On October 25th we received some news about dear friends. I don’t want to go into detail about what happened but I also know that writing and this blog is an important part of my life and helps me sort out what’s in my head. The rest of the post is pretty heavy and dark. If you aren’t in the mood, my suggestion is to skip it. Satisfying your curiosity is not worth the weight.
If you’d rather focus on the positive and how you can help please check out and donate to the foundation that was created in their honor.
As part of an ongoing series and to test some new equipment I have enlisted the help of dancers. My goal with the shoots is to learn about my new Elinchrom Ranger as well as to document the extraordinary ability and grace that these dancers have.
I also shot a time lapse of my shoot with Kelley. It includes a few more edited images. The shoot lasted about 30 minutes; it’s shown here in 46 seconds. Yes, I did use my daughter’s wagon as a cart on the sand.
Music is hugely important in my life. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved music. I can remember being a kid and my dad buying records and listening with his headphones. Music gives me history. Certain bands or song evoke emotions and memories that, without the music to remind me, they would be long forgotten.
I remember living in Puerto Rico as a kid and being at a BBQ at one of my dad’s coworkers. I remember hearing and loving Planet Rock by Afrika Bambatta, that was around 1982 and I would have been nine years old. I remember fighting and trying to steal my sisters copy of Rock the Casbah. Trying to memorize the lyrics to Jam on It in the 5th grade. How old were you when you first heard and read the lyrics to Darling Nikki?
These memories are forever cemented into my psyche because of the music I associate with them. I hope my kids have the same experience. They may not get to hold and admire the cover art of a 12″ vinyl record or even read the liner notes of a CD, but if you grow up in my house, you’ll grow up listening to music. Grace is only three and a half and she can already sing the chorus to Pumped up Kicks. “Faster than my Bully….” Well, kinda.
I’m writing about music on my photography blog because this year the way I discovered and listened to music changed drastically. The iPod was one thing but this year Pandora and Spotify changed music for me. I’ve known about Pandora for a long time, but it wasn’t until I started streaming it through my phone that I found and fell in love with it’s power. Couple that with the keys to the record store that Spotify provides and I’m exposed to new artists and genres that I would have never found otherwise. Over the past six weeks I have been trying to find the perfect song to use in my son’s one-year birthday slideshow. I’m also thinking ahead towards my end of the year slideshow and I’m trying to find the song that I found 2011 that complements my photography. I’m still up in the air about the end of the year song, but in the mean time here are some artists I’ve found and come to love this year.
Ryan Adams. Back from retirement with an amazing new album. I was so motivated enough that I bought a physical CD.
Amos Lee – I found him probably through the Ryan Adams station on Pandora.
James Vincent McMorrow – thank’s Jason Bentley and Morning Becomes Eclectic
The Civil Wars – Another KCRW find
Lydia Loveless - an XM radio find – straight rocker-girl country
Citizen Cope – another Pandora find and then further explored with the help of Spotify.
Our son Charlie’s birthday was on November 28th. And like most second kids the amount of effort that goes into documenting his life is slightly less that that of our first born. Hence I am getting to his slideshow a few weeks late.
If you’ve got 5 minutes and like Jeff Buckley enjoy what Robin, Grace and I have shared over the past year.
I spent days trying to find the right song. This song says nothing about my relationship with Charlie; other than it’s beautiful and I’ve loved it since the first time I heard it in the summer of 1994.
In cased you missed it here’s the slideshow I made for Grace’s first birthday.
Last week I went to see/hear Frank Ockenfels 3 speak. I enjoy hearing other photographers talk about their work. I like learning about their process and how they made the photos. I like hearing, that even at their level, their inner dialog sounds an awful lot like mine. On a lot of occasions I don’t know who the photographer is when I find out about their speaking engagement. About a year ago I got an email that Albert Watson was speaking. I had never heard of Albert Watson, but when I went to his site, I realized I knew (and so do you) his photography. The same applied to Frank. After checking out his site I realized I had been looking at his photos plastered all over billboards and bus benches without knowing his name. Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, It’s always Sunny, Harry Potter. Yeah; that guy.
The previous paragraph sums up my relationship with art. I know it when I feel it. During his talk, Frank referenced a painter that he was using as inspiration and I had no idea who he was talking about. I don’t have an art background, have never studied art and don’t know a lot of artists by name. For the most part my art and photography knowledge comes from following the breadcrumbs of work that inspires me. I didn’t need to know his name to feel that it was a great photo.
Unlike a lot of the other photography talks I’ve been to, Frank’s motivated me and got me thinking about me, my work and why I do this. It also got me thinking about what I want to change.
On the notes I jotted down after I left I wrote: Show more work. Who Cares. Don’t hide work. I have so much work that never gets seen. I don’t mind that it doesn’t get seen because I shoot it for me, but I feel like I should let more loose. In the commercial photography community there are all these “rules” about what to show and whom to show it to and how to show it and in what format…whatever.
I also realized that I do this because I need to do this. For the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to make great photos. That process makes me feel better. It keeps me from wanting to break stuff. It makes me love my wife and kids more. It keeps me sane.
My process with photography is a bit different from a lot of photographers. I have this weird misconception that in order for it to be a real photo I have to have set out to make it. It can’t be a snap-shot, or heaven forbid a photo of my kids. That’s all a crock. Every time I pick up my iPhone the same thoughts go through my head as if I were picking up my 35mm. A photo is a photo and a good photo is one that makes the viewer think or feel.
Stay tuned to see more photos.
After a failed attempt yesterday (The Geffen is closed on wednesdays) I made it to the Art in the streets exhibit. I typically use this blog to write about my photography but after the show today I wanted to share my thoughts.
Go see it.
It got me thinking about how incredibly creative some of these artists are; and that I still don’t know what “art” is. I know beauty when i see it. I know that some things move me and some don’t. Throughout the show I realized that art is such a personal thing that I really don’t have to worry about what’s art and what’s not.
I don’t typically consider my photographs as art, others do. For me to walk out the door with a camera with the goal of creating “art” is like me writing a grocery list with my left hand. I may make it to the store and decipher a few things on the list but most will be indecipherable. A comment I overheard today sums it up best. While we were in “neckface’s” installation looking at broken bottles, empty cigarette boxes and other trash a teenager asks his mom “Is this part of the artwork?”