I had the great opportunity to photograph ATL hip hop legend, Killer Mike for Design Bureau Magazine. It’s my goal to photograph all the ATL hip hop legends. I’m just missing Luda, Cee Lo, and André 3000 right now.
I love this quote by Mike…
“I dont accept the term ‘political rapper’ because I dont give a damn about either political party. I give a damn about the people.”
The story was about his series of neighborhood barber shops he’s opening. I wouldn’t call them a “chain” because each one will be individually suited to the neighborhood it’s in. I sat in on the interview and he’s a deep well of a man. Funny. Insightful. Brilliant. The man is an art scholar. It was fascinating listening to him talk about his view on art. If you ever get a chance to sit and chat with the man you’ll be better off for it.
Thanks for looking. I’m going to be spending the summer blogging 99% more of the time with photos than with words, reviews, or rants. I have one rant left in me. I’m trying to let it die. I really am. We’ll see if I can let it slide.
Gear Notes – Photographed with a Phase One IQ140 with an 80mm Schneider LS (first shot) and 55mm Schneider LS lens. Lit with one Einstein with 22″ white beauty dish for each shot.
I wanted to find the perfect Mother’s Day card for my awesome wife Meghan but nothing really jumped out at me this year. I’m usually the guy who goes for the humorous cards but I needed to let her know how seriously I appreciate her being a mom to our pack of boys. The serious cards though didn’t really say what I wanted to say. I thought of making a card but if you have ever seen the handmade cards that Meg makes, well, let’s just say mine would look like a Kindergarten class project gone wrong.
When Meg hitched her wagon up to mine she was a touring musician and a mom of one. Within a year of our marriage she was a stay at home mom of four. Four. Boys. Plus me. Her life changed immensely as my life seemed to propel forward even more. This change happened because I brought kids and she brought fuel and inspiration and, from time to time, a crack of a whip.
Meg pushes me. She inspires me. She keeps me in line and moving forward and has done so at the cost of her own creative endeavors and, at times, sanity. My work takes me to some far flung places and many of you comment on my blog or hit me up on twitter about how lucky I am, or how jealous you are, or congratulating me for this or that because most of you know the bottom of the barrel from which I come from. But what I want you to realize is that while I’m here or there doing this or that Meg is at home.
She’s getting Joshua to the soccer practice that she made sure he was signed up for. She’s doing truckloads of laundry that no child has ever thanked her for doing. She’s making sure Hawke is getting his ears checked and scheduling his doctor’s appointments. She’s taking Caleb to the ER when his arm goes through the glass of the front door. Phoenix is getting to band practice by 7:30am. I get 100 replies on Twitter because of something I’m doing and she get’s yet another dirty diaper and silence from the rest of the world.
You see, Meg has the hard job. Meg left her career behind to support mine. That support has lifted me and enabled me to pursue opportunities I’ve never had before. It allows me to go here and go there and do this and do that. But it cost her dearly. Yes, there is great joy in the job of raising children but when the piano has an inch of dust on it (metaphorically of course, cause this house stays pretty clean as well) then there’s a part of who Meghan is that isn’t growing. It isn’t growing because she’s too busy being a kick ass mom.
Cupcakes for the soccer team. Mystery reading for the Kindergarten class. Appointments for the dentist. Scheduling 100 activities in half as many days. Laundry. Cooking. Cleaning. Watching my sky miles account grow. All without the accolades, the paychecks, and so forth. If you ever feel compelled to say “Thanks Zack for this or that…” You ultimately need to be thanking Meghan.
The good news is Meg is back in the studio. Not my studio but a recording studio. In the last few months the dry well of music has found a new spring to feed from. New songs have been written. A producer she loves and trusts has been found. Fellow musicians are joining the project. New work is being produced and I’m so very honored that I get to take the back seat. Picking kids up from school. Doing laundry.
Cooking Ordering dinner. Changing diapers.
Thanks Meg. I’d like to say you’re the wind beneath my wings but that would be cheesy so I wont say that you’re the wind beneath my wings even though you are.
So here’s to all the Mom’s doing the hard job. Here’s to the support team of one that makes the world go ’round. Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms.
PS – Meg, the Mother’s Day frames in the hall will be updated this week. I have two down and two to go. Just letting you know I haven’t forgotten… like, um, last year.
I’ve had my hands on the new FujiFilm X-Pro1 for a little over a month now and I have put it through the paces in three countries and on various jobs. If you are a frequent reader of this blog you know the deal. If you are a new reader of my blog let me explain the deal. I don’t pixel peep, shoot side by side comparisons, show images of color checkers and resolution charts, or talk about the new technology packed into whatever camera. Heck, I really don’t do “reviews” that often.
This review is more of a “how-does-this-thing-work-in-the-real-world-and-is-it-something-that-excites-me-or-does-it-just-become-a-photographic-appliance?” kind of review. Also, let me state for the record that I was hired by FujiFilm Middle East, and was paid in camera gear and cash to take this machine for a joy ride. The first thing I said before taking this gig, though, was if I was going to blog about it they needed to understand that I would say whatever I wanted to about it. The good folks at Fuji said they expected nothing less. Especially after my x-100 review. It was that review that put me on their radar in the first place and it was the good folks at Gulf Photo Plus that convinced them they should send me to India. I’ll be doing some stuff with Fuji North America as well. So, full disclosure now aside, let’s get into it after the jump…
I’m currently in India on assignment for Fuji to shoot promotional photos with their new X-Pro1 camera system. Hey, why not? It’s a good gig if you can get it right? Hell yes it is. I arrived in Mumbai/Bombay already exhausted after the Dubai trip and this city amplified my senses to eleven plus one. I’ve always had a bit of a smug pride about not being intimidated by places until the hour long drive from the airport to my hotel. I hit the bed the other night afraid that I may very well have met my match. I found the place that scares the sh*t out of me. It’s completely insane here and that makes it awesome.
It’s the kids on the streets that really break my heart into one million pieces. I mean really break me down. I want to earn a billion dollars and grab them all and make a life for them.
Straight from camera.
The X-Pro1 is a Fuji X camera so I’ve said my fair share of curse words using it but then the effing @#&*!@ camera locks on and O. M. G. In the chaos that is this city I can’t even begin to explain how using this camera makes my life 500% easier because they can just about fit in a pocket and rival my 5d Mk II in image quality. Twelve hours out shooting with my x100 and X-Pro1 and I don’t even feel it at the end of the day. I can play the tourist card with these cameras and get in and get out without even thinking about my gear.
Internet is dodgy here at the hotel. If this blog post publishes I’ll be surprised. More when I can. Full post about the camera after this trip and after a three day job I head to immediately following this trip.
PS – The contrast of subjects I’m photographing on this trip does not escape me.
Day 07 in Dubai was PhotoFriday at GPP. Gave a few talks and headed to Kushti wrestling. The Fuji 35mm 1.4 is the lens to have for the X-Pro1 IMHO.
x100. As much as I love the X-Pro1, the x100 is still my baby. I’ll never part with it.
David Burnett is a bad ass photographer. cc: Dan Depew, Cary Norton, Michael Sebastian, and Jon Canlas. That’s an f2 lens on that SpeedGraphic. #NoPolaroid #Ninja
One more day of teaching stuff to post then off to India for the rest of the week. I’ll be in Mumbai then heading home. I miss Meg and the kids so much. As excited as I am about going to India for the first time I’d really love to be jumping on a plane right now to head home. It feels like I’ve been gone for a month already.
I’ll have a full X-Pro1 run down on my blog after India.
On location at a tile factory today.
The image above is Zeke. He’s a great guy who traveled out here from Tucson to attened GPP. The place where we were shooting had us all covered head to toe in dust.
Fellow GPP’er, David Nightingale, and I were having drinks tonight and I asked him what he would do to some of my photos I shot today since he’s a master of post production. He blows me away with what he does in Photoshop and he makes it look so easy. He did the post on these images.
All shot with a new X-Pro1 that I got this morning. I was able to trade the pre-production model I had in on a new production body with the new firmware. It’s event better. I’ll blog about the camera after my India trip next week. We were out all afternoon on location and I did not once pull my Canon out of the bag. Shot everything with the X-Pro1.
Worked the stairs again.
The available light shot. Meh.
I heart grids. ——– I’m not sure either. It’s something traditional I’m told.
David Burnett has no fear. He’ll cover major news events with Holgas and 4×5′s. Here he talks about how big his balls are for doing so.
Looking forward to the location class that starts today. I’ll have more to show tomorrow.
Late on my blog… Taught a studio lighting class today (yesterday). That reflective stuff on the floor is portable tile board that’s about to hit the market by our main man Peter Hurley. Stuff is awesome. I’ll let you know when he starts shipping it.
X-Pro1 works like a champ with a Pocket Wizard attached. I use a mini on it. A Plus II is as big as the camera. (almost)
This was sniped just using the modeling lights of the softbox as a student was shooting.
The set up…
It was a fun class. Again, that stuff Hurley is making is awesome. You can see it all bokeh’ed out there in the background.
If you’re sitting there thinking how lucky I am to be able to sit around a group of people like this every night this week you are 110% correct. I can not even begin to express how young and inexperienced I find myself to be when I hear the stories of these masters. I’m just a kid at the table still staring at the starting line. If you look up to me or if you think I’m “up there” in the industry, let me virtually put my arm around your shoulder and point to some of these guys and let you know how absolutely far of a journey you and I have still have to go.
Sitting there last night, completely sleep deprived, yet hanging on the words of those around me… I started thinking of the cult of personality in our industry. We place these young blog stars on a pedestal as the apex of success. I understand that I can be placed in that realm. I was thinking of this last night and realized what a sham it all is. THE masters of our craft that are still creating work in this world are names you probably haven’t heard of. They aren’t even on twitter or they have a fraction of followers some of us have. No one reads or comments on their blogs. They are so far up the damn mountain they don’t have a signal back to the rest of us. Their stories, their work, their experience, the philosophy transcends all of us.
This is in contrast to yet another revolution some photographer is trying to start. A number of you have DM’ed me the link to that video. OMG. You sit with guys like Heisler, Hobby, McNally, and Burnett and then watch this dumb ass “new revolution in photography” and realize what a farce that idea is.
I woke up this morning to the sad news that we lost Paula Lerner to breast cancer. Paula has done more for this industry then a whole panel of “blog stars” have. I had the pleasure of meeting her while I was still in school. She was one of the founding members of EP. On the subject of day rates and contracts she taught me the theory of “If you’re going to get screwed on a job AT LEAST KNOW you are getting screwed on that job.” She provided us a very strong set of shoulders that we now stand upon. RIP Paula.
You know why these folks are masters? Because they’ve put everything into it and kept their eyes on the goal even when in complete darkness in their life. They weren’t trying to start a revolution. They were, and are, chasing the light. The image. That one fleeting fraction of a second for that one image that brings them joy and brings them the next job.
You want to start a “revolution” in photography, yeah. Whatever. You’re not. None of us are. Shut up and go shoot pictures.
I’m still sleep deprived. I’m pointing my finger out to the horizon. The goal we all have is somewhere beyond that.
PS – All X-Pro1 shots.
Taught the OneLight workshop today. There are these stairs that I try to do something different with each year.
So I try different angles. Different view points.
My assistant for the week, Kinan, is an awesome guy who stood in more than once for a subject for the workshop.
I was asked how the Fuji X-Pro1 does with flash. So… here you go.
Photographer David Burnett had an opening of his Bob Marley work to kick off the GPP event. If you’re not familiar with him give yourself 10 lashings. You should know his work.
There was live music. It was an amazing evening.
Speaking of David, to get to sit at dinner each night and listen to him, Joe, Greg, and others swap stories is the best education I could wish for.
I’ve seen people bitching and moaning and complaining about the Fuji X-Pro1 on photography forums. They have no idea what they are talking about.
It’s 4am. I crashed last night after dinner without making this post. Woke up at 3am. Thought I had gotten over the jet lag hump. Nope. Off to teach a studio class today and then the X-Pro1 Middle East launch tonight.
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