Fifty from 50 - Images from US Highway 50, from California to Maryland, fourth in a series of posts

Constructed in 1926, US 50 was part of the original United States highway system and extends from California to Maryland. Our recent move from Oakland, California to Silver Spring, Maryland near Washington, DC inspired me to travel on this historic byway and document my journey. All work was shot on a Mamiya 6, a film camera that creates negatives that are six centimeters square. This camera really forces me to shoot with intention. The film stock is mostly Ektar 100, for those who are curious.

Fifty from 50 - Images from US Highway 50, from California to Maryland, third in a series of posts

Constructed in 1926, US 50 was part of the original United States highway system and extends from California to Maryland. Our recent move from Oakland, California to Silver Spring, Maryland near Washington, DC inspired me to travel on this historic byway and document my journey. All work was shot on a Mamiya 6, a film camera that creates negatives that are six centimeters square. This camera really forces me to shoot with intention. The film stock is mostly Ektar 100, for those who are curious.

Fifty from 50 - Images from US Highway 50, from California to Maryland, first in a series of posts

Constructed in 1926, US 50 was part of the original United States highway system and extends from California to Maryland. Our recent move from Oakland, California to Silver Spring, Maryland near Washington, DC inspired me to travel on this historic byway and document my journey. All work was shot on a Mamiya 6, a film camera that creates negatives that are six centimeters square. This camera really forces me to shoot with intention. The film stock is mostly Ektar 100, for those who are curious.

A Midwestern Holiday

Photography: Road trip photos of Missouri

I married into a family that has many more traditions than my family. We go to my wife's hometown of St. Louis at least three times a year, and every time I go, I add to an ongoing photo essay of St. Louis and the region. St. Louis is different in a way that is hard for an outsider like myself to describe, so I do it with images.

As some of my other personal work is about the environment and our impact on it, some of the pictures I make relate to this theme. However, I also make pictures of my in-laws and their home. It's a quiet house on a quiet street, with a quiet dignity to the area that is different than the suburbs of San Antonio I grew up in, hewed out of South Texas caliche and live oak scrub.

As we become more alike in the Age of Information, I still try to celebrate the regional differences in America that give each place it's own particular flavor.

Throwback Thursday: Arcade Fire, Spike Jonze and the filming of "Scenes From The Suburbs"

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, I've assembled an edit of some of my favorite photos from the production of the Arcade Fire/Spike Jonze short film "Scenes From the Suburbs," shot in the summer of 2010 in Austin, Texas. Currently Arcade Fire is touring full force for their latest release "Reflektor," a killer double album and true Gesamtkunstwerk. I've been lucky enough to photograph for Arcade Fire a number of times since then and am looking forward to seeing them play in Win and Will Butler's hometown of Houston next week.


Day One


Day Two


Day Three


Day Four


Day Five

Tom Wood, Shrimp Net Repairman

I had a recent photo assignment that sent me down to Freeport, Texas, about an hour south of Houston, where I live. While the story I shot for is an important one (and will subsequently will be published this Friday), being back in Freeport brought back memories from ten years ago, when I was a staff photographer at The (Brazosport) Facts. At the time, most of what I shot was newspaper fare: car wrecks, parades, high school athlete portraits. I could sense there was a deeper narrative to the place, basically built from the ground up around World War II to help process magnesium for the war effort. From that industry sprouted dozens of chemical refineries throughout the area. This evolved side by side with the shrimping industry. While photographing the chemical refineries is something that is typically done from the side of the road (and even then, a photographer will be asked questions and have his license plate recorded by a plant security guard), the shrimp dock in Freeport is much more accessible. According to Tom Wood, of Tom's Net Shop, the canal where the shrimp boats dock used to overflow with hundreds of ships. The one shrimp processing facility, I was told, started making drastic cuts for the price it paid for shrimp, and a great deal of the shrimpers eventually started docking elsewhere. Now that there is new ownership at the processing facility, it's thought by Wood that the docks may someday revive to their former glory. I photographed Tom Wood at his net repair shop as well as a few other areas that looked compelling. I used a Hasselblad to force me to slow down and take a closer look at the area. I look forward to returning to the area soon to explore the dock and Freeport soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Tea Party - Better Late Than Never

During a massive cleaning of my office, I rediscovered some negatives from a self-assigned shoot to photograph a Tea Party rally in the summer of 2009 (I think) at a race track in Bay Town, Texas. Wanting to try something different, I rented a Hasselblad medium format camera and made the trek out to the rally. I seem to be attracted to the overt patriotism: flags and people dressed up as figures from American history, as well as a sense of the paranoia of a dystopian, socialist future that seems to drive much of the conversation at these events. Also to note: I shot a couple of different film stocks. One is chrome and the other was an expired batch of porta left over from grad school.[gallery]

Bus stop slumber

After a portfolio review in Austin last week and hearing great feedback all around, but especially from Will Chau regarding a quirky-ness in my work I hadn't really defined before, I've decided to post some recent work I made with my Hasselblad. I've also been on a cleaning jag as of late and in the process discovered a bunch of uncut, unscanned negs that I'm going to give a second look. I also have one more roll of black and white film I shot on the way home from Austin that I still need to develop.  

As for the review itself, I must say that I really need to step it up and attend these gatherings more often. It's hard to get honest feedback as a freelancer. We're kind of out here on our own and the opportunity to hear reactions to our work from professionals in the visual communication industry is priceless.

 

On a whim, I also went out to photograph a typewriter repair man after reading about him in the local paper.  There is something anachronistic about someone who still makes a living repairing old technology. The experience has sparked some ideas about what I might focus on next. We'll see!

 

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"Scenes from the Suburbs" - Day 1

In April, 2010, I had the opportunity to shoot the behind the scenes still images for the Arcade Fire/Spike Jonze production of the short film "Scenes from the Suburbs." The movie, screen-written by Arcade Fire, illustrates themes explored in their Grammy-winning album of the year, "The Suburbs."  

For five days, I shot a mix of Illford HP5 and Kodak Tri-X film using two Nikon F5 cameras to shoot the images that eventually were included in a booklet released with the DVD of the movie. The grain you see in the film is a result of "pushing" the film three stops in some cases. It effectively raises the ISO (sensitivity) of the film. The trade off is increased grain in the film. For this assignment, it seems to work well.

100421_suburbs_KAYNE_0224
100421_suburbs_KAYNE_0224

To view images from the first day of shooting, check out the link to my website here.