With my life as a studio photographer in a holding pattern and my days of shooting bands at basement shows coming to a screeching halt. I’ve had to get a little more imaginative when it comes to what I photograph. Knowing full well that a new city or town takes getting used to. I’ve done my best to do just that. Since moving to Seattle, I’ve occupied two apartments that bookmark the Seattle Center. Being somewhat of an anti-tourist. I tend to steer clear of the traps every city seem to offer. That said, I’ve always made it point to document my surroundings the best I can. With that in mind, I decided to brave the mid day sun and heat known so well to Seattle and headed over to spend some time in the green, green grass. As you can probably tell, I did my best to avoid including the famous Space Needle. To be honest, you can see it from anywhere and I’m kind of sick of it. This was shot on manual and set to monochrome. I was hoping to give it a 1960’s Worlds Fair kind of vibe.
For years now, our weekends have included road trips that have taken us to many cities, states, farms and out of the way eating destinations. Some of my favorite have been out to the countryside where we get to enjoy things that us city folk don’t get to enjoy during the work week. And with all the roadside attractions and calls to “Stop the car. I’m getting out.” It’s a near miracle we ever get to our final destination. With all the recent verbal onslaghts of “People live here, you know.” and “You’re on private property.” I have learned to choose the ground I tread on lithely. In this case, with a 50 mm lens. I was able to keep a safe distance. Though no one showed up or emerged from the collapsing structure. I definitely felt a presence and history as I walked among the ruins.
Having worked with Iya numerous times during my years of shooting in my cramped Hoboken home studio. I’ve been eager to have her over to the Loft to close out my new portfolio in a much more open and for lack of a better word, lofty space. Having someone who was both a friend and an experienced model at my disposal initially felt like a no brainer. However, her inquiry regarding my providing a makeup artist and/or stylist threw me in to panic mode. And while having one of the industries best makeup by stephanie perez living in the adjacent loft went a long way to ease my tensions. Trying to book her only days in advance was a bit of a challenge. In the end, the m.u.a’s assistant Karen not only stepped in. She amazed. As beautiful as Iya looked walking through my door. *&^%$% had her looking like an absolute goddess. Going forward as a photographer, I hope to incorporate the use of a make up artist and stylist. Knowing that I have such fantastic options at arms reach is very reassuring.I highly recommend you take s look at Satephanie’s site. I assure you, you’ll be inspired.
After a big plate of French Toast and six or so cups of coffee. I wanted nothing more than to go home and sit out the rest of the day. However, my wife’s fourth serving of “Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” I was assured that would not be the case. As per usual, I had to come up with a plan that would satisfy us both. I cried out, “Let’s get some ice cream in Newark!” and all of life’s questions were suddenly answered.
Now, being a married man for many years. I have learned that every question includes a boatload of follow-up questions. And as a husband. Every answer should be swift, yet well thought out. Answer a question incorrectly and you could wind up at a mall holding your wife’s purse while she tries on ten outfits. None of which she will actually buy. Knowing “Do you want to go to the mall?” or just as apocalyptic “Hey, do we need to pick up anything at Costco?” Answer correctly and you might find yourself thumbing through records at your favorite vinyl haunt. Or as in this particular days case, exploring uncharted territory while finding visually stimulating images to capture. For me personally, visually stimulating means factories, construction sites, industrial complexes and train yards.
A love and a practise I’ve loved since this curious 7-year-old first experienced while wandering through local construction sites, cemeteries and junk yards spread out through my Queens neighborhood. Til’ this day that sense of danger coupled with the voice in the back of my head that says “You know you’re not supposed to be here.” makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my blood rush.While these excursions have nothing to do with any lack of respect for safety, personal property or authority. It definitely reinforces that old adage “No one owes you anything. If you want something. You have to take it.” That rush I get. The voice in the back of my head and the little hairs on the back of my neck standing on end. That’s my body telling me that my soul is still intact. That getting older doesn’t mean you’re getting old. At least not yet.
This past Thursday I had the chance to work with Teegan on what is becoming my new portfolio. The New York by way of Florida model was a pleasure to be around. With my voice not holding up as much as I would have liked. My friend and current studio director Kevin provided much of the verbal communication. During shooting there would be moments where Teegan would just provide a look that knocked me off my feet. So much so that I had to shout out “Gorgeous” “Fantastic: or “Beautiful”. Each time her eyes and smile would light the room with an incredible smile and a thank you. Just pure joy to work with and be around. With each session I feel my anxiety lessen and my attention to detail grow. Making me feel grateful for the opportunity to get back to the things I love. Learning new things while adding new layers to the template. The left and middle images were shot on a new Fashion Grey seamless. The right was taken shot on the roof with a reflector.
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In a recent conversation with friend, fellow photographer and mentor Kevin. I was questioned about my use of watermarks. I explained that I had so many of my music related photos used without permission, notice or credit over the years and how using a watermark gave me a sense of assurance that such branding would cut down on, if not eliminate the practice of taking without asking. As ridiculous as it might seem, it pisses me off when I have to ask for a photo credit after it’s already been used without notification. In the days of film, this never seemed to be an issue, due to the fact that you, the photographer, owned the negative. In a time of social media’s immediacy and a digital age where a file / image replaces the negative. Problems certainly have more of a chance to arise.
Still, his question and critique really made me think. Is it really worth it? Does it reduce the emotion or intended message within the image. If so, does that tiny assurance relieve any of the anxiety or paranoia of having one of your shots appear uncredited on someone’s band page? Probably not. But still, it’s an idea I’m still not ready to completely embrace. So, what do you think? Bands, Photographers? I’d love to hear from you.