Alex demonstrates 3 of the many shades of Tiger.Read More
It's been awhile since I've posted (drat! I promised myself that wouldn't happen!) so here's a quick PDF "tear sheet" of a recent shoot I did of Arne Sorenson, the CEO of Marriott worldwide for Worth Magazine. I'll update with pics of the printed magazine, once I have them.
It was a fun shoot and the hospitality at Marriott HQ was appropriately fantastic. We got a few set-ups in in the 20 minutes or so we had to shoot. Mr. Sorenson was gracious and I was impressed about how much he knew about... just about everything!
Big Thanks to Pamela Shavalier for the call, and if you ever need someone to fly aboard a private jet or make some pictures at an exclusive island resort, I can do that too!
I just came back from a 2 day portfolio review trip to Boston. I had worked there for almost 10 in the 20-otts (I think that's what the kids are calling the years between 2001 & 2010 these days) and it's always amazing to see what's changed and what hasn't.
(Spoiler Alert: The roads. still. suck.)
The Boulvevard Artists portfolio reviews though, were pretty fantastic. I met and possibly offended many incredibly smart, attractive, witty, sweet, kind, and nice smelling art directors from the likes of Adam&Co, Arnold, Draper, Fidelity Investments, Isobar (go 'cuse!), Kor, PJA and more. I also met and re-met the competition whose books kept my jaw dropping. Robb, Cory, KC, Ken, Ryan, et al, are amazing photographer who are creating images that I aspire to.
I lugged THREE portfolios there covering a range of what I shoot for both work and pleasure. (a book of "one-offs" covering work corporate, editorial and institutional work, one book on The Learn Project, and a funky brand new one on kids and science housed in, what else, a Trapper Keeper!) Stephanie Menuez did a fantastic job with the pacing and the flow of each book. I was able to show one or several to each reviewer and the transitions between books just made sense. Everyone admired the spreads and I got a few "oohs" on the full pagers and compliments on the color. (Yes, me, color!) I wholeheartedly recommend Stephanie's services.
The other highlight of the trip, aside from dining at B&G Oysters with Robb, was buying my first ever jean jacket, seen here tossed oh so carelessly on the driveway.
Can I rock this jacket? It's too early to say, but I'm sure gonna try.
Alex bakes cupcakes for his pre-school class.
When aspiring photographers ask me how they can become professionals, I start with the same question, "Why do you want to be a professional photographer?"
It's not a trick question, and there's no right or wrong answer. But in my experience it's helpful to know your own motivations and why you would want to subject yourself to the agony of trying to earn a living doing something that you're passionate about, in a cut-throat, crowded field where someone else is always willing to do a job for next to nothing. What will sustain you when you're doing the bidding? Your taxes? The grunt work?
For me it's simple. I became a professional photographer to meet interesting people and find myself in unusual places. Not for the love of the art form, not to shoot women in bikinis, not for dreams of winning a Pulitzer. It's simply the selfish desire to rub elbows with and learn from fascinating people and experience places most others will never see. I work hard on the product, but I always try to enjoy the process.
This is not a political post, it's an origin story.
Once up on a time there was a kid who grew up in Maine. (For argument's sake, let's say that it was me.) He liked his hometown and all, but couldn't shake the feeling that everything was happening somewhere else. He didn't know anything more specifically, except that sometimes his little corner of the world felt like the outer rim, far away from the center of the galaxy. (Yes, that was a Star Wars reference.) I'm not saying that this is accurate, fair, or right, but it's just what he was feeling. Really important things (again he wasn't sure what) just didn't happen in Orono, Maine.
One day in 1992, during his (probably) Junior year of high school, he finds out that someone important (he suspects) is coming to the University of Maine to speak. Hillary Rodham Clinton was stumping for her husband, Bill Clinton, who was running for President. Not only was someone important 'from away' coming to town, but the venue was 200 yards from his house. His little corner didn't seem so remote anymore.
I can't remember the details, except that obviously I called someone, told them I was representing my high school newspaper, and secured press credentials. I do remember going through the secret service checkpoint (THE Secret Service!!), past the bomb sniffing dogs, and being allowed into the press photo pit up front. I remember sitting cross-legged shoulder to shoulder with the Bangor Daily News photographers. I remember my legs and my butt falling asleep. I remember wondering if I should use flash or not. But mostly I remember feeling like I was actually being taken seriously. While this was just another stop along a long slog for the campaign, it was personally historic for me.
I've shot HRC, and many many other politicians in the more than twenty years since this picture was made. Mostly in step-and-repeats (the assembly line of the photo industry) and now this sort of thing feels, well, a bit tedious. I realize that it's part ofthe same machinery whether it's politics, Hollywood, or sports. It's the grind that keeps things churning, for better or worse. These days, my work involves more interacting with and learning from the subject, but the thrill of working with people who are at the apex of their professions is still there. I don't feel like Orono is the edge of the galaxy anymore (New Brunswick is a lovely place) but sometimes we need to step away from our own center of gravity to look at, and appreciate it from away.
- B&W image made with Minolta x-700 and Rokinon (I think) 80-200 f4.5. Film was probably Tri-X pushed a stop but I may have gotten fancy and shot T-Max 400 pushed.
- Photo of Photo: iPhone6
- Beer: Flying Dog limited edition Denali Imperial IPA.
My wife is on maternity leave for just a few more weeks so we decided to play hooky on a brisk Thursday afternoon and check out the National Aquarium in Baltimore. If you are ever in the area, I highly suggest it. Ticket prices are pretty steep, but if you're local you should consider the family membership. It'll save you some dough and supports a good cause.
Sam (currently 2 1/2 months) had a limited experience there, having slept through most of it in the free baby carrier that the aquarium provided. He kinda looked like this Emerald Tree Boa. -->
Alex (almost 4) was a bit more adventurous and ran from tank to tank. He had his favorites, which included NEITHER of these two:
But, he's a trooper and had a great afternoon. And, since I wasn't working, I had no problem not getting the appropriate captioning information. If anyone knows the names of any of these, let me know in the comments!
For the gear heads out there. All the images were made with a Canon 5Dmk4 with the Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART, except for the emerald boa, which i made with an iPhone6 and the Snapseed app. They were processed in CaptureOne. I turned up the crunchiness a bit, to compensate for shooting through 2" thick aquarium glass.
Last year I was fortunate enough to shoot my second book in the Try This: series for National Geographic Kids with super author Karen Romano Young. While I can't show any of the pictures from the book until it's actually published, I decided to shrug off "real" work on this rainy Tuesday and do some quick images of some of the things we did, post mortem. Science is messy and involves breaking as well as creating. Here's to wreckage.
After finishing the shooting for Try This: Extreme, my second National Geographic Kids book last summer (see how I name-dropped right there?) I had something of an epiphany: I really like photographing kids as they learn and explore. Witnessing kids tackling a problem and solving it (in often unexpected ways) is really fun. The experience of shooting both books reminded me of my two summers at the Acadia Institute of Oceanography in Seal Harbor, Maine. The experience had a huge impact on me– not just because of what I learned, but because of the kids I met, the music I heard, and the overall experience of getting out of my small world and exploring a larger (and wetter) one.
Reflecting on all of this, I contacted Sherry at AIO in the summer of 2016 and arranged to head up there to make some images. I was surprised at how it still seemed so familiar—the ping pong table, the salt water tanks, even the tie-dyed shirts! It seemed like very little had changed about the program in the 25 years or so since I had been a camper there. I don't know if the lack of cell phone reception in the area kept most of the modern world at bay or if it was just that the camp philosophy that I remember—relying on your intelligence and observation rather than technology, has held true. However refreshing, this anamnesis presented a challenge right off the bat. Was I photographing kids doing science or just documenting a mirror of my own childhood? I only had a few days to shoot, so I was worried about tackling too much and coming up with an incomplete story.
In the end, I kind of punted. I decided to pursue the science/learning aspect of the camp, and only document the lifestyle, more personal side of the summer camp experience as it came up. I figured that I could always revisit camp in a year or two. The idea of poking around tidal marshes, climbing mountains, and snorkeling on the most beautiful coast in the world? The things I do for my job.
You can find many images in the Learn and Explore section of my website. Here are a few other favorites showing the more personal side of camp.
Several of you have asked after my new studio mate, Olive. (Pictured to the right in an old photo.) For those of you who haven't met Olive, she is a rescue tomato that has moved into the studio with me. As a young plant she was abandoned outside when the weather started to turn cold by a neglectful gardener. (Errrr.... me.)
I am super pleased to announce that with a little TLC she has really bounced back and is even swaddling her first fruit. What a difference a few weeks can make!
Here she is now. As you can see, I've had to upgrade her furnishings a bit. The trellis has been replaced with a $300 Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod and the spare LED bulb on the magic arm has been switched with not one, but two grow lights. I'm thinking of ordering a K 5600 1600 Joker but I'll have to wait until after the holidays.
Thank you all for the offers of home cooked meals for her and plant sitting services. She (we) really appreciate it and just wanted to let you know that we're going great!