Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Interview

I hate covering an assignment when there is a video team present. For some reason they feel their time is more valuable than the photographer's. Maybe it is because they have a "team" shooting. Really, they just get in my way. And of course they redo each shot ten or fifteen times.

I must say though, a good interview usually results in good lighting. Kye R. Lee at The Dallas Morning News has mastered the ability to get good lighting out of an interview.

But really, what is a photographer to do while the interview is going and the real action is three hours away?

I shoot. Then I watch. Then I shoot again.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The "Almost Portrait"

Often I take portraits. Not so often I get a good one. I think my execution has gotten much better...but there is always room for improvement and I still have a lot of improving to do. I have recently spent time looking for new techniques. No doubt new techniques means new equipment. I am looking to build my own pretty soon. Hopefully I will get some good results in the end which will inspire new directions for my portfolio. Recent inspirations have been Michael Rubenstein, Bob Croslin, and Brigitte Lacombe.

In the mean time, I am having fun getting the "Almost Portrait." These are the pictures that look OK. Not great, but OK. Often these photos rely on too heavily on technique and completely miss connection with the subject, leave readers bored, and lack emotion. Sometimes there is simply bad execution and poor direction.

Regardless, they are photos I like but wish were better. That is why you will find them on my blog and not in my portfolio.

I Likes v.2

Friday, November 9, 2007

Grandma...You will Be Missed


I still remember your treats. The Jello with canned fruit mixed in at the bottom. Always red Jello. I also remember your etched glass cat in the living room. It was scary. One of my first memories of visiting you was when you still lived in New York City. I remember the trains screaming by and a couch. Was it green and suede? Probably not. I was quite young. You used to shave the carrots into the salad with chick peas and make your own special dressing.

I remember when you came to watch over us when mom and dad went to Belize. You called in to get me out of school. You called me Marc by mistake. It was funny. During that same trip I had to give you directions to the supermarket. I got us lost...but I remember it being fun anyway.

I remember walking past the pool with grandpa and watching you wade through the water with your floaty raft. I remember you sitting in a perfect circle with the girls, wearing sun visors and playing Mah-Jongg in a way that was so classic it should have been in a movie.

I remember we used to sit on your porch and look onto the lake behind the screen. We would see the ducks. That was nice.

I remember grandma. Thanks for the memories. You will be missed.

Airports & Me

Many people don't like to fly. I do. I always thought it was fun.

I was the kid who didn't fake a big smile while being pinned with my very own set of plastic Golden wings.

Even long flights are fun. And when you leave the country you get free alcohol. When I went to Italy this past summer I had two mini bottles of wine. Then I saw a young girl from Switzerland order a vodka. I had to get a bottle of whiskey, and then, yes, another bottle of wine.

Of course there are usually no more meals while flying. At least not on a domestic flight anyway. Even a dissatisfying meal is better then the "snack" of peanuts they kindly give us now. I like raisins better and would rather have a second helping of Bloody Mary mix.

But it's not all about the flights. Airports can be fun too. Some people have terrible luck. My sister for example. Every flight she takes turns into a delay. And not just the two hour kind. We're talking 12-20 hour delays. Snow, crying baby, and smoking engine delays. Floor sleeping, 1000 page book reading, three cycles of CNN on those TV delays. Not me though. Hehehe. Usually my time is smooth and hassle free (knock on wood.)

In fact, if I can find and extra 30 minutes I am glad to have it. There are so many photos to take in airports. It is the one place where there is a forced integration of ALL people. No way around that one. People also do weird things at airports. Just think how fun it was to run around with your siblings. Now think how fun that was for your parents. People are weird. And flying seems to bring out the weirdness. I even like the business man with his Wall Street Journal.

Here are a few photos from the sky and in the airport. I just came home from a recent trip to Dallas.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I Likes v.1

This is the first post for a series I will call "I Likes."

They are nothing more than that. Simply photos I like. No reason. No words.

Just photos.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


H-A-Double L-O-W-Double E-N

That was the song we learned when we were six or seven in school. I still recite the song every time I spell the word. Maybe because I am a terrible speller (which I am.) Or maybe because it is simply fun.

When I was a kid my dad used to hand make costumes. Once he made me a racoon suit. I think I still have the tail or the hat or something stripy.

Once I was a half boy/half girl. That was silly.

One year I was Alfalfa from The Little Rascals. Anyone who knows me knows I have curly hair. Now making curly hair stand straight is no easy feat. Only one recipe would work. It was grandmas idea. Mayonnaise. Worked like a charm.

Then followed several years of fake skin, fake blood, fake scars, and simply bad special effects. These were the three or four years where I had to come up with a costume. Any costume. Just to look cool. Well...really just to extend my Trick-or-Treat years to get more candy. And to look cool. I think it worked. These were the fun years. I really had a good time with the holiday during these years.

Soon after, the whole idea of costumes came to an end. Halloween simply became a day to party. Hell, we even had an excuse to show up late to class. We could stay out late and smoke by the market. If times (and weather) allowed...we would toilet paper someone's house.

Then college came and the idea of wearing a costume suddenly became cool again. It was as if we were old enough that the memories of childhood were ancient. Looking back, I think the freedom of college just made us act like kids. I would go all year without any plans of having a plan. Then three hours before night fall on Halloween I would scramble to put together something. Anything would suffice at this point.

I think two years ago I was Peter Pan. With a cheesy, and frankly, creepy mustache. I even wore tights.

Today I photographed kids being kids. In costumes and sugared up. It was surprisingly wonderful. They were little Halloweenies. It was cute.

I also took pictures of a race. The Halloween Hustle. Pretty lame. I think 100 people ran the three miles. And it was cold. Only a few had costumes. There was one guy painted as a skeleton. Oddly enough he was a bleeding skeleton. But a skeleton none the less.

On my way home I stopped for a burrito near the university. The students were out in full force. For some reason, and I could never figure this out even when I was in school, Halloween seems to simply be an excuse for many girls to wear nothing. A slutty maid. A slutty nurse. A slutty...slut. It always struck me as weird.

Smiles & Other Thoughts

I recently had a beer with an old friend. We talked about life, relationships, love, family, and other such familiarities. It was great. It was nostalgic. I sometimes loose sight of why nostalgia is so sweet. Certainly this happens when I have been in my home town for too long. Whenever things become regular, my desire to think back, to remember, disappears or at least lessens.

Now one would think that this is not such a bad thing. Not being able to think back should imply that one is thinking or moving forward. Sometimes this is true. But sometimes, reflection will inspire a creative drive that empowers my ability to overcome past failures or recreate past pleasures. Often when I have trouble reflecting I become stagnant. I wait. I plan. I make excuses.

Nostalgia reminds me not only why I take pictures...but HOW I take pictures. The best pictures - whether they be of a flower, a toy truck, or a dying child - are great because they brew emotion. Nostalgia does the same thing. Being able to think back to past emotions help develop new visions. New visions of old emotions.

So... I apologize if you are victim to my relentless attempts to discuss, remember, and reflect on the past. I know, it gets old. But I like it. It makes me smile and helps push that smile into future thoughts.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rockies Make World Series...Then Lose

The World Series. To many it is the ultimate in sport. After all, the name implies that it is THE series in the world.

I always played baseball as a kid. In fact I played through high school. I made All-Stars once (the year my dad was coach.) I even went to the first ever Rockies game, and saw Eric Young lead off with a home run. So...you would imagine that I am quite the fan. Well...I'm really not. I mean, I too was caught up with the post season excitement, but honestly, since high school realities lead me away from sports I have not been too much a fan. I still like to watch the games with my dad sometimes - yes we have those bonding moments - but that is really the extent of my excitement.

Certainly more exciting was the fact that I got work from the Rockies unimaginable winning streak. I was booked for two weeks straight. It was great. It was great until the Rockies managed to screw up the excitement with a gross blunder with ticket sales that sidetracked the news from fun to, well, news. Online sales only. What ever happened to camping out outside for three days for tickets. That was fun. That made even loosing worth it. I guess we will leave that to real teams and real ballparks...like the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park.

I didn't get to shoot any game action, which was fine by me. Only fans. So...enjoy.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Afternoon Light

I have been super busy at work lately. It has been great to finally have assignments and make some pictures again. At the same time...I find that I am needing a story. Hopefully I will start another one soon.

I find that I always take pictures of birds when they fly over. I have always wanted to fly. Maybe in my next life I will. I heard these ducks quacking from off in the distance. I figured, why not?

The other shot is a building with some sweet afternoon light in Denver.

That's it for now.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Failed Rant

I just finished a huge rant about another bogus report from newspaper land. But I erased it just before publication. Better to not bore you anyway with my silly bitterness.

I do have fun snaps from last night's time spent at Herman's Hideaway in Denver, Colorado. It was a stubbornly hard shoot due to a gross lack of light.

Cool bar with even cooler people. I'd like to spend more time talking to some of the old employees like Carol Weyle. Carol, who began working at the bar over twenty years ago, now sits in the coat check room memorizing her bible study book and warming her hands next to an old ratty heater. While Carol is against the war, she has four sons who are in the military. Her youngest, age 30, left his job at the bar to join the Marines. He just left for Iraq.

While Herman has passed on, I believe in 1996, the bar still rocks. There is always a different sound. Some nights Latin jazz, some nights reggae, some nights hip-hop. The bar, located on South Broadway away from downtown and the posh clubs in LoDo, is a traditional dive bar with a crowd from all social networks. I hear the place has been expanded twice and still barely holds the crowd. I see too many shitty bars that have a very uncomfortable feel and energy. The Hideaway still has that family vibe. I dig it.

I hope to see, or at least hear of it, making 50 years.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New York & About

I just spent an amazing eleven days in NY.

After two years, I got accepted to the 20th Anniversary of the Eddie Adams Workshop (regardless of my photography, I think I finally got a good recommendation.) The workshop was great. I met many people...some good contacts...some good friends. The speakers and faculty really did inspire great photography. You could tell that they were not there because they had to be...but because they truly wanted to. This certainly is the reason the workshop is so powerful. I hope to see it reach the 40th Anniversary.

While I never had the opportunity to meet Eddie Adams, his influence on the photo world is obvious. Each and every person who knew him released a glowing aura when remembering the man. During his traditional ceremony to remember the six photojournalists killed in Vietnam his son August placed Eddie's hat on a slab of stone in his remembrance. I couldn't help but stare at the hat and feel his energy release. Powerful to say the least.

I spent half my time in upstate New York near Liberty and the other half in Brooklyn. Man are those kids hip. I knew it was coming...but still it was a shock. I certainly need to buy some tighter pants if I plan to move there (which I am not.)

Anyway, these are photos from the trip.