Friday, February 27, 2009

the photographic dictionary

a friend sent me this gorgeous site today. it's an exquisite combination of photos and traditional definitions. just lovely.

i'm also on cult of mac!

check out this sweet post nicole martinelli made about my work on the cult of mac blog. i don't know who you are nicole, but thanks!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

find me on

whoever you are, thank you.

some ubercool person posted my iphone project on notcot today and my website skyrocketed 700 hits higher by midnight. woah. please go here, search for my name, and then give me a little heart click in the lower right corner of the box. this will help my item will move up the queue and thus more people will see my work. thanks!

here's a screenshot of the site as of now, mine is smack in the middle:

the coolest new gadget

check out this multi-crazy-composited image from the inauguration. what a shocker! it's so clear and detailed that you can even see bush near the podium making a wonky face! awesome. (fyi, if you're confused how this was made, check it out here)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

updated website

i just added tons of new images and updated my cv info on my website. check it out!

Friday, February 20, 2009

my day as a model

today i took a break from shooting to model for lovely margo moritz. she's shooting a cool project on movement in the body and i had the pleasure of participating by spending 2hrs jumping, falling, flinging, running and otherwise emoting myself to the limit.

i'm not used to being in front of the camera but margo made it easy. at the end of the shoot i felt free in my body and somewhat more in control of my own self image than i usually do. somehow jumping and falling down 300 times in a row taught me three things:
1. i'm not going to hurt myself falling down which is a pretty neat feeling, plus it's really fun
2. continually experiencing the moment of pure lightness at the arc of a movement is both liberating and blissful
3. i should do more lunges at the gym in addition to my daily cardio since my thigh muscles are absolutely dying. i actually almost fell down the stairs this evening a couple of times which is fairly embarrassing since i'm in darn good shape.

unfortunately all the flinging about made me motion sick (and i mean literally - i had no idea you could do that to yourself) and i spent the evening in bed, but it was well worth it. i can't wait to see the images.

retouching up the wazoo

here's what's on my retouching plate:

1 shoot from sf (pre-kauai)
3 shoots from kauai
6 shoots from la

that's a total of 33+ images to work on in post. my estimate is about 1-2hrs per image by the time i do detailed raw conversions plus high-end retouching which means i'm looking at more than a full weeks' worth of work just in post. ugh. this is when i seriously consider outsourcing.

the good news is that as of today i'm about 60% done. i'll keep chugging along this weekend and next week and hopefully get it all done before i start shooting again next weekend.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

my perfect career / my idol

my perfect career would mimic larry sultan's: he is primarily known as a fine artist, has shown in many major museums and galleries and his work has a cultural permanence and resonance that few achieve. the kicker is that along with his fine art work he is commercial and evocative enough to shoot spectacular choice fashion/portrait campaigns such as the latest from bottega veneta. it'd be different if he were known for commercial work and did fine art on the side but what i love and respect is that he does it in reverse! please revel with me in the ideal crossover career. i can only hope that one day i'm lucky enough to follow in a modicum of his footsteps. here is one of my favorite images from the campaign:

image copyright larry sultan/bill charles represents

Thursday, February 12, 2009

tuesday in la, summing it up

my last day in la, also hectic!

again i started the day with the gym and their fun individual tvs. fyi, i've never found 8am so tolerable.

10:30am, our model hits traffic and is late. when she arrives we head off to our awesome (though undisclosed) location. despite feeling like i didn't do a great job with this shoot, i enjoyed the challenge. i know i can't win them all and turn out a stellar image every time, but trying is always a valuable lesson.

1:30pm, shoot number two. we drove to pasadena to shoot my friend at his apartment. i was pretty excited to shoot in a classic la apartment and when we arrived i was loving the location. once i started shooting i immediately felt blocked and stuck. i think i was feeling a combination of time pressure from shooting in tandem with chloe, plus just mental fatigue from being on the 5th shoot in 36hrs. i worked it out slowly and did end up turning out a couple of great images even though i didn't utilize the location like i had planned.

5pm, last shoot. we shot my friend at her place. we had originally through we'd pick her up and drive somewhere nearby that looked promising, but when we arrived the sun was 15min from hitting the horizon and we just went with the gorgeous light in her bedroom. again, i felt jammed and stuck but i worked through it as best i could. i think i ended up with some winner images and i'm trying not to let my memory of fatigue and blockage taint my perception of the final shots.

overall, the trip was a big learning experience. i got some great images out of it and got practice photographing real people in unplanned situations and locations. because i didn't rock every single shoot, i feel somewhat disappointed about the trip as a whole (chock it up to unrealistically high standards) but i'm being too hard on myself: the shoots went well as a whole and i turned out some great fresh images.

one thing i noticed is that i may be overusing the 85/1.2mm lens by repeatedly creating similarly composed images. though i spent tuesday trying to break out of this and didn't totally succeed, i did come up with a few creative shots that didn't feel lens-specific. perhaps in the future i'll try other lenses to see what i can get out of a different perspective.

for now, i may go back to shooting real models because i need a modicum of comfort and the knowledge that it'll be easier to knock out some stellar shots. i also will continue working on my polaroid and iphone projects because they make me so happy. combining the 2 shoots i did in kauai plus 2 mad days of shooting, i think i have 10+ new images to take to nyc. i need a day off and it sure is nice to be home!

Monday, February 09, 2009

monday in la, 3 shoots down!

today was crazy.

i didn't sleep well last night and woke up at 7:30ish after only 2hrs of fretful sleep. the first shoot was at 11am and since chloe's house is on the complete other side of town (which in la time means 45min+ by car) i hit the gym in her neighborhood instead of mine. i must say, a personal tv on each cardio machine made my morning much better than trying to read tiny subtitles on a faraway screen.

the first shoot at 11 went well. we shot at a nearby gorgeous park and i learned a bit about working with what i got. i didn't pick the location and i decided to make something beautiful out of any environment. i think i was fairly successful and i enjoyed the non-pressure of a 30min shoot with only the wardrobe chloe's friend brought. it was somewhat uncomfortable working with a non-model and all of her realism while trying to get beautiful images, but i think i did pretty well and the next time will be easier.

the second shoot at 3pm was spectacular. the girl was drop dead perfect and brought excellent garments. it was fun to do both a lay-person shoot and a professional model shoot on the same day. i used my experience from the morning to inform my shooting of the afternoon. i decided not to force an external location on the shoot when chloe's apartment was just calling to me to shoot there. i think i succeeded in working with a professional model without completely defaulting to my standard commercial/fashion mentality and instead thinking more along my polaroid mentality. it wasn't perfect because i could feel my brain trying to force myself into my old way of thinking, but i did make some progress.

the last shoot of the day was at 8pm and we only shot for about 15min but somehow i got a usable fun image. who knows if it'll pass muster since it was working completely out of my element but hey, that's what this trip is all about!

it turns out that i have to go home early so tomorrow is my last shooting day and i leave on the last flight out of lax tomorrow night. we have 3 more shoots planned with a possible 4th - i'm looking forward to all of them. my test tomorrow is to practice finding the sweet spot between my "idealized fashion portrait" and real people subjects. i need to learn how to make the same stylized beautiful images that i'm used to with less control over the subject, clothing, etc. i believe it can be done! stay tuned.

shooting trip in la, the schedule

i'm officially in la for trip number 2. this time i'm skipping the meetings and book showings and i'm focusing on producing as many good images as possible for my new project. here's the tenative schedule:

arrive sunday night (today), sushi with braden

monday: meet chloe in the morning, location scout, shoot 4-5 separate portrait sessions, end late at night

tuesday: more location scouting with chloe, possibly two portrait sessions in the evening

wednesday: hanging out in the morning with chloe and hopefully 2-4 portraits in the afternoon/evening

thursday: relax/wind down, fly home.

friday: detox from shooting, back to the grind of normal work

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

palm tree revelations

here's what i learned/realized about my life while lazing away the days in kauai:

- my friend's 2 year old canon rebel xti verges on kicking my 5d's butt

- consequently, getting the new 5dMII feels about 1000 times more necessary than it already did (yikes)

- using the term "investing" in a new 5dMII makes me feel much better than saying that i want to "buy" a 5dMII (subtleties, i know)

- my first "new project" shoot went really well. it's a huge weight off my shoulders to shoot while not stressed and still get great images. it's delightful to know that i can either have a full crew or be by myself with no makeup/styling and still make beautiful photos and be equally happy and satisfied. to remind you, this project is about making portraits of people in which i shoot digitally but use the same quiet feeling from my something like home project thus merging my fashion and fine art bodies of work.

- sunsets and palm trees still rock my world (and my camera)

- taking photos on vacation makes me happy. this may sound like a weird one, but i used to always say "i'm not bringing my big camera (read: pro slr) on vacation! i'm not working!" but this time i did bring the biggie and actually reveled in the ability a. to take much higher quality "snapshot" vacation photos and b. to be able to shoot real (read: for my portfolio) images. it's always nice for me to remember that photography is fun and that i am indeed doing it because i adore taking photos. sometimes that gets a bit lost in the work melee.

- cameras should all be innately waterproof. when i go anywhere near water i feel the compelling urge to spend all of my time in it (hot tub, pool, ocean, lake, you name it) and my camera just can't go with me, boohoo.

- i am capable of not reading emails for 7 days while on vacation, as difficult as it was

- i love shooting my family and josh. i can never have too many photos of them. as annie leibowitz said to me when i asked her a question at a lecture a few years back, "you get the most information from the people you photograph… and i say, stay close to home.”

there we have it: i plan to continue staying close to home physically and emotionally and make beautiful images from my best inspirational people.

Monday, February 02, 2009

the ongoing interview

i've been happily assigned a batch of 5 fun interview questions from my friend jen over at miss attitude. this series of questions is based on an ongoing series of interview trades such as jen's response to this original post. jen questions happily relate to photography (surprise, really) so here goes nothing:

1. what's the best photograph you've ever taken? describe it (or share it) and explain why.

i've never taken a best photo of all time. i usually have a running favorite (or five) but those change over time. sometimes i get excited about an image for a week and sometimes it sticks around for a year. there do seem to be a few "best photos" that everyone else likes but i'm keeping that information to myself so as not to bias you :) as of today, my personal favorites are from a shoot i just did in kauai so they're not up on my site yet.

2. Without revealing any names, what's the most difficult photo shoot you've ever endured?

i actually can't think of one, really. there are often snafus on set or personalities to deal with but i've been very very lucky in this area.

3. if you could go anywhere in the world to shoot, where would it be and why?

right now these come to mind: motels in small towns across the united states, anyplace that is swampy and with tons of kudzu, wiseman arkansas (yes, the town is real and is named after my family), suburbia, homes in the san fernando valley (per larry sultan's work). i also want to "shoot" (read: vacation with a camera) in paris, fiji, bora bora, lake como, various cities in italy, london, new zealand, israel and any other tropical islands on the planet.

4. we have discussed our mutual addiction to sex and the city. if you could only watch one episode of sex and the city for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

hmm, tricky. probably "i heart ny" because the moon river scene melts my heart every time.

5. i'm going to come visit you in san francisco for the weekend. where will you take me?

i'm pretending herein that we can fly from place to place since unfortunately this would be too much to do in 2-3 days. some necessary spots are: my house for a dinner together and for my peek-a-view, the dry creek valley near napa/sonoma for wine tasting and sun (namely quivira and ceja), mill valley which is my favorite cute local town, sfmoma and the deyoung museums, tiptoes for a mani/pedi, barneys to window shop and moon over shoes (unless i win the lottery), bittersweet for hot chocolate and myabi for sushi.

so here's the deal: want to be part of the interview? if so,

1. leave me a comment saying, "interview me."
2. i will respond by emailing you five questions. i get to pick the questions.
3. you will update your blog with the answers to the questions (yes, you have to have a blog).
4. you will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. when others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.