his photos from the set on Instagram in conjunction with the release. We asked Lowell if he could tell us the stories behind some of those photographs.
The Men of the Cast
My favorite one, I think, is the one of all of the guys. Francis [Capra, a.k.a. Eli "Weevil" Navarro] is looking too cool for school and I’m smiling like an eight year old geek. That was one of the first days we were shooting and it was one of my favorite days on set. It was one of the only times in the history of the film or the show that all of us had a scene together, which I loved. I just loved having that time. It really meant a lot to me. That image was taken right before they did the rain shower all over us. It was our last photo of us being dry.
That's like the only one I think I'm in. With the Leica, with the rangefinder it’s a little bit complicated to focus it because you’re not looking through the lens like a normal camera. So I basically had someone stand there, and then I focused it and then I gave it to someone and ran into the picture. The camera doesn’t even have a timer on it. It’s that old.
Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas) and Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls)
That’s pretty normal. Basically Ryan is such a goofball. I think Ryan is a great person to have on any set because he just is always thankful to be there and he’s always having a great time. He sets a really great energy. Literally that’s one of the most common things you will see on a set with Ryan Hansen. He’ll be singing or he’ll be dancing or doing backflips because he knows how to do backflips. That's just sort of par for the course. And I think Jason [Dohring] was being a good sport. We were literally just wandering around through the parking lot waiting to get called to set and I just snapped that one.
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Kristen has to be on all the time, and she was working tirelessly on that film and engaging with every fan that she met and knew every crew member’s name and was constantly in talks with [writer/director] Rob [Thomas] to perfect the script and the moment. And she was nursing a baby she had just had. I think that moment was one of the few times on set that she actually had a moment to kind of zone out and sit down and take a deep breath. I think I was just shooting it through the mirror to so as not interrupt her one breath of meditation. We were shooting the scene where she tells me she’s about to go back to Neptune and I’m sort of reluctant to see her go.
I think I just told them to make them to make a stupid, tough-looking face, and that’s what they gave me. That’s the closest those two get to being tough guys.
For us it was just like a group of friends hanging out. I think we were all so grateful and shocked and excited to be there in the first place. We just wanted to take every opportunity to soak it up. It was very common when people weren’t shooting just to be hanging out on set and visiting with people and telling stories about being back on the show and taking photos. That was definitely the vibe.
Tina Majorino (Cindy 'Mac' Mackenzie) and Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel)
That was literally our first day on set. We were doing a crazy night shoot, and that was literally the moment that everybody was seeing each other for first time and just giggling and hugging and squeezing and making stupid, silly faces like Percy’s. That was that moment. That’s exactly what was going on. It was just sheer bliss.