28 December 2008
I just read a quote from Catcher in the Rye where Holden Caulfield describes who the catcher in the rye is: "...all those children running about on the edge of some crazy cliff with no adults around to stop them falling over the edge..." I thought this was very pretty and I wanted to pair it with this shot of my cousin Ethan.
09 December 2008
A friend of mine recently showed me a link on Flickr (which can suck you in just like Facebook sucks the life out of your eyeballs) about a house off route 5 north an hour away from LA. So, on my way back from my last visit, I found it. It was called the 'polaroid house' - nothing more than an old, dilapidated, abandoned house filled with polaroids. I didn't find it as exciting as I had hoped, but I have a thing for old houses and I brought my camera, so this is what I have for you.
12 August 2008
Unless you've been hiding in a hole for the past few weeks, you've no doubt heard about the fire in Big Sur which destroyed more than 64,000 acres and over 30 houses; the biggest natural disaster in Big Sur history. One of these homes was Mike Gilson's, the owner of the Big Sur Bakery (the cookbook that I've been working on for over a year). Mike is a sweet, gentle guy and has such an inviting personality. He's someone you can be around when you're on fire with stress and within minutes, you'll feel relaxed and happy you're alive. I went to what was left of his property yesterday and we searched through some incredible belongings, one of which was a pile of "books" that if touched, would turn to dust. A couple of the only things remaining of the house were the dishwasher and bathtub.
There are so many philosophical levels in this place, one of most importance (in my opinion) is how we define 'self' through the objects we surround ourselves with. How can a human be a "person" through their stuff when all of the stuff is ash? This also brings up the question: what would you take with you from your house if you had an hour to evacuate?
23 July 2008
…and other things that remind you of summer. Just got back from assignment in New York and managed to visit Tim’s family for a mini summer vacation. Perfect day at Jones Beach complete with Bomber Blueberry popscicles, watermelon, body surfing, sleeping on sheets, and at the end of the day, emptying out our sandy bathing suits with the outdoor shower. I love the things that come to mind between June and August: ice cream trucks, bike rides, sidewalk chalk, playing the driveway during a rainstorm, waking up at noon, barbeque, going to the movies in the middle of the day to escape the heat, road trips with all of the windows down, and kissing summer crushes up in the woods near the high school.
03 July 2008
The best part about a lot of these travel shoots is simply all of the wandering around. Granted, I take hours and hours to set up the necessary people, locations, lighting, etc. to make it look effortless, but when I do scout an area, I often stumble upon these little pockets of heaven I never knew existed. Take, for example, this teeny tiny bar I found in Jack London Square in Oakland that is surrounded by modern construction scaffolding and ugly tarps. It's been around since before the 1906 earthquake and the floor was so buckled from it that the bar was at a 10 degree angle. The room was filled with layers of crap including hundreds of business cards tacked to the ceiling which, over the years, have attracted so much cigarette smoke you can hardly read them. Aren't you glad there's no smoking in bars anymore?
29 June 2008
I've been really lagging these past months on posting due to working 7 days a week and not having enough energy to sit in front of my computer screen for another 3 hours. So, today is Sunday and lo and behold, I have some time to post.
I've been working on a shoot for Sunset / the state of California up and down the coast. One of the locations was the California Academy of Science which has been under construction for the past four years and is finally opening in the fall. Upon trying to find a spot, any spot, to shoot that wasn't a complete hard hat area, I found the 'African Room' full of plastic preserved wildlife in their painted element.
27 June 2008
04 June 2008
Just finished a packaging shoot for Tulocay & Co., a manufacturer of all-natural specialty food products in Napa, CA. It was one of those days where everything fit perfectly: the sun, the ambiance, the creative juices, and the leftover sweet stuff we got to take home.
Would you like some brownies with a nice, tall glass of milk? Here you go. How about some yummy sea salt crackers? I wish I had some stinky cheese, then my life would be perfect...
07 May 2008
I just bought a 4x5 view camera and I forgot how fun it is to shoot large format film. The age old debate of film vs. digital is based on so many factors, mainly cost and turnaround time, which is one of the reasons why I'm almost 100% digital. But when the rare opportunity arises that a client has a budget for film or that they give me a lot of creative freedom with a job, I throw in some film images for a nice treat. It makes me happy and renews my love for all things photography.
These images are of Phil, the head chef, and Michelle, the pastry chef, from the Big Sur Bakery book project, which is wrapping up this month.
I also forgot that Polaroid went out of business, so 50 sheets of film is now nearly 100 bucks. So instead of pulling polaroid like there was no tomorrow, I was thinking of $5 bills being torn up before my eyes.
16 April 2008
15 April 2008
01 April 2008
Wendy Johnson is a 35-year practitioner of Zen meditation and organic gardening, and was the master gardener of the Green Gulch Zen Center in Muir Beach, California (about 10 minutes past the Golden Gate Bridge). She's also the author of an amazing book, Gardening at the Dragon's Gate. I got to meet and photograph her for the New York Times last week, and she taught me to constantly stay young by surrounding yourself with positive, happy people, drinking lemon tea, and getting your hands in your compost pile.
14 March 2008
I recently discovered the fabulous blog, A Photo Editor, and have been in love with it for weeks now. APE is Rob Haggart, the former photo editor for Men's Journal and Outside Magazines. In my experiences thus far as a freelance photographer, I often feel lost in a sea of industry questions, rhetorical and otherwise. It's so nice to have this information hub from someone that has experience on both sides of the table. Not only that, it's honest, straightforward, and Rob really makes a point of bringing you back to the reason why you love photography in the first place.
07 March 2008
01 March 2008
26 February 2008
Lauren Pett is the brainiac behind the deliciously decadent Rich Chocolates in Chicago. Not only do I get to shoot her unique and quirky inventory of candies and chocolates, but I also get to eat everything after pushing them around for hours to get the right angle. My favorite is the Whimsy Collection which is a take on childhood favorites like mint chocolate chip, bananas foster, pecan pie, and smores. I need a napkin for my pile of drool.
20 February 2008
17 February 2008
I've been reading "Letters to a Young Poet", a book about a young writer Franz Kappus. He wrote Rainer Maria Rilke looking for guidance and critique on some of his poems. The result is a five year correspondence on what it is to be an artist and person. I will end the evening with a quote from Rilke written exactly 105 years ago today (and I would like to put the word "photograph" in place of the word "write"). I paired it with one of my favorite photographs by Francesca Woodman, "Self Portrait at 13":
"...No one can advise or help you–no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: MUST I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet the solemn question with a strong, simple ‘I MUST,’ then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose."
-Rainer Maria Rilke, February 17th, 1903
14 February 2008
These were taken in Beijing in 2007, when I went with my assistant / friend / photographer extraordinaire Gia. She and I shot this incredible wedding and after the ceremony, all the guests got their own rickshaws to get to the reception (88 to be exact). I can't remember the last time I had that much fun shooting - I was standing on my rickshaw backwards, yelling in mandarian 'slow' (chi) and 'fast' (ju) so I could keep in line with the bride and groom. The reception was at this beautiful, colorful, elaborate old chinese opera house full of gold and red detailing. The food was incredible and I ate that entire sweaty 1000 year old egg right after I shot it.
My favorite shot I came back with was of this old woman casually pushing her glasses up with her index finger in the Forbidden City. I love the way it was taken and I still marvel at how everything seemed so fluid as I shot: I was slowly turning 360 degrees with my camera at my chest, attempting to be as discreet as possible, and as I was turning, there was less than a second when that woman put her finger to her face. In that half a second, my finger pushed the shutter once, all the while I was still turning back to my original spot. It was like a little dance that she didn't know she was a part of...