I’m currently in Cologne, Germany speaking at Photokina. Fuji brought me out to speak about the X cameras that I’m so dang in love with. I haven’t really hit the floor just yet but I saw a freaking helicopter parked in one corner of the trade show. You know. A helicopter. Might as well. What this trade show needs is more helicopters.
I’ve been on the road for two months and it’s been a hell of a good time bouncing around this lovely planet of ours. I’ve had the pleasure and honor to meet a number of truly passionate and talented people. I’ve had some soul searching late night talks over bad food and good wine. I’ve seen some things that have me so inspired to create new work that I’m paralyzed not knowing what I should do first. I flew ATL – DTW – AMS – CGN and my bag went ATL – DTW – ATL. That was awesome.
I had this one brilliant moment of peace and clarity in Montana. It was dusk. Doug Ness and I were listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town. That really is one of the greatest American albums of all time. That clarity visited me for the ten minute drive from our shooting location back to town. 10 minutes to soak it in. 10 minutes in two months. Something just ain’t right with that.
My mind is mush. Absolute mush. Slap a Quaker Oatmeal sticker on my head and call it a day. I’m behind on personal deadlines for projects. I have to get to the dentist. I need a haircut. I have videos to shoot. I have more and more blog entries to write. I need to do some laundry. I need to go ride bikes with my kids. I need to go and get away by myself for a few
months, days, hours. My promo mailers are late… again. I see a book in my head that I want to create. I can close my eyes and I can see it. I see the photographs. It’s truly unfortunate that I haven’t shot a lot of those images yet. But I see it. I see a book. A portfolio book. Something uniquely me. Something that doesn’t look like a bowl of oatmeal.
Saw something of note in the central train station in Cologne. It was a display of the work of the recent World Press Photo winners. The collection of work was breath taking. I also stood back from it and watched how many people stopped and looked. Even people who seemed to be busily on their way to something stopped. Photography is still powerful. It also reminded me that not everybody is a photographer. Not just any ol’ person with a DSLR could shoot the photos that were hanging in this public “gallery”.
Germans don’t jaywalk. They wait for the walk signal. It’s remarkable to behold. Americans walk in their bike lanes and get yelled at. Not that I have personal experience with this. Well, ok, I do. So that’s a bike lane. Got it. I’ll try to remember. Looks a lot like a sidewalk.
Hope you all are doing well. I’ll be catching my breath in November and December. I have a few posts to go out before then. I’m still working on my tumblr Q&A blog. Getting close to hitting my 1,000th post over there.
Photography, as it would seem, is alive and well. It’s a crazy ride but what else in life that’s worth doing isn’t a crazy ride?
I’ve been a big fan of these fine folks for some time. This is Lok, Kai, and Alamby who make up the DigitalRev team. It’s hard to describe exactly what they do but suffice it to say that they are the Top Gear of photography. Or should I say, Top Gear is the DigitalRev of cars. Kai (in the center) is the mastermind behind the most subscribed to photography channel on YouTube. He’s irreverent, hysterical, and completely brilliant. Lok and Alamby are perfect and grounded compliments to Kai’s insanity. They are my favorite photography personalities ever. It’s the understatement of the year to say that I was honored to get to meet them and take part in their ongoing “Pro Photographer. Cheap Camera.” series.
I met up with the trio in the Mong Kok area of Hong Kong this week to find out what my challenge would be and what cheap P.O.S. camera I would be armed with to meet their challenge. Kai showed up with an old Kodak C142 point and shoot and an old Nikon flash. My challenge was to shoot people on the street but I had to use the flash. The first challenge was figuring out if I could get the flash to sync with the camera. Once we found a way to get that going then I had to find subjects in low light areas so the flash on the camera would fire. I could not force it to fire at all times. There was zero exposure control on that crap ass camera and zero control as to where it would focus. It was the kind of camera that makes you wonder how point and shoots ever progressed and was a good example of why Kodak failed in the Point and Miss category of cameras.
So here is the result of my challenge. It was so much fun. I sort of went all fan boy on them when I saw them! A selection of images follows the video.
More images after jump…
When my wife, Meghan, and I got married she was a single mother with one boy. I had two boys. Within a year of marriage our honeymoon baby, Hawke Danger, brought the count to four boys in the new home we were building together. To say that we hit the ground running is an understatement. That honeymoon I speak of was on the West Coast where Meg was touring to support her second full length release, Songs To Sail By. Needless to say that the addition of Hawke to our house brought the life of the touring musician to an end.
Meg walked away from music for darn near three years to focus on our home and our crazy life. Music is to Meg what photography is to me. It’s been hard to watch my wife bury her dreams and her talent; but she’s done such a damn fine job running our household, putting up with my crap, and being a kick ass wife and mother.
At the end of last year, and into this year, she slowly began approaching her piano again. Small little melodies began to trickle out. Then more music came out. Then words started being applied to these “song babies” as she calls them. Here we are now with her new EP, The Cracks & The Crevices, being released today and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
Now, you may be thinking that of course I love her music. She’s my wife! Honest to God, I was a fan of her music before I ever even met her. I first heard her performing a few years before I met her in person. So… Yeah. I’ve been a fan of hers for awhile.
Her new EP can be found here for free.99. It can also be found on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. Please feel free to grab it and share with friends. The next EP is slated for release in October. We hope you enjoy it.
Meg and I took a little hop over the North Pole and have arrived in Hong Kong. It’s our first trip to Asia. Meg is passed out and I’m wide awake. I tried to go to sleep but I’m in this huge city that seems to be alive 24 hours a day. I had to hit the streets just for a little while. We are here to be part of Creative Asia.
Worry about your checked luggage? I think ours was safer in the hands of Delta than our taxi. I just made a post recently about traveling with gear on my new Q&A blog. We’re in the Mongkok area. If you are familiar with HK let us know what are some places we have to see and places where we have to eat. I’d like to avoid pig anus soup… but when in Rome… I’m ready to Bourdain this town!
Hope all of you are well. Thanks for the conversations about the last few posts on here recently. Glad to see so many people carrying the torch and busting their tails doing great work.
Recently a guy made a web site touting a top ten list of things you can do to help start your photography career. I’m going on a rant and it’ll be the last one for awhile. If you care to read it, hit “more”. If not, no worries. I need to get this out of my “system” and then I should be good to go.
I put a call out a few weeks ago to see if anyone would let me shoot their wedding in any way that I wished to. There’s a reason I want to shoot a wedding or two this year as an experiment. I’ll get into that in a bit but this blog post is more about several conversations this request sparked, both online and offline.
No. I’m not starting a wedding business. Just doing an experiment and having a bit of fun.
Let’s get in the WayBack machine and go ALL the way to 1999′ish. Digital was coming of age. DSLRs were now hitting the $5k and below mark on pricing and a number of photographers were jumping out of the film ship and into the binary seas. The photojournalism scene back then was dying and many daily paper jobs were being cut. Day rates for the wires were less than I was making as an assistant. Photojournalists were looking to the editorial world but rates there sucked as well. They still do. Anyway…
This week Complex Magazine named me as one of the top 50 street photographers right now. I’m part honored and part embarrassed by this. Part of it has confirmed something inside of me. Part of this has depressed the hell out of me. On one hand I feel empowered to go deeper and on the other hand I feel I owe a lot of street photographers an apology. If I had a third hand I owe some photographers a big thank you. Let’s see. Can I be more random? How about this. This post is best read late at night while listening to “Last Confession” by Hilltop Hoods.
Dork and Numnuts in one place? It’s a duo so unbearable we had to ship it overseas to avoid riots.
Seriously. I’m going to Asia with Joe McNally. No pressure. No pressure. No pressure. Seriously? I don’t believe this either but it’s true. It’s such an honor. Like bowing my head low and walking out of the room backwards while mumbling “I’m not worthy” kind of an honor. Louis Pang is bringing both of us in for Creative Asia where we will be speaking, judging, and hanging out at this amazing conference. We then head to Malaysia where we will each be teaching a three day intensive workshop.
Of all the people I know in this industry no one does it better than Joe McNally. No one. He teaches. He shoots. He helps. He gets published. He’s been doing it since I took my first steps. He’s seen it all. He’s lost it all. He’s rebuilt it. He’s a “personality” in this industry but not one of the overnight flame outs. He’s the real deal. No one can refute that. Thanks Joe and Louis.
Hong Kong :: July 16-20 :: Creative Asia Conference (speaking, judging, hanging out)
Kuala Lumpur :: July 24 – 26 :: Three day advanced workshop
Kuala Lumpur :: July 29th :: OneLight vs. ManyLights
Get all the information about it here. Hope to see y’all there! Can. Not. Wait.
Yesterday was an amazing day. It was the kind of day that I got to do everything that I love to do. First, I got to shoot a new artist named K-B. I love working with emerging artists of all genres but hip hop is one of my favorite genres to work in right now. I’m really immersed in hip hop these days. I can’t release the cover images we were working on but here are a few press shots.
While this was all going on I had a camera trained on me. I had the honor of having Jonathan Lees from Complex Magazine come down from NYC to do a profile on me. Jonathan said he wanted to do a bit of an interview and then hit the town for some street photography. I was hoping we could show a New Yorker that shooting on the streets of Atlanta can be an adventure. Atlanta did not let us down.
First we got hassled by some GSU police officers who claimed they had jurisdiction off campus. We were just walking around shooting some photos and video and we were told we were loitering. We were not loitering but the cop was persistant. So we were persistant. He said we could tell it to a judge. I asked if he had jurisdiction there. He put his hand on his cuffs and gave me the “do you really want to find out if I have jurisdiction here or not” kind of look. We moved along.
This is Unknown. He told me to check out his music at unknown.com. That web site is lacking raps. He was quite the character. He may or may not have been just a bit under the influence of a controlled substance.
I went on down the street and came across this lady and her three adorable kids. As I was trying to find my frame on them, this guy comes running up on us and starts screaming that I’m trying to take pictures of the lady’s backside. Well, I mean, I was technically but that was not the subject of the photograph. This dude was pissed and got in my face. Quivering lips and clinched fists in my face. Jonathan dropped his camera and flanked him to the left, Dan was at his back, and he was right in my face. I held my ground and he finally went on his way. Here’s the family.
Then I started to find my frame and was just waiting for the girl to peek back at me. Just a move to the right and a bit of a left dutch and I could have framed her between that white line and the curb, got her sleeping brother, and balanced her with the fire hydrant… Oh well. From the guy’s perspective I’m sure I looked like I was up to something naughty.
Didn’t get my shot. But I also didn’t get shot. So you take the good with the bad I suppose. Moved on down the street and interacted with some great people. I’ll save those for the Complex video. Here’s a detail I like. Zone 3 is a local police precinct.
Loved all the colors going on here. I just had a thing for shooting backsides yesterday I guess.
I demonstrated how to act like you’re taking a photo of one thing when you’re actually taking a shot of something entirely different.
I see people. But more than that, I see stories. What are all the stories to be told here? When I was shooting this I was drawn to the gentleman in the overalls. But now I’m fascinated by the man in the brown shirt. What’s the story? I want to know but I like the mystery. See how his face is looking in the opposite direction his feet are? I love it. I’m going to take a cue from this for posing portrait subjects. It’s an odd tension that I’m drawn to.
Did all that and was home in time for dinner and our nightly bed time ritual. Can you believe that Hawke Danger just turned three this week?
I got to do what I love and pay the rent. I got to do what I love for the sheer love of it. I got to share what I love to do. I got it all done and still made it to dinner. There’s never been a more perfect day. And Jonathan… thanks so much. It was such a pleasure to work with you. Between our time on the street, and Dan and Erik taking you to the Clermont, I hope your trip to the A was a memorable one! Thanks for having my back. New York would be proud.
Gear Notes :: Press photo shot with the Phase One IQ140 and Schneider 55mm LS. Lit with an Einstein and a 50″ Westcott strip box with egg crate grid. Second press photo shot with the same strip box and two Nikon lights on the side for just a hair of fill. The mirror leaning on the apple box was not there by K-B’s request. It was there as a reflector. I don’t want anyone to think he has a vanity complex! The one stop scrim flying in front of the overhead light was there to reduce part of the exposure on the top frame of the photograph I was taking without cutting light in the bottom of the frame. The mirror was kicking light back in from that overhead light. Two Nikon strobes zoomed to 105mm on the side for rim light. The white B400 had a 10º grid for his face. 30º grid on the overhead Einstein. Set filled with smoke for the final shot. Street stuff shot with the Fuji XPro-1 and the 35mm 1.4 and 18mm 2.0. “Stories” shot with the 60mm 2.4.
Zeke, from Spectral Instruments, builds some amazing cameras for space and scientific uses. I’ve always heard about these cameras and have wondered what it would be like to shoot with one in a studio or on location. Evidently Zeke has been wondering about that as well and is wondering if there is enough public interest in having them build one of these cameras for use on the ground instead of in space. I was shocked when he added my name to people he’d like to see use one if they build it. Yes please! There’s large format photography then there’s MASSIVE format photography. If you’re keen to see one of these cameras put into use by several different photographers let him know in the comments below!
Oh, if Zeke looks familiar to you maybe you’ll remember this shot I made of him in Dubai…
He’s a trooper. We were shooting at a marble factory and he fully immersed himself into the location. It was the kind of place I doubt we could take the $100,000 camera.
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