I recently had a fun shoot with Jill Vialet, the CEO and founder of Playworks. How could it not be when the founder’s organization partners with schools to promote exercise and social and emotional health through recess, and the shoot is on a school playground? Jill was game for just about anything and the location was perfect. Check out some outtakes and tearsheets below.
This past weekend was spent shooting the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca, primarily to photograph the U.S. debut of the GT-R 50, Nissan’s one-of-a-kind, $1 million sports car, of which only fifty will be made.
Photography: Action and behind-the-scenes at Sonoma Raceway
I had the fantastic opportunity to cover the 2018 Shell Eco-Challenge at Sonoma Raceway last month. The four-day event was a competition between college and high school engineering students to design, build and race the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible. The top winners of each category - electric, gasoline and hydrogen - proceeds to the big race in London later this year.
Check out some of my favorite images below and let me know what you think!
I'm quite jazzed with my latest printed promo mailer piece, "Pictures of Home." The images were created over a period of years without a final purpose in mind. However, after a recent second look at these images, I discovered that many spoke to me about how "home" can sometimes contain ironies and contradictions.
I designed the 12-page tabloid in InDesign, with final touches by fabulous graphic designer Tanyia Johnson. Printing was completed by Newspaper Club on 95gsm bright newsprint. They do a great job, are very communicative and have a fast turnaround, especially for a company based in England.
Have thoughts or improvements you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them!
Until the next press run,
It was a busy weekend here in the Bay Area, ending with a sometimes violent rally held at at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. The event began quietly and then quickly ramped up into violence. I avoided the main scrum and stayed around the edges. However, quite a bit of activity happened where I was stationed near Allston and MLK, where I made the photos below. 13 people were arrested, but thankfully nothing happened as tragic as what took place in Charlottesville a few weeks ago.
A recent commission to create fresh imagery for a Houston-based non-profit organization allowed me to see first-hand how refugees are being helped to establish themselves in their new country. Plant It Forward serves mainly Congolese refugees by allowing them to farm unused land in urban areas while letting participants keep all their profit. Farmers sell their fresh veggies at local farmers markets as well as farm-to-table based restaurants.
The images were used to build a new website, create print collateral and for social media publication.
I recently took time to reorganize some of my negative archives when I came across some portraits I took at a bull riding school in 2014. I remember my goal was to make a portrait of the students immediately following their first-ever ride on a bull. The students, to my surprise and initial disappointment, looked nonplussed. I wanted to see a modicum of vulnerability in their faces, but instead only saw pictures of teenagers in cowboy clothing. I scrapped the idea and moved on.
A second look this month, at least three years later, revealed there is an underlying tension in the images, for me at least. Whom of us as adolescents couldn't wait to grow up to be the archetype we most admired? In some of these images, I see some who easily slide into the role, and others have a long trail ahead of them.
In case you're interested, the images were shot with a Hasselblad 553ex and Tri-X film. Let me know what you think!
I'm proud to present work I recently completed for a large chemical company. It's always an adventure suiting up in fire-retardant clothing, steel-toe boots, gloves and safety glasses and venturing into the maze-like catacombs of a multi-billion dollar chemical plant expansion.
The scale of the project is awe-inspiring and I'm amazed how over 4000 people show up to work every day and bring such an enormous project into reality. Visually, it's always fun to get this close to the action, something most of us don't have the opportunity to do. The geometry, symmetry, and the amazing way everything visually fits together into one delights my eye.
Check out some of my work below and let me know what you think.
It's taken a while, but I was finally able to get my hands on some tear sheets for an assignment from last year. I really enjoy photographing children (I'm somewhat a big kid myself). Their humor and energy can really bring an image to life. For this shoot, we hired a team that puts on science shows for grade school kids. They brought the colored liquids and dry ice, the kids brought their spirit, and I brought my camera. I hope you enjoy the results as much as I do.
I had the opportunity to shoot stills and video last month for the science journal Nature at the University of Houston's Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Laboratory for Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems. There, researchers are working on a bionic exoskeleton that will allow pilot Matt Standridge, a paraplegic, to compete in the Cybathon. The technology they're developing will hopefully allow many others who have lost the ability to walk to do so again.
The assignment included portraiture, stills from the lab, as well as video interviews and collecting b-roll. The video was edited by Greg Kendall-Ball, the photo editor at the publication.
Amy Lampi, a development director at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas, is using analytics to help boost fundraising for the organization. The Chronicle of Philanthropy asked if I could shoot the cover photo for the feature on Lampi, and had a great idea that I was excited to be a part of.
The publication wanted to see Lampi seated in the theatre, with individual, random theatre seats lit up around her to symbolize potential new donors. A great idea, but it was now up to me to carry it out. My initial solution was to use grids on strobe heads planted on stage and pointed toward individual seats. I got a wakeup call, however, when I noticed that the light spread, even though I was using 10 degree grids, became too wide once the light made it to the individual theatre seats. To solve this problem, I decided to turn the power down on all the lights and position them right in front of the seats I wanted to illuminate. This created a new problem, that I could now see the top half of the lights in the frame. A quick search backstage and I came back with black(!) towels to put over the tops of the reflectors. With three lights balanced on seats and camera cases, and a reflector with a three-degree grid on the subject (positioned from the stage), we were good to go.
In post-production, I photoshopped out the tops of the lights by copying the top of the seat next to which ever one was illuminated. The editor later also wanted an extra seat illuminated. Again, a layer here, a quick mask there, and voila! - an extra illuminated seat.
AARP, one of my newest clients, sent me to Huntsville a couple of months ago to photograph Link Ermis, a military veteran whose social security benefits have been turned upside down. Ermis is "one of 1.5 million public employees nationwide, including teachers, firefighters and police, who face a big reduction in benefits because they worked jobs in which they and their employers did not pay into Social Security."
The editor asked for live photos as well as some portraits. Things were going to be tight. Ermis drove a school bus to school and had less than 10 minutes to sit for a portrait before he had to begin his first period history class. I used a small Quantum strobe for some outdoor portraits, then we hustled inside so he could start his class. He used my presence as a quick lesson to his class about what he was contending with personally with his social security benefits. I also got a refresher on the start of the First World War as he explained it to his students while I made pictures.
ESPN.com recently published a feature on deceased sports heroes and how they still get visitors. I think my assignment was the control group, since I didn't see much evidence that the gravesite of Babe Didrikson Zaharias saw many visitors. And this is a shame. One of the first pro women golfers and 1932 Olympic gold-medal track star, the woman was a legend in her own time. She broke the gender barrier as well as world-records that still stand today. Read more about it here and check out a few images from the shoot below.
Back in March, I got a message on my Blink app notifying me that a photo editor in Finland needed someone to shoot a cover photo for Ekonomi, a Finnish publication for economists. I had the pleasure of photographing Tuija Kalpala at Neste US, a company that produces bio-diesel. A pretty sweet gig, and all just for having an app on my phone.
I'm proud to have another great-looking tear sheet from an assignment I completed for MD Anderson Cancer Center's Conquest Magazine. Travis Arnold, a 17-year old from Spring, Texas, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia - a fast-growing cancer of the white blood cells. With the help of the doctors at MD Anderson Childrens Cancer Hospital, a half-match bone marrow transplant was performed. Travis recovered and is now a top-rated golfer on Klein High School's Bearkat golf team.
Last month I had the opportunity to shoot for a trade magazine, Golf Business magazine. The art director told me they consider the book more of a business magazine than a golf magazine and that I should treat the shoot as such. I photographed the general manager of Moody Gardens Golf Course Bill Pushak. We tried a few different locations around the course, but finally settled on a grey and black runway strip of tile in the banquet hall. It had a nice pattern, offered plenty of room to work with and would make an interesting background (not to mention winds were gusting up to 30 mph on the course, making things really tricky for outdoor lighting). I'm really impressed with how they incorporated the tiles into the headline of the article – "Blurred Lines: In Pricing, Nothing's Simply Black or White".
My photo of Dynegy CEO Robert Flexon as the centerpiece in the March 13, 2013 edition of The Wall Street Journal's Marketplace section!
Beginning in October of 2012, I started shooting a story for The New York Times of a woman who needed a lung transplant. The only caveat was that as a Jehovah's Witness, she was not allowed to receive transfused blood products as part of the procedure. While "bloodless" transplants are common enough, the first one being done in the mid-1990's, they can actually be considered a better bet for the patient since there can be less complications in recovery since it's one less factor to worry about before, during and after surgery. The first two assignments were easy enough as far as meeting and photographing the subject, Georgia resident Rebecca Tomczak, as she went through a complete diagnostic battery of tests and also a through a day in her life as she stayed with a host Jehovah's Witness family and a brief visit to a potential apartment complex she was thinking about moving into. The last part of the assignment, being ready when a donor organ was available, was more of a challenge. The call finally came January 30, 2013 from the reporter, Kevin Sack, to tell me an organ had been found and would be delivered to Houston as soon as possible. After speaking with the public affairs person at Methodist Hospital, it was decided it would be best if I got to the hospital at 4am to be ready for surgery. Once things were in place, the surgery seemed to move along quicker than I expected, less than half a day. Meanwhile, I was able to witness the miracle of organ transplantation from a front row seat in the operating room.
I had to opportunity to tour a prison recently for The Wall Street Journal. I went to the Central Unit, a prison farm complex in Sugar Land, Texas that has been decommissioned. You can check out the slideshow here. A couple of my favorite photos are below. Even after being gutted, the place still had a menace to it. It wasn't any place I'd want to spend any part of my life in. Texas prisons don't have air conditioning and the place was infested with mold. With crime dropping, fewer tough-on-drugs laws that incarcerate non-violent offenders and less harsh sentences, the prison boom has begun to fizzle out.