Who doesnâ€™t want to be asked to make pictures of aliens floating down from the sky, wearing cool shoes. Â Fun trip to Hong Kong, images I really dig, and definitely some adventures – and misadventures – along the way (buy me a beer and Iâ€™ll tell you more).
This was a really fun Off-Broadway project with Naomi Usher of Studio Usher. Three really distinct images, Sundown, Yellow Moon and Night Sky Backdrop, represent the arc of the plays.
K-POP: K-Pop is such a powerful cultural force that transcends music and geography. The visual cues that define the genre are such a joy to concept for photography. We used a color-block backdrop, a fierce female model in highly stylized make-up and outfit. I aimed to subvert the image to portray her energy as slightly militant, angry and icy instead of cute, poppy and teenaged. K-Pop grown up. Â
LUCKY ONES: We styled actress Jo Lampert in rock-n-roll angel teenager garb. We captured her sweaty, in the midst of a hard-core dance move, the effect brings on the feeling of being right on the edge of her pushing herself just too far physically. It was important for the image to invite the viewer to feelmovement, maybe even exhaustion, in this still image. Â
SUNDOWN, YELLOW MOON:Â Evoking elements of wistfulness and an ethereal longing, we featured a young woman, against a night sky backdrop, light low with her partially obscured by shadows against a backdrop of textural woodsy foliage. The juxtaposition of a sky full of sparkly stars delivers a hint of magic to this image.
Our model is styled in a summer dress that hints at the south. Loose hair and a gaze turned to something we canâ€™t see, though the misty, ambiguous surroundings hint at vastness. She is set in a time and place that suggests deep thoughts and big questions.
Toilet Seats. Toilet seats in Texas. A Toilet Seat Art Museum in San Antonio. Barney Smithâ€™s Toilet Seat Art Museum. Count me in!
One of the things I love about what I do is getting access to a place or a person that I didnâ€™t know even existed before they contacted me. Â A big part of what keeps me going is the love of an adventure and to have â€“ and share – these experiences with people and their stories.
Ketchum contacted me in regards to working a project for Clorox. Working with creative director, Ken Buraker, we headed to San Antonio and Barneyâ€™s museum. In addition to creating a series of images of Barney, we set up an outdoor available-light studio in the 100 degree Texas heat and photographed the objects that inspired us – Clean, minimalistic and graphically interesting.
I loved this so much. Itâ€™s bananas!! Â
What do you do after toilet seats? Whatâ€™s next? Honestly, I want to go where I donâ€™t know I want to go yet.
*If you are in San Antonio, Barneyâ€™s Toilet Seat Museum should really be on your must visit list. Â Barney himself is an American treasure. And he has a ton of stories to tell. The museum is located in his garage, so itâ€™s small but there itâ€™s overflowing with stuff to see.
I have a strong affinity for Mexico, the place and its people. I have been traveling there since I was a little boy and have returned numerous times for personal and professional photography projects.
On a recent trip to Mexico, I visited the state of Tamaulipas for a couple of days and created this series of photographs on farm workers.
On a ranch just north of Tampico, I came across migrant workers harvesting onions from the fields. This part of Mexico, just south of the Tropic of Cancer and a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico, is ideal for growing onions, hot chili peppers, and soybeans – its rich, tropical soil yielding multiple crops year-round. The onion harvest is a hectic operation that involves picking the onions by hand. Once cut, they are left in the fields to dry before being trucked to a shed to be sorted, packed and ultimately shipped to market. To work the fields, a nomadic group of TamalÃn Indians make a yearly journey here from the tropical state of Veracruz. Â Their weather beaten faces tell a story of many years of hard work in the fields under the relentless sun. I made these images in a shed and in the fields where they worked – in the middle of their day.
As a â€œcommercialâ€ photographer, I really enjoy what I do. Of course, there are great characters and stories to capture in any shoot â€“ but I continue to be intrigued by real, every-day people. Â I try to seek them out whenever possible, like I did the migrant workers on this ranch. Â You canâ€™t make any of it up – the authenticity of their faces, their culture, how they carry themselves or what they face in the reality of their day is endlessly rewarding for me. Â
For me it is so true that one thing always leads to another. On my projects, the creative people and ideas often spark and inspire my own artistic â€œnext.â€
During our campaign for SNWA, I had one of those light bulb moments. I was so drawn to everything about our wrestler, Omar Garcia. He was such a pleasure to work with â€“ par for the course on this shoot along with the fantastic R&R team.
During our morning with Omar, I found out that he is one of two brothers who grew up in Juarez, Mexico. And I learned that their father was also a wrestler – a luchador- in Juarez and they have followed the tradition. He and his brother now live and wrestle in LA and they have their own wrestling league – Lucha Libra Alliance. The portrait gears were turning.
Me: â€œSo, you have other wrestler friends?
Me: â€œCan I come and photograph them?â€
Omar: â€œSure thing.â€
A few months later, off I went.
I photographed the Luchadores on a rooftop in LA, Omar and his friends. They carried themselves with such confidence and with an obvious pride in the traditions of Lucha Libre. Some of the older wrestlers maintained their character – in mask – from the moment they parked their car, through the shoot until theyâ€™d driven away. As someone who grew up on the Lone Ranger, on the masked hero and secret identities, I loved every second of this.
As I witnessed the honor with which these men wore their costumes, as I captured each unique mask, and each character communicating with my camera through two small eyeholes, I felt privy to the history, the care and the camaraderie.
The Marriott team, with creative director KD Cantarella leading the way, was a true pleasure to work with. Â The campaign was well-received and the megabonus for us was when we heard that it got great results ending up as one of Marriott Rewardsâ€™ highest revenue generating promotions, and much of this was attributed to breakthrough creative.
Growing up in Richmond, VA, trips just an hour or so southeast to Colonial Williamsburg were common weekend fare. I have really fond memories of my time there so when I was approached by Trend & Tradition: The Magazine of Colonial Williamsburg, to shoot a cover, it felt a bit like going home.Â
More than just a school field trip destination, Colonial Williamsburg is a true link between the present and a past that speaks to the very origins of the European settlement of the United States. Trend & Tradition is dedicated to telling the stories of 18th century America through a modern point of view.
Â For this Summer edition cover, I was asked to photograph the Fifes & Drums, a group dedicated to the tradition of military music dating back to the Revolutionary War. Boys and girls ages 10-18 apply to join and practice for 8 years through high school graduation, educating the public about the role of music in the 18th century military. Beyond the music, the Fifes & Drums are a group that speaks to the ideal of working hard and earning your place. Through their hard work and dedication to both the musical and historical disciplines, members move through the ranks in pursuit of a few highly coveted leadership spots in the corps. While the original fifers and drummers of the 1700s were exclusively boys, this cover represents the changing face of the group and the bridge to the present with a Junior Corps that is now over 50% female. The girl on the cover represents that shift. Working with these kids was so cool â€“ they worked so hard and showcased incredible discipline to get this iconic image. It was clear that they treat their place in history and their role in shaping the future with real reverence and respect.Â
I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and went to VCU. Tom Robbins grew up in Virginia, south of Richmond and went to VCU. One of us is an iconic American author, one of us is me. I get wind that he is visiting VCU for a book signing. He has created some of the most memorable and eccentric characters in recent literature, and Iâ€™m a sucker for a great character.
What if I could photograph the character behind these characters? I jumped on the chance and went to work on getting a few moments of his time.
A few connections, a little luck, someway, somehow it worked out.
Our visit was short â€“ but Tom was an enthusiastic subject and was more than happy to try a few things out. I stayed on task, not wanting to burn his time and also very careful to not get into a verbal ping-pong match, which I would be sure to lose. Tom Robbins is one of a kind, sincerely nice and generous, and whiplash quick and verbally creative, even in our brief one-on-one interaction.
I wanted to shoot film for some reason, it just seemed right. Though we didnâ€™t have one of those modern monitors to review the images, looking later he seemed to really like the image and he pushed to use it on the book jacket of â€œWild Ducks Flying Backwards.â€
Flash forward a year or so and I was on a project in Washington state, I called Tom and stopped by for a quick visit â€“ good things happen when you operate fueled by â€œwhy not?â€ I was traveling with a friend, but I didnâ€™t tell him whom we were visiting. Tom was a gracious host, and as we visited, he casually mentioned something about being a writer to my friend. The friend politely asked what type of books he wrote â€“ still oblivious as to whom he was talking to. Tom said, â€ I write funny stories about serious things, sort of like Tom Robbins.â€œ
Maybe my friend should pay attention to those photographs on book jackets.
Addendum: In addition to the Wild Ducks Flying Backward jacket, this impromptu portrait session produced an image that will now be featured on the cover of the German edition of Tibetan Peach Pie, (Tibetischer PfirsichstrudelÂ – rolls off the tongue) Itâ€™s no small honor and Iâ€™m grateful all over to have had the chance to meet and photograph that Tom Robbins
On one of my last projects in New Orleans I had a beer one night with location scout, Aaron Dunsay. While we talked, he told me that if I were to drive a half hour and then take a boat for another half hour, I would come across these fishing shacks you can only get to by boat.
Itâ€™s exactly the kind of thing â€“ utterly distinctive Â â€“ that I canâ€™t resist. I was all in.
So I stayed an extra day in Louisiana and hired a waterman, from a long line of watermen, with a boat to take me out. I was so excited to have had this day and experience, to spend a little time capturing this somewhat surreal water world in person and with my camera. Not too many places are as unique as this one, places that make you wonder â€œam I seeing what I think Iâ€™m seeing?â€ I ran with that, and with the sense of magic of the bayou to create this image â€“ are you seeing what you think youâ€™re seeing?
As an admirer of the Virginia Opera and itâ€™s mission to create transformative cultural experiences through passionate storytelling and beautiful music, I was more than excited to get the brief from one of my favorite creative directors Jamin Hoyle, â€œto make opera sexyâ€. Â Ultimately that meant tight portraits that would share the page with bold text. Â As stand alone pieces these images are unflinching, visceral representation of each opera. They are a stark departure from any lingering stereotypes that the Opera is a stuffy affair. Â Pascale Lemaire, Linh Nguyen and Viktoriia Bowers were brought in for wardrobe, hair and makeup, respectively, and were so phenomenal â€“ and their creativity and vision also pop right out of these photographs. Ultimately, the photos served as the launching point for a larger brand refurbishment that we conducted through the design of the brochure.