Monday, July 27, 2009

Been too long....

I'm still around. Working hard. Realized that it's been WAY too long since I gave a detailed post.

Camping trips, new cartoons, shooting for Nordstrom Online, trying to make firearms beautiful (not that hard. Guns - no matter how you feel about them - are inherently striking visually), writing, editing, learning.......

.... This is what I've been doing.

I'll tell you all about it soon.

I promise.

There's much, much, MUCH more to come.

Friday, March 6, 2009

It's Not Just a Glass

Sometimes the simplest pictures we take can be the most powerful. Take this image for example. On first glance it's just your basic, on-black studio shot of a glass. Nothing to fancy about it.

However, the glass itself belongs to my grandparents. It was given to them on their wedding day, 56 years ago. It survived through moves from California to Seattle. It saw the birth of my aunt and mother. It waited patiently after my grandmother had a terrible car accident in the early 1960's, an accident that left her severely handicapped. And it some how survived the onslaught of my sister and I when we came on the scene.

The glass has seen Christmases come and go, been raised at over half a century of New Year's Eves, and two years ago sat empty at the dinner table after my grandmother passed away.

These pictures we take can mean so much more than a mere collection of pixels. They can embody love and loss, life, death, joy, despair, the entire range of emotions. I know that while I was taking this image so much history flooded through me it was almost impossible to focus on the technical details. But I made it, just like my family has through all these years.

A simple picture, yes. But simple does not mean without depth. To myself and my family, this is not just a glass, it's our life.

Monday, March 2, 2009

With a Little Help From My Friends

It's no secret that things have been hard around the studio. Advertising and magazine work is drying up. People are cutting back on the little things, like family portraits and over-the-top wedding albums. But it's times like these when we really learn the value of friendship, so I'd like to take this moment to publicly thank all the people who have been helping me out with contacts or a shoulder to cry on.

An extra big thank you goes out to Steph, Marcelina, Chris, Jadine and Tomas.

I'm not out of the woods yet, but your support means more to me than I can possibly say.

Thank you!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Best Valentine's Ever

I wanted this Joey Ramon action figure from the moment I saw I it, and Suzette was there to provide a Valentine's Day "Cool Buy."

Here's what it says on the back of the box:
In every generation a small handful of
artists have such a profound musical
impact they change the entire face of
popular culture.
Most of these artists still owe Joey money.

Joey Ramone 1951-2001

P.S. I made Suzette a pair of killer pizzas for Valentine's Day dinner. It was an even trade.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Throwing Off the Bonds of Fear

Let's face it, things are scary right now. Commercial photographers face shrinking editorial pages in magazines, advertising budgets slashed to the bone and a rise in high-quality, low-priced stock images. This at the same time we stare directly into the face of rapidly changing technology: new cameras, updated software, new media distribution streams. And all of it collides directly over our wallets. It's enough to drive your normal, mild-mannered photographer into an agoraphobic depression.

But I say, "No more!"

Those of us who have chosen to be photographers don't do it for the money. We do it because we have to. Deep in our sliver-halide encrusted souls we yearn to communicate through our images. We crave the knowledge that somebody out there is looking at one of our pictures, saying to themselves, "Yes. I get it. I understand." We strive to connect - to make an impact - with our viewers.

If that impact is on the behalf of a client, so much the better. We thrive when our message is molded and amplified through the collaborative process.

If we are brave enough, perhaps our message is one from deep within our own experience, speaking universal truths only apparent from an individual's point of view.

But fear will stop that dead. It holds us, makes us hesitate when we should act. Fear is the communicator's greatest enemy. So we must lose all fear, be it fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of success, or the classic artist's fear that people just won't like it.

So I say, be not afraid of the future! Be not afraid of markets, of financial melt-downs, of global unrest or political strife! Be not afraid to lay yourself bare, to say the things that must be said! Be not afraid of living!

It is time to throw off the bonds of fear and walk proud, to shout, "I am good at what I do, and as I let go of fear, I will only get better!"

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm gonna get that stupid groundhog....

I just have to say it once and for all: I'm sick of winter. We've been buffeted by hurricane force winds, had power knocked out for days at a time, were snowed in - like the Donner Party! - for nearly a week ("you know, that dog is looking kind of tasty"), endured icing fog so thick you couldn't see what exactly that was you just ran over but it felt kind of bumpy and squishy and you think you might have heard it go Eep! but let's not think about it because it could have been anything in the this damn fog....

And now, after all that, just when we start to believe that a warmer, gentler spring might be around the corner, a frigging groundhog pops out of Bill Murray's butt, sees his shadow, and we're all screwed for another six weeks? How the hell did that happen?

I don't care how cute you look there, Mr. Groundhog sitting along the trails at Mt. Rainer. I know your game. I'm on to you. One day, you're going to look up and you'll see a shadow alright. A shadow that rapidly expands around you.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Scrubbing the House

I remember once hearing a big name photo-retoucher say that working on skin - specifically creating that perfect, porcelain look of high-fashion magazines - is like scrubbing a house from top to bottom with a tooth brush.

Oh, how true that is.

Even when your model has beautiful skin, like Amy (pictured here wearing earrings and necklace by Birna Jewelry), it can still take hours of pixel by pixel work to give it the high-polish feel so necessary in jewelry advertising. Every pore, every freckle, every loose strand of hair gets digitally erased, touched-up, re-imagined until it's perfect.

After staring at a 200% close-up for hours on end, I often find myself loosing track of what I'm even working on. Is that a mole, or an eyelash? Is that her nose, or elbow? I have no idea, but I love the way it looks!

Time to grab my toothbrush, I still have 15 images to correct.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Self-Portrait On White

After taking a few weeks off to recharge for the new year, I've been diligently finishing my new book, "On White." On White refers to shooting products (and sometimes people) on a plain, white background, with no external information to tell the viewer the object's proper place in the world.

While posing some interesting technical challenges to the photographer, in a more fundamental way, shooting a product on white changes the nature of the object, and our relationship to it. We remove the object from any outside contextual associations, and thereby cause the viewer to judge the subject entirely on its own merits. Ideas of proper usage, usefulness and personal involvement give way to ideas of design, color, shape and texture.

The images for the book were drawn primarily from my work with Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, and often sequenced to create new and (hopefully) exciting relationships. A handsaw becomes a grand piece of sculpture, while a pair of false teeth takes on an inhuman aspect, nearly vicious, suspended in this world of white.

The self-portrait seen here represents my feeling that everything I look at is destined to be cutout and placed in the white void, my eyes having become instruments of dissection as they themselves are nearly extracted.

The book should be done by the middle of February through my website. I'll be sure to let everybody know when it's done.